There have been lots of autobiographies written by famous people, but this one is unique, at least to my knowledge it’s unique. Most celebrities are famous as a result of working hard at it. They wanted to be famous and did whatever it took to achieve it. Also, although not all famous people are rich as a result of being famous, or famous because they are so rich, one thing they DO all have in common is they know they are famous.
Ideally fame and fortune should always go about hand in hand as it is a very trying business being always recognized wherever one may go. It puts a lot of pressure on a person being noticed by strangers wherever he goes so it’s only right that universally known people should be able to afford uncommon luxuries and access to exclusive hideaways as a reasonable compensation for having to endure such extraordinary stress.
People enjoy pointing you out to their companions and they enjoy interacting with you so they can carry the tale of it to friends and relatives. It is a high point in their day seeing or meeting you. Maybe even a high point in their life. So, as you can imagine, always being surrounded by the excitement you create merely by walking among mortals can be very taxing. It can also be very dangerous. As excited as “normal” people get over the sight of you and the idea of actually getting close to a celebrity, it’s nothing compared to the effect the proximity of a star can have on a mentally unbalanced person.
There are many different kinds of fame, but as has already been pointed out, all celebrities are aware they are famous. Since being famous has such an exciting effect on people it would appear impossible for someone to be a star of some sort and not know about it. A person may be more or less popular than they think they are, but they are generally aware that they are more well known than the average person. Only in the realms of fiction have we seen instances where people are very well known, where their lives are widely watched by strangers for entertainment, and the victim of this popular voyeurism is unaware of the attention he is being routinely subjected to. Two pieces come to mind here, “The Truman Show” and a Twilight Zone episode from the 80’s called “Special Service”, which I believe was the original inspiration for the Truman Show. Also, in 2003 there was “The Joe Schmo Show”.
The idea of being secretly watched is a very timely one in this day of NSA surveillance, cameras on every street corner and inexpensive radio shack pinhole cameras that can be hidden by anyone anywhere.
In the present day of reality shows, social media and youtubers it seems now, more than ever before, people are obsessed with the idea of being famous. The idea of being famous seems to be an extremely desirable and popular one these days. It seems Andy Warhol’s much publicized prediction that one day every one of earth’s denizens will enjoy an allotment of 15 minutes of fame has finally come to pass. I think that in this day of fast food, welfare, cheap thrills and entertainment, fame is even more desirable to the common person than the fortune which traditionally accompanies it. Our lives have become so trivial and attention spans so brief that the immortality fame seems to offer us appears all the more glamorous and attractive. Also, thanks to modern technology, it’s more accessible to more people than ever before.
These are also very dangerous times for those who value their privacy. I have always been one of those so you can scarcely imagine the trauma I experienced when I finally learned beyond all doubt that any privacy I felt I enjoyed was nothing more than a delusion. In this book we will not only explore what it has been like to be secretly made famous, I will also attempt to explain the strange neurosis and obsessions that develop in the mind of a person saddled with this kind of unconventional renown. To my knowledge nothing like this has ever happened to anyone ever before. I am likely the only person who knows what experiencing this type of perverse treatment for decade after decade does to a someone psychologically. Fortunately I have no congenital mental shortcomings otherwise I could easily have lost my mind. I have come pretty close to becoming totally unhinged on more than one occasion, but my reflective and philosophical bent has so far preserved me. This is altogether more fortunate as I will prove that those who have been exploiting me have been intentionally trying to push me over the edge since I can remember.
I hope we can all agree that an important aspect of always being in the public eye is to have some level of control over how we are perceived. The public is very fickle and unless one has some influence over how one is seen you can easily go from being universally loved and admired to having concrete concerns about the safety of your person pretty quick. Even if your popularity is generally of a positive nature you are constantly in danger of being harmed by mentally unbalanced individuals. Again, fame is an extremely dangerous business and I never would have chosen it for myself, but evidently that decision was made for me at some point.
I understand some of you may not be familiar with my situation and that many aspects of my story sound like typical schizoid ideation. However, if you bear with me I will present a series of extremely suspect situations and incidents that, taken together, can hardly point to any other conclusion. Whether or not you believe me it’s still a very interesting and entertaining story that raises many very intriguing philosophical questions and says a lot about our modern world.
I suppose what most people reading this would like to know about me is what has it felt like being the center of all this unwholesome attention nearly all my life. Given the clandestine nature of this whole project, “creepy” is a word that readily springs to mind. Also, one of the ironies of celebrity is that even though thousands or millions of people feel they know you personally, it places an impenetrable barrier between you and the world. So whether my puppet masters were whipping up an aura of likable humor around me or basely working the people up against me according to their whim, there was always unfathomable distance between me and the public. There was never a human connection, so the next word I would use to characterize my experience would be “loneliness”.
Beyond a doubt this whole thing was a very cruel and heartless thing to do to a young person. Admittedly, I wasn’t born into the best family situation, but I was strong and thoughtful enough to deal with all those heartbreaks and disadvantages. However, the one thing that I was unable to defend myself against was the one thing that had been intentionally kept secret from me as I was growing up. How can one be expected to fight an invisible foe everyone denies even exists? Because I have had to live under this cloud for the past 30 or 40 years I have never been able to form any close friendships and marriage was out of the question. I had wanted to start a family of my own since my 20’s but I found that I could never completely trust anyone. Of course now I know why I always sensed people were untrustworthy, but even now that I know what is and has been going on I can’t say that it’s much easier for me to relax around people. I remember back when I was in Jr. High School I was very popular and well liked, yet I found it very curious that despite this I always felt profoundly lonely.
Of course, even if I were able to ignore my suspicions and feel at ease around women this thing has place other obstacles in the way of my finding domestic bliss. Most people, at least people around my age, think of romance as a very personal thing. I can hardly blame them for being chary of getting intimately involved with someone in such a perverse spotlight as the one that has been following me around. This has worked out well for the unscrupulous creatures who have been using me since they can send their own people into my life to fill the vacancies left by those who should have been there for me naturally. Trust me, they have taken full advantage of this. What has passed for my personal life has basically been nothing more than a parade of prostitutes and adventurers. I know for a fact all the people I knew right before the time their whole project started falling apart were being instructed to tape our conversations, encourage me not only to make confessions for this Springeresque travesty, but to try to get me involved with all kinds of nasty things. Of course they were all financially compensated for their efforts, some very generously. Actually I was probably the only person involved who never made a dime off of this ongoing project. All I ever got out of it was suffering and disappointment.
The truth of the matter is that the clique who has been using me for this project feels no moral obligation to reimburse me because I am not a member of their group. If they can legally get away without paying me a cent, despite all the pain they have caused me, they are fine with that. To them I am just another resource to be exploited. I’m sure they justify their outrageous abuse of me some way, but I know they are not bound by the truth in their presentation of me before the public so I wouldn’t place any trust in any of the explanations they may offer.
There are a lot of things about this ongoing production I’d like to know. One of the them is exactly when did it start. I know cable television has been around as long as television itself but it started getting real big in the early 70’s. Advances in satellite communications technology and the relaxing of hitherto restrictive regulations concerning what material could be broadcast lead to a boom in the industry and it started to get immensely popular. Cable television was already pretty standard for people who lived in remote or mountainous areas where air born signals didn’t work very well, but when the laws were relaxed around 1971 and they could transmit things like recent Hollywood movies and popular sporting events, many people who didn’t need it before now wanted to have it. I remember one of it’s big selling points back then was that there were no commercials. Also many stations offered quirky shows that appealed to various unconventional kinds of people. Everything from naked news broadcasts to radical political discussion and new age mumbo jumbo. I think this show that is loosely based on me falls into this ‘quirky show’ category and has enjoyed a sort of cult popularity for at least the past 30 years. I know this thing was going strong by the early 80’s and I strongly suspect it started in the mid 70’s. It may have been going on all my life, but it was around ’74 or ’75 that I started to notice weird things going on.
OK, that’s enough for now. I will continue working on this off line. I can’t say I’m very happy with how it’s coming out so far, but right now I’m just hacking out the skeleton. I’ve been putting off writing this for ten years now so I think it’s time I started work. I wanted to wait until I had all the facts, but I’ve no idea when I will so I may as well record all my experiences and impressions in the mean time until I do.