When Richard Dreyfus and Laurence Olivier were making the film ‘Marathon Man,’ Dreyfus asked the most famous actor of the 20th C: “Why did you become an actor?” Olivier surprised him with the unpretentious but honest answer: “So people would look at me, dear boy”
Every cab driver to steeplejack to lawyer craves for just enough fame to be recognized, to be admired, to be looked at from out of the faceless crowd in which we move anonymously every day of our anonymous lives. Most of us simply dream the dream. But a few hungry others chase it down the byways of life with a fierce commitment. It either succeeds [0.01% of the world’s population is officially ‘famous’] or it ends in that quiet desperation with which the rest of us live as best as our unfulfilled egos allow.
Sometimes, though, fame is neither pursued nor denied. It just happens! Here are the 4 easiest ways to become famous without even trying:
* die suddenly at an altogether too-young age while in the midst of some serious endeavor [the media ghoulishly relish these tales of premature deaths in shuttles, planes, towers, or terrorist attacks]
* survive some catastrophe as the only person left to tell the tale [the media especially love it when the ratio of dead-to-survival is bloody high]
* be the only one who happens to be at the right time at the right place for the big event [the Zagruder film taken right on the spot where President Kennedy was assassinated in 1963 is a prime example]
* be the next scientific writer to pen a page-turner about how the human brain — please, not the human mind! — can be dissected to demonstrate how evolutionary genetics explains human behavior; no, this is NOT as easy as the other three, but it does come with quick rewards like Adrian Raines new book ‘The Anatomy of Violence: The Biological Roots of Crime.’
Raines appears to join the growing chorus of genetic determinist’s who have found real — some of us would say exaggerated — evidence that: “Certain genetic, neurological and physiological factors do predict criminal behavior.” Accordingly, Raines seems to reprise Aldous Huxley’s old warning that: “Given such predilection’s will permit the State to incarcerate such potential criminals.”
What…? In America….? Nonsense…! You misread Raines. When the Nazis did that in Germany during the 1930s they stood alone in such madness. No, not exactly. The Nazis were actually predated by a number of American biologists and industrialists who thought the very same thought in the early 20th C. It was popularly known as Eugenics and my old collections of ‘Life,’ ‘Look.” and ‘Saturday Evening Post’ magazines feature scores of such popularly read articles. Articles which then, as now, assure us the Brain [physiology] is where you find us, while the Mind [metaphysical] is really nothing we can measure.
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