Wondering if fame existed before television and film, I happened upon the book The Frenzy of Renown written by Leo Braudy. Leo, now that’s the sign associated with fame through self-expression. What a coincidence!
Was author Braudy a Leo sun? Research proved him a Gemini sun which explains the 618 pages of erudition on a subject others barely bother to study. Few books are written on fame although after Braudy’s work you probably don’t need another.
Braudy was born as Pluto entered Leo (2 degrees) heralding in the “Me Generation.” Braudy’s moon in Capricorn probably didn’t get Leo-like attention during a generation spreading its self-expressive Leo wings. I wonder if his own generation didn’t seem odd to him thereby bringing on his desire to understand this energy called “fame.”
The Fame Trajectory
According to Braudy, fame not only existed before television, it existed as far back as Alexander the Great (4th century BC). Fame, the relationship of individual to society, has merely evolved through time based on the cultures in which it resides.
Alexander, for example, tried to exceed the deeds of the gods. The Romans favored personal fame (of the idolatry sort) but evolved it into societal fame (fame representing the city or society). Christians moved fame into a personal, spiritual quality. The 18th century and beginning of the end of many monarchies made fame available to the other classes of men like artists and writers (but fame must be earned). No longer did one need to be an aristocrat or of a religious order to earn fame. Later the rise of democracy brought the possibility of fame to all.
(I should note here that this work is truly thorough and I can’t do it justice here).
Rethinking my original question, I can see that television and media have followed the same trajectory as fame itself as described by Braudy. Television began with a few gods (beginning as usual with male) like Ed Sullivan, Walter Cronkite, Johnny Carson, the Beatles, etc.
Like society’s evolution, television and film left the hands of a few male gods and aristocrats, spanned into more segments of society until just half a century later it is fully democratic. Today one doesn’t need to be produced by the gods of Hollywood. One can get a camera, make a film and post it on YouTube. The development of hand-held devices and social media allow us express visually and continually.
We are now all famous.
Leo sun Andy Warhol predicted we’d all have 15 minutes of fame. He got that wrong, but was close. We all have fame, although possibly not capital-F Fame but little-f fame. And we have it 24/7.
In the article If You’re not Paranoid, You’re Crazy the author discovers that all the information he has provided to social media is now responding back to him with information and guidance based on his every action. Our author, like many, is also realizing that those we haven’t willingly shared our information with are also in the know on our every behavior. It’s making him a little nervous.
Way back in the 1980s after Leo sun Madonna became hyper famous (capital F) I saw the media hound her while jogging and she didn’t like it much. I wondered why individuals spend so much effort to be famous only to dislike it when in full flower. (Yet, according to this article, she now misses the constant attention).
Braudy’s book also helps explain this phenomenon of seeking then avoiding attention as the difference between Roman public fame and Christian private fame. This paradox is a pattern throughout the history of fame. In today’s democratic fame, many now experience this conflict as the need to share extensive personal information on social media then the fear of overexposure that results.
We’re all Madonna. We’re all famous. And we are learning our lessons on fame.
While certain signs, like Leo, are more associated with fame than other signs, we can level fame (and any other quality) and see how each sign likes its fame (when they choose it) based on the qualities of the sun.
The sun is the conscious self, how we want to be seen. The sun is the “I” in “I am.”
The fire signs seek fame through personal self-expression, leadership and motivation of others. Aries prefers the fame of maverick action; Leo seeks fame through self-expression that doesn’t need justification; Sagittarius seeks fame through sharing wisdom as the philosopher or social activist.
The earth signs seek fame through work, assets and career. Taurus seeks fame through capital accumulation and personal property; Virgo seeks fame through work and efforts to help those in need; Capricorn seeks the fame of authority in society.
The air signs seek fame through communication, writing and social relationships. Gemini seeks fame as the journalist; Libra seeks fame as the mediator and builder of partnerships; Aquarius seeks fame through creating the ideal social plan.
The water signs may be less inclined to seek fame (capital F) due to great sensitivity which can lead to the need for privacy. In Braudy terms, they may seek a more spiritual fame. Cancer seeks fame in family and community settings by making sure all have what they need; Scorpio seeks fame for uncovering what others can’t find; Pisces seeks fame of the most spiritual sort often sacrificing in the name of others.
Dealing with Fame
Today we seem to have personal fame whether we desire it or not. Enter the social media environment and you’ve “opted out” of the ability to lead a totally private life.
And if you’ve opted out of social media, you will still be asked to fill out a great number of online forms that provide information to others on your health statistics, work history and marketing preferences.
Fame is no longer a choice.
Your sun may give you hints on how to deal with your fame, sought or unsought. And if you can turn off the fame button, will you be like Madonna and try to flick it back on? Are we all now caught in the paradox of fame?