My scholarly reading over the Thanksgiving weekend included Parade Magazine, that annoying little tabloid that newspapers use as a device to get you to sort through the Sunday advertising supplements. The inside page this week offered the following quote by Tina Fey:
The beauty of self-doubt is that you vacillate between extreme egomania and feeling like ‘I’m a fraud,’ … You just try to ride the egomania and then slide through the impostor syndrome. I’ve realized that almost everyone is a fraud, so I don’t feel that bad about it.
Now that is refreshing. Fame is a net that catches but a few fish out of a large school. There are far more talented people who are not famous than those we know about. With the advent of electronic self-publishing, we now have access to a wider assortment of better books that those now only published because the authors are famous. But they won’t sell unless the authors get lucky.
The worst part of fame and fortune is the “fortune” part, where people who inherit money learn to value themselves as worthy of the inheritance. I experienced this first-hand with a family in Montana comprised of hacks and nuthatches, each imagining him/herself exceptional, each carrying a load of sycophants on board, myself among them. Thank God for past tense.
Here’s something funny, as long as I am rambling: Bob Woodward’s book, off to the left here, is the only one in his long line that I have ever read. It was enough. It was crap. Woodward is running on fumes, and makes his living now sucking up to the very people he supposedly toppled from power years before. (Ask yourself why a famously tight-lipped cabal of schemers would allow anyone inside to observe their dealings.)
Bob Woodward, fraud. (And if he sucks up to power now, was he also doing so then? Just wondering.)
Another, pictured to to the right: Steve Forbes is the champion of the “free enterprise” system that has rewarded him for being the son of a man who made fortune by sucking up to power. That would be his dad Malcolm, the biker to the right. But honestly, Forbes Magazine under Malcolm was interesting. The guy on the left is also interesting, full of spirit and probably cognizant of the fleeting nature of fame. The guy on the right is boring and full of himself, who has accomplished exactly nothing of note in his life, and who would be nothing without that Dad.
George W. Bush is a complete idiot. It’s interesting to see his idiotic book, Decision Points, being torn apart by reviewers who would have praised it if he were still in power. Speaking of sucking up.
Odd thing about the Bush family – even going back to Prescott, there just doesn’t seem to be much talent there, but they are always around. Nixon backers wanted H.W. to be Nixon’s running mate, but he chose Spiro Agnew as “assassination insurance.” People urged Nixon to appoint H.W. as vice president when Agnew was taken down, but he chose the near-dead Gerald R. Ford instead. “W.” is every bit as talented as Prince Charles, but somehow was elevated to the post of president. That’s neither luck nor talent, but rather that name “Bush,” a royal family.
Which brings me to my powerful conclusion: Luck has a lot to do with success and fame, and money helps the progeny. Sarah Palin is lucky and famous and extremely untalented, and the offspring are going to drive us crazy for years. Remember Pete Rose …. Jr.? Jacob Dylan? Emilio Estevez? Dean [Paul] Martin? Sean [Ono] Lennon? Would we even know those names if they were left to their own talent to succeed?
I have no problem with success or talent. I have no problem with luck. I think my only problem is with offspring and hangers-on.
Thus endeth the ramble.