Famously Yours

I’ve seen a few reports about a viral video of music mogul Jay-Z riding on a New York City subway.  He sits to a lady who doesn’t recognize him until the end of their brief conversation when he tells her his full name.  People seem to find it cute or humorous that the woman doesn’t know him on sight.  Although the commotion about him and his entourage clue her in that he must be someone of import, she only recognizes him when he tells her his whole name.

While, like the woman in the video, I’m familiar with Jay-Z by name, I certainly wouldn’t have known who he was just by looking at him.  I’ll assume this means I’m just as clueless as she is.  But it makes me ponder the nature of fame, and how many famous people we would recognize just by seeing them out and about.  Living in a fairly nice area of California, I don’t often assume I’m going to see celebrities wandering around, though the odds are certainly better in this town than in many, many, many other places.  Maybe I should be paying more attention.  
Maybe I should care more.  Or maybe it just means I’m out of touch with pop culture, or that I separate the knowledge of pop culture from the idea that the fleeting icons and stars are anyone real.  In an age of Photoshop and Internet fame, I don’t expect these people to be out shopping or riding subways.  Is that part of the definition of fame, the ability to rise above the activities that everyone else does?  If we understood the famous to be essentially just like us, would they still be famous?  

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