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infamy!
baby, remember my name!
by robert a. melos
8.28.06
pop culture

Andy Warhol predicted everyone would be famous for 15 minutes. Well it hasn’t happened on a grand scale yet, but thanks to the Internet it is happening faster. Also the level of fame achieved is relative to the concentric circle of Internet hell in which they happen to exist. I know this because I’m semi-famous. Not on a scale of say, Mel Gibson (if it would get me more notice I’d blame the Jews, but dad’s side of the family might get pissed), or Paris Hilton (Hey! Just because I’m not a slender sexy woman is not the reason my porn video didn’t out sell hers. And I am a natural blonde!), but I do have a small deeply disturbed following of sorts on the Internet.

Fame can be measured in many ways on the ‘Net. Thanks to Google, the giant search engine that still tells me I’m not important enough for Googlism, I know that I am achieving a small level of notoriety. Every now and again, just for vanity sake, I Google myself. (Get your mind out of the gutter, porn video not withstanding). And when I do this I find I am associated with some rather unusual websites.

Last year when I did this I discovered I was linked to a K-Mart White Sale. Upon following the link I discovered the link was to a column I wrote in 2002. Martha Stewart For President. I was flattered, and amused that a K-Mart website linked to my little column about the Goddess of Domesticity. I also discovered a poem I’d written had been credited to me but gender altered to fit another website. As long as I was credited I didn’t particularly balk. I fully understood the alteration of my work, and since no one was making a buck off me, it didn’t effect me in a negative manner.

This time when I Googled my name I came up with a different self view. Among the numerous links to sites selling my novels (go buy them and make me rich!) were several links to sites that link one of my blogs, R. A. Melos Uncensored: The Raw Melos, that caught my eye. It seems I repost New York Times quotes of the day quite often, usually with a comment or two of my own. Well a site called Technorati has me linked to them displaying my comments for the entertainment of their readers. Again, I’m flattered, and I get the credit for being a wiseass.

Googlism, while not recognizing me as me, recognizes an article I wrote some time ago; Van Halen Is Overrated. Now again I don’t object to the notion that Googlism recognizes something I wrote, although it would be nice if it recognized me.

While these were mildly amusing links another made me realize just how much of what I say is taken seriously, and even out of context with The Moderate Voice blog quoting me, or taking comments from my own blog and using them to back up an opinion. Again flattering, and they got my name right.

However, it began to make me think just how my words and my Internet presence can have an affect on the world. It hit home with Larger Than Life GLBT Heroes, a list site on which I am listed as an author. Now I am an author, so that part is accurate, but considering me larger than life, while I get no complaints, seems an exaggeration and I don’t think of myself as a hero unless you count that time I rushed into a burning building to save a mother and child...wait, that was a movie I saw last night. Okay, not a hero here.

When I think of larger than life people I think of Doc Holiday, Wyatt Earp, Calamity Jane, Abraham Lincoln, Chuck Yeager Alan Shepard, Gus Grissom, Sally Ride, and Matthew Shepard. Okay, those are all from the previous two centuries. Give me a minute and I’ll come up with people of similar caliber from this century.

Okay, I can’t name any of our current astronauts off the top of my head, nor can I think of anyone who isn’t Paris Hilton or heroic, or not a television personality. Most of the people who come to mind are more vapid than I, which I once thought of as almost impossible. The names popping into my head are most noted for being pop singers married to talent-less hacks, actors who visit and adopt third world nations, and George W. Bush. None of these people live up to hero standards in my opinion, so maybe in the gay-lesbian-bisexual-transgender community my being out and vocal makes me a hero of sorts.

Whatever the reason, this really makes me realize the power of the Internet, and the gullibility of the human race to quote me, or list me, and yet it also gives me a sense of responsibility to be honest and forthright with my writing, and my off handed remarks, and glib comments, and in general my lovable goofy demeanor that apparently gets me more notice than I thought.

Does this mean I won’t sell out the minute I get a paying offer? Hell no! I’ll date Paris Hilton’s ugly brother (if she has one) if it’ll get me some extra minutes of fame and move me up the ladder to being a household name. Granted I’m amused by the workings of the Internet, and people who link to me and quote me, and even misquote me. As long as they get my name right, that’s all that matters.

I’m shallow that way.


ABOUT ROBERT A. MELOS

Robert is the author of the novels Cool Mint Blue, Melba Ridge, and the recently released The Adventures of Homosexual Man and Lesbian Lad; and the creator of the on-line comix Impure Thoughts found at his web site Inside R.A. Melos, as well as having been an on-line staff writer for QBliss where he had a monthly humor column, Maybe A Yip, Maybe A Yap. In his non-writing time, when he's not studying the metaphysical or creating a tarot deck, he sells real estate in Middlesex County New Jersey, hangs out with his dog Zeus, and spends time at the Pride Center of New Jersey in Highland Park, NJ, where he is on the Board of Trustees.

more about robert a. melos

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COMMENTS

alex b
8.28.06 @ 8:39a

Robert, this column is spot-on. The Internet really can be used to create fame, notoriety, and reputations of different scales. Here's a story I can share:

Whenever I Google my name, what comes up is a website and a message board I created about the Miller sisters, three high society siblings who each married very well. At the time I created it (1998), I was 23, looking to learn HTML, and thought celebrity fascination would be a handy way to teach myself. To my surprise, the site drew a lively fan base that happily gathered to gossip away on the board. To my even greater surprise, in a story about two of the sisters' marriages breaking up in 2003, the NY Post cited my website and message board community. Not only did the article give me a couple of nice plugs (by calling me a "budding web designer" with a "sophisticated" website. Yay!), but it went on to mention the discussions on my message board, in particular how we thought one ex-husband was a cheating heel. In turn, the board was bombarded with lots of porn links and hate messages, and our consensus was that the ex-husband's friends and acquaintances chose to do it. Since then, we've become a password-protected community, and to my greatest surprise, we're still going- dropping tips about the sisters, gossiping about NY high society, and generally anything we like.

Thus, thanks to the Internet, I probably have my own dorky reputation. In a slant that reminds me of the Corrupt-A-Wish board thread, the Miller sisters most likely know my name- and probably think I'm some computer dork who digs "Star Trek". All in all, I never thought any of this would happen, and think it's hilarious because it has.

And oh, Paris Hilton has TWO younger brothers, Barron and Conrad. Interested?

robert melos
8.28.06 @ 3:04p

See, I learn so much through the Internet. I had heard of Alexandra Von Furstenberg, but wasn't familiar with the Miller sisters. Now I am.

In some ways its amazing how much information there is on the 'Net, and also frightening when you consider anyone can get that information at the click of a button. On the other hand, part of the responsibility of being a websurfer is knowing the waters and surfing safely.

I had the problem with porn posts and bots posting to my blog at Inside R. A. Melos to the point where I made that blog a no comment posting blog. It really is more for my creative purposes anyway. My other blogs are easier to edit comments out if they are those annoying types selling on-line casinos etc..

Now about the Hilton brothers. There's a celebrity obsession I could get into. They are a bit young, but I'm willing to make an exception.

tracey kelley
9.1.06 @ 1:13a

I'm a powerhouse real estate agent in Texas, only not.

This distresses me. I'm trying SO HARD to be notorious.

Awesome column, Robert.

robert melos
9.1.06 @ 2:40a

One of the fun things about doing a bit of "ego surfing" is the discovery of others who might be you, if you happen to be them. For me I'm an island in Greece. Albeit a famous island in Greece, but still an island. Who said, "no man is an island?"



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