Thursday, December 5, 2013

Aaron Polson is Dead, Long Live Aaron Polson

Remember when Garth Brooks pulled that stupid Chris Gaines stunt?

If you don't, don't worry. In the days of my youth, when I was trying like hell to figure out what it means to be a man, Garth Brooks dominated popular music. I was never a fan, but no high school dance was complete without "Low Places" being played. This is a snapshot of a moment in time, part of my generation, and part of something I'm not sure future generations will have the chance to experience.

Insomnia and I have been wrestling a bit of late, and last night, while watching one of the more horrid (and not in a good way) episodes of Hammer House of Horror on DVD, I started thinking about the fleeting nature of fame in the 21st century. Andy Warhol is my prophet.

Garth Brooks had a solid decade of serious, multi-million-selling fame. Me? Never a fan, but plenty of people loved the guy. He became so famous he could have a bizarro out-of-body experience and pretend to be someone else (Chris Gaines) and the dude still sold billions of albums and won a shit-ton of awards.

This isn't all about Brooks. This is about now, the 21st century, and the lightning strike of fame. Fame is nothing of which I want a part. I do not write for fame, I do not tell stories to become famous, I have no desire to attach "best-seller" to anything I do. I am a writer, I am a story-teller, and I do like to create the best I can.

But fame? Never heard of it. And, like the old grey mare, she ain't what she used to be--at least I suspect she ain't--er, isn't. Remember the guy who wrote the Pride and Prejudice and Zombies mash-up? I don't. But hey... I could Google him*. How about the band which had that song which was popular a year ago? No idea who we're talking about.

Maybe fame has always bounced around, leaving us only with the big names which last for time immemorial. Maybe fame has always worked this way. Maybe I'm just a crabby, sleep-deprived, middle-aged hack. Maybe.

But fame does distort reality. Fame makes a guy like Garth Brooks, king of the popular music world (in the U.S. at least) in the 1990s, think Chris Gaines was a good idea.

I pray I'm never famous.

*Okay, so I looked him up. I guess he wrote the screenplay to the recent Dark Shadows movie. That sucked, too.

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