Anyone can have 15 minutes of fame
Andy Warhol once said that "in the future, everyone will be famous for 15 minutes."
This must have seemed like nonsense in the 1960s, when there were only a handful of household names and the boundary between "celebrity" and "mere mortal" was drawn clearly in the sand.
If you had a talent for singing, you would go to a studio and show the record industry bigwigs what you had. If you made an impression, against tall odds, promoters would waste no time in labeling you the Next Big Thing and making you a part of history. And if you failed, there was no choice but to get a job like every other decent citizen and spend your remaining days ruing over what could have been.
Now, all it takes is an Internet connection, a microphone and a Myspace account to make your (most likely, small) cultural imprint. A couple hundred people will stumble across your page, post a positive comment or two and make you feel famous. There is no pressure to get it right the first time, and no desire to "make it big" because there is no such thing anymore.
Aspiring writers once had to send their manuscript to a publisher, hoping their life's work didn't get lost in the mail or lost on the editor's floor. A handful of talented, lucky authors would succeed, and those chosen few could die knowing their works would one day be read and misanalyzed in high school English.
Now, anyone with enough time on his hands can start a blog. Some make the background black and the fonts gothic-looking to show the world they're depressed (and thus great writers.)
Others post recipes or headlines or "personal witticisms" they have convinced themselves the world wants to read. Simply put, anyone who thinks they have anything to say can now say it.
The Internet is slowly dismantling the concept of "celebrity" as we have known it since Jesus Christ became the most polarizing figure of his time over 2,000 years ago. People no longer want heroes they can look up to, as they did in the past. Celebrities are not the immortals they used to be -- as Charlie Sheen and LiLo have demonstrated all too well -- and a slice of fame is no longer a pipe-dream but a perfectly normal goal, even an expectation.
In a world where there is no quality filter to separate "good" books and movies and music from bad, everyone gets to be their own personal hero. We don't need the adoration of millions or a cult following or even a lonely, solitary fan besides our own beautiful selves.
There's room in the sky for a million stars, even if it means that the brightest ones may not stand out.
Nathan Kitzmann graduated from Detroit Lakes High School and will be attending the University of Minnesota this fall.