Joho the BlogFamous to fifteen people - Joho the Blog

Famous to fifteen people

Heather Green has risen to defend my honor because a story on podcasting in the NY Times yesterday attributes the quote “In the future, everyone will be famous for fifteen people” as a “podcasting maxim” rather than to me. Thank you, Heather.

But, my honor doesn’t need or deserve defending in this case. Here’s the comment I left in response to Heather’s post, which was title “Quote foul!”:

I’d jump in and grab the glory except for two points:

First, although I came up with the line independently, if you google it you’ll find a bunch of other people who came up with it independently before I did. Life’s like that.

Second, even if I knew that I was the first person ever to say those words, so what? Sure, it’s good to attribute quotations when possible, but it’s even better to let ideas be assimilated into the cultural body, and that doesn’t happen if people have to keep saying “As so-and-so said.” I’m proud to have something that I (and others) wrote enter the culture as a “maxim.” Cool!

Just to be clear: Had I known that someone else had said that line, I would have attributed it to him/her in the book. That would have been appropriate in that context. It’s different if a reporter thinks that it’s a phrase that’s been floating around for a while and attributes to a general purpose person.

So, thank you for the defense, and I’m sorry to have inadvertently led you to defend my honor when there is no honor to defend. At least in this case.

In short, if I were the referee, I’d say: “No foul. Fair play!”

One of the commenters tracks the phrase to a 1997 usenet post. There are a couple of other references as well.

Which just proves one of my other maxims: Nothing has ever been said just once. (By the way, there are no google hits on that phrase.)

17 Responses to “Famous to fifteen people”

  1. not quite the same, but i thougth i’d share:

    “if speech were not repeatable, it would have been exhausted,”
    Ali b. Abi Talib (d. 661)

  2. Way earlier than that. I use that phrase all the time and I always attribute it to this 1991 article:

    http://www.imomus.com/index499.html

  3. Great. Thanks for blogging this. I never would argue that people should claim something tha’ts a general purpose quote, a maxim as it were. I erroneously, as you so well and completely point out, was mistaken and should have checked whether the people who thought you should be attributed with the quote were wrong.

    Obviously. My mistake. An honest one. But again. Thanks for correcting it.

  4. Oy, Heather, no need to apologize! None of us knew there were prior inventors of the phrase, and I appreciate your leaping to my defense. Really.

  5. Maybe it needs to be updated anyway –

    Famous for 15 trackbacks…?
    Famous to fifteen commenters…?
    Famous on fifteen feeds…?

  6. […] by the mass media to become famous. To paraphrase Andy Warhol, on the Internet, everyone will be famous to 15 people. In fact, everything important about fame has […]

  7. […] by the mass media to become famous. To paraphrase Andy Warhol, on the Internet, everyone will be famous to 15 people. In fact, everything important about fame has […]

  8. […] by the mass media to become famous. To paraphrase Andy Warhol, on the Internet, everyone will be famous to 15 people. In fact, everything important about fame has […]

  9. […] by the mass media to become famous. To paraphrase Andy Warhol, on the Internet, everyone will be famous to 15 people. In fact, everything important about fame has […]

  10. […] by the mass media to become famous. To paraphrase Andy Warhol, on the Internet, everyone will be famous to 15 people. In fact, everything important about fame has […]

  11. […] by the mass media to become famous. To paraphrase Andy Warhol, on the Internet, everyone will be famous to 15 people. In fact, everything important about fame has […]

  12. […] by a mass media to turn famous. To counterfeit Andy Warhol, on a Internet, everybody will be famous to 15 people. In fact, all critical about luminary has […]

  13. […] Warhol, on the Internet, everyone will be famous to 15 people. In fact, everything important about fame has […]

  14. […] Warhol, on the Internet, everyone will be famous to 15 people. In fact, everything important about fame has […]

  15. […] by the mass media to become famous. To paraphrase Andy Warhol, on the Internet, everyone will be famous to 15 people. In fact, everything important about fame has […]

  16. […] by the mass media to become famous. To paraphrase Andy Warhol, on the Internet, everyone will be famous to 15 people. In fact, everything important about fame has […]

  17. […] Anyone can become a trending topic across the nation thanks to apps like Snapchat, Vine, and Instagram. In the old days, fame was controlled not by the famous and certainly not by the audience, but by the owners of the media. Now social media has altered the control of the conversation to us so we choose who gets our attention. Even if the reason isn’t necessarily…entertaining.To paraphrase Andy Warhol, on the Internet, everyone will be famous to 15 people. […]

Leave a Reply


Web Joho only

Comments (RSS).  RSS icon