Fame is the Crown of Mediocrity

“Fame is the crown of mediocrity” – Anonymous

“The other reason for the difficulty of distinguishing between true and false is the fascination of power and fame. If advertising makes a person’s name or a book famous, the average man is inclined to believe the propaganda. There is another fact that contributes to this greatly. In a fully commercialized society, in which the maximum benefit constitutes venality, each one sees himself as a capital to be invested in, in order to get the maximum benefit (success), and his or her value in use is not higher than a toothpaste or a drug. It matters little if an individual is intelligent, creative and courageous if these qualities have helped him succeed. However, if nothing more than mediocre as a person, writer, artist or whatever but if this person has a narcissistic yearning, is determined, obsessive and shameless about coming out in newspapers and media, only little talent is required to become one of the “great artists and writers” of the day. Of course he is not the only one involved: dealers, literary agents, “public relations,” editors …, everyone is interested financially in his success. It is they who have “made” whatever writer or “artist.” And once he becomes a writer, painter or singer announced across the country, he has become a “celebrity” and commonplace no different than whatever detergent is the most advertised. Fraud and deceit are not new, they have always existed. But there has never been another time when so much importance is placed on staying in the limelight.”

– Erich Fromm


2 thoughts on “Fame is the Crown of Mediocrity

  1. Well, I don’t think fame is always a sign of mediocrity; there are real Pulitzer winning authors who have earned fame but are still incredible worthy. However, in today’s society it is all about fame and being in the limelight. Just look at all the reality tv shows we have out there… Many people nowadays consider fame itself an achievement regardless of talent.

    1. True, not always because there are, like you say, authors or composers that have been recognized and rewarded for their accomplishments. But many people can’t name a Pulitzer Prize-winning author or a work by a well-known composer considered to be of cultural importance over the latest radio-tv-pop whatever or whomever. This to me shows a cultural deficiency and I’m just exposing this mass emphasis on placing importance on pop over higher culture, like the Pulitzer example you gave. Is a Grammy as significant or important as a Pulitzer or of Nobel etc? How is that gauged?

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