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Why Are You Famous Again?

Stars like Lindsay Lohan defy the conventional wisdom that fame is fleeting

Shoptiques Why Are You Famous Again?


Think about this: Lindsay Lohan starred in "Mean Girls" almost a decade ago. Before that, she worked alongside Jamie Lee Curtis and a pre-"One Tree Hill" Chad Michael Murray in chick flick "Freaky Friday." And no one can forget her adorable turn as twins Hallie Parker and Annie James in the remake of "The Parent Trap." But here’s the thing: Lohan’s semi-decent film credits end with "Mean Girls." Aside from the random guest appearance on sitcoms like "Ugly Betty" and "That ‘70s Show," Lohan has contributed nothing of great value to the film industry. So why are we still talking about her? Why does her name crop up on the Internet constantly, and why is her picture still appearing in celeb gossip magazines?

An article in reported that 96 percent of people mentioned in newspapers more than 100 times in a given year were already famous three years before. Just take a look at the top billboard charts today: although you see newcomers like Macklemore, they’re dominated by familiar names. Justin Timberlake, who just released his "Suit & Tie" album, has been around for nearly 20 years between his solo career and ‘N Sync. To put it in perspective, JT’s controversial halftime wardrobe malfunction with Janet Jackson happened the same year as "Mean Girls" release. Feeling old yet?

Here’s the thing: despite what people say about celebrity being a fleeting thing, most of the celebs you see in the tabloids have been around for a long time.

"There is almost a consensus among scholars in the field of the sociology of fame, that most fame is ephemeral," said researcher Eran Shor of McGill University, who recently released a study on this topic. "What we've shown here that is truly revolutionary is that the people who you and I would consider famous, even the Kim Kardashians of this world, stay famous for a long time. It doesn't come and go."

Whether its sports or politics or film, we still remember and discuss the people we were talking about decades ago. What amazes me most, however, are not the people like Timberlake who are still working in their field, but the people like Lohan who haven’t had a hit in nearly a decade but still hold the nation’s attention. You can’t help but wonder: why do we still care? Its kind of sadistic when the only reason we’re still even thinking about Lindsay Lohan is her several stints in prison.

Unfortunately, it seems that our attention spans are longer and our standards for celebrity have been lowered. Inevitably, we’ll probably still be talking about LiLo in another ten years. 

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