Robert Greenberg

Historian, Composer, Pianist, Speaker, Author

Archive for Fame

Louis Moreau Gottschalk: The Justin Bieber Of 1860s San Francisco

“Fame” and “fortune” remain two of the great bugaboos for those morality police who, possessing neither, would make our lives miserable for wanting either. I personally see no harm in fortune. Yes, I am aware that “money can’t buy you love” but it can buy just about everything else, most especially time: time to do things that do not in themselves generate money, like playing and composing music. Yes, I have read that wealth encourages sloth and boredom, but these seem to me to be operator errors and not something intrinsic to wealth per se. Certainly, there is nothing slothful about Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, Warren Buffet, or Jeff Bezos. Fame however, is another thing. At the very least, fame destroys any prospect of privacy and freedom of motion. The pleasures small and large we all enjoy — a stroll to the grocery store; a visit to a museum; a quiet dinner in a restaurant; going to see a movie; being a tourist – are virtually impossible for the famous. Can we imagine George Clooney or Beyoncé or Tiger Woods living normal lives? We might envy them their wealth, but they are birds in a gilded cage. Fame — celebrity […]

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