Andy Warhol once observed that "in the future everybody will be famous for fifteen minutes." I took this premise and turned it into an exceptionally snotty Web page listing people and organization whose alloted 15 minutes, in my opinion, are perilously close to expiration or already gone. The entries on this page, however, are actual real-life entities; their existence is entirely independent of that mysterious place called cyberspace.

Net.fame, conversely, has little or anything to do with real life. One acquires net.fame in a number of ways, mostly accidental. A year ago, Matt Drudge was a fairly anonymous Web gossip; two years ago, Harry Knowles was just another film buff. The one thing Drudge and Knowles have in common is the recognition of the online community, based on the perceived value of the material they publish on their Web sites. If they're entitled to fifteen minutes of net.fame, they probably have a good thirteen or fourteen minutes left to their credit.

At the other end of the spectrum is, well, me. In two and a half years, I have lured about 5500 unwary surfers to this site. Probably that many people are operating parodies of the Drudge Report. Still, the miracle of search engines and my occasional ability to select a topic of marginal interest will bring me, if not accolades, at least an occasional link, and thereby hangs an extremely convoluted tale.

Joab Jackson, proprietor of the biweekly Cyberpunk column in Baltimore's CityPaper, did a piece on erstwhile net.goddess Kim Rollins, whose online diary came to a crashing halt on the 12th of never er, November. Jackson, an unabashed Rollins fan, went in search of kindred spirits to comment on this turn of events, and of course I was happy to oblige. They say when a door closes, another one opens; Wil Shipley, Rollins' former significant other (and employer), has begun dealing with his emotional responses with an online diary of his own, which I recommend to anyone who has ever been in love or simply wondered what it was like. The legendary Pigdog Journal is keeping an archive of the Rollins/Shipley unwinding. In the meantime, those curious folks who are following this story will wind up at some point in Jackson's article, and a few of them may actually point their browsers my way, thereby providing me with a few more seconds to apply to my 15-minute limit.

If you, Gentle Reader, are one of those curious folks, I thank you for coming; for my four or five regular readers, I apologize for this massive eruption of ego, and I promise to be properly humble come the first of January. Of course, if you are a regular reader, you know better than to believe me when I say that.

The Vent

26 December 1998

 | Vent menu |

 Copyright © 1998 by Charles G. Hill