Less famous than Narinder from Big Brother 2

Bogart was once quoted as saying: “You’re not a star until they can spell your name in Karachi.” This begs the question, how many names can they now spell in Karachi, as there are an awful lot of ‘stars’ out there. Or rather celebrities masquerading as stars, or just people getting their language wrong. Which is more likely.

The celebrity system needs to be radically redefined, not unlikely a football league renaming shake-up, but less nonsensical. At the moment the number of celebrities sloshing around far exceed the number of used letters of the alphabet, and given that nobody is quite sure what exactly constitutes being on the C-list, and why nobody’s ever made in onto the ‘N’ list, celebrity could be argued to be in a state of meltdown, which would in turn create a moral panic, and people have a habit of getting killed in moral panics. Not good.

So, if we take Bogart as a starting point, then the top echelon of fame is ‘stardom’: global fame, whereby said famous person is known the globe over. Their fame transcends the profession they arose from and their name and face are almost instantly recognisable. There’s also a slight element of mystique beyond them, making them slightly inaccessible to the ordinary person.

Not many fall into this category. Actors like Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt definitely fall into this. Possibly Cameron Diaz. Sports wise Beckham and Schumacher. Musically Michael Jackson and Madonna, and then they start to dry up. It’s an elite list, even if the talent may not reflect the placing, but then encapsulates fame perfectly.

Just below star is minor star. These are people whose names everybody knows, but face recognition may be more of a problem. They’re well known, if not respected in their field. Tony Blair, Freddie Flintoff, Quentin Tarantino, etc. Those who’ve left some kind of mark even if not everybody could tell you who they are.

Before moving down to the next level, there’s a whole sub-system in play here of meta-fame. This can be broken down to fame within certain fields. For example, somebody may only register as a minor celebrity on the global scale, but would be a star within their own field. Therefore Shilpa Shetty would register reasonably highly on the celebrity scale but would be a star within the field of Bollywood films and reality TV [1]. Jon Snow probably would come out as a minor celebrity but a star newsreader. In Blogistan Iain Dale and Rachel North would probably make the star list, given that the blogging community [2] could probably name their faces above most others, and may just make the Name That Is Recognised List. Tim Worstall, Tim Ireland would come in just below these two because they lose points on facial recognition.

Below the stars you have the celebrities. These are famous people who are very well known, almost certainly stars within their own fields and well-known outside to a degree. People may know the name but may not why they’re famous, but would nonetheless be excited to meet them even if they’re not quite idolised, and their fame is largely confined to a handful of countries. There’s a lot more people in this category than either of the stars. Chris Martin, Hugh Laurie, Ant and Dec, Ricky Gervais, Richard Hammond, Jonathan Ross, Steven Gerrard, Helen Mirren and Venus Williams, for example.

Just below them are minor celebrities. This category is absolutely jam-packed, largely with those people who are either famous because they’re good at what they do and are well respected in their field, or have reached fame through a certain level of exposure, be it on TV, through the tabloid press or infamy through other reason. Recognition won’t be as high, but once you explain why they’re famous a lot of people will have some idea who they are. A lot of meta-famous stars and minor stars will inhabit this area. Colin Murray, Eva Longaria, Piers Morgan, Nick Hornby, Chantelle, Frankie Detorri and Mike Skinner are a few of the people who would inhabit this area.

Just below them come Faces People Recognise. You know the face, but you’ve no idea who they are. This is getting more and more onto people individual idio-fame scales.

Following on from that, there’s Names Who Are Well Known In Their Field. If you’re a fan of a particular sport, genre or music you’ll probably know who these people are, and think of them highly. The rest of the country will have only a limited awareness. They could also be known as Local Celebrities.

Finally comes Names You Know But Don’t Know Why. They’ve clearly got some level of fame to register with you, but chances are you wouldn’t have a clue what they do, who they are and would walk straight past them in the street.

Below this you have A Nobody.

My housemates find it funny to introduce me to people as a celebrity on the basis that I occasionally read the local news. No more. From now on I’ll insist they refer to me as somebody people in the city I live in Know But Don’t Know Why [3].

Alternatively you could you the Google Fame Formula: Number of hits for your name that actually refer to you on Google / Name recognition = Fame level.

On that basis Pamela Anderson is probably a star, though [4].

[1] The two don’t have to be mutually inclusive fields.

[2] No, I refuse to use the word blogosphere. Now I just have. Bugger.

[3] And that’s probably being very generous to myself here. I’m barely a Name You Know But Don’t Know Why to people who actually listen the the station, I’dimagine. If you don’t, I’m a nobody, which is my much preferred default position.

[4] Oddly, it also probably makes me more famous for blogging than journalism. However, I’m still not very high in either, so I don’t have to worry about the News of the World, or Gudio, going through my bins.


3 Responses to “Less famous than Narinder from Big Brother 2”

  1. 1 cycleofsong February 6, 2007 at 2:21 pm

    I’m Nobody! Who are you?
    Are you—Nobody—Too?
    Then there’s a pair of us!
    Don’t tell! they’d advertise—you know!

    How dreary—to be—Somebody!
    How public—like a Frog—
    To tell one’s name—the livelong June—
    To an admiring Bog!

    –Emily Dickinson, of course.

  2. 2 Charissa February 7, 2007 at 11:13 am

    Ooh. If you google me, 9 out of the 10 hits on the first page are actually me. the tenth isn’t about an actual person.

    And four from the second page of hits are me too.

    So this means that either i’m pretty darn famous, or….

    I have a ridiculous name.

    I think I’ll stick with the former.

  3. 3 Will February 8, 2007 at 12:02 am

    Right. So you’re saying Fred isn’t repsected within his field? Nonsense, one bad series does not a bad cricketer make.

    But you’re spot on for most of the rest mind. :p

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Yes, this is my name. And my email. Use it wisely or you're not getting a biscuit with your tea: garyllewellynandrews [at] gmail [dot] com

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