Saturday, October 8, 2011

80. Why be famous?

One of the most popular question I get from my readers is: Why do you want to be famous anyway? To me, I always thought the reasons were self evident. Its like the question "why would you want to sit in first class anyway? In fact I often wondered who wouldn't want to be famous? But it is a good question and well worth pondering. So below are 22 reasons (not in any particular order):

  • People will respect you. For all the drawbacks of being famous people tend to generally respect famous people. Becoming famous is a tremendous accomplishment and it is universally respected in most parts of the world.
  • Even though architecture is a team sport and the work that comes out of your office is a product of the many talented people who work for you, it is you that gets all the credit. You can pretend to be gracious all you want by showing a picture of you staff and saying “oh, this is my team, and I show them to let you know that it is a team effort. bla, bla, bla...” hogwash! If you are the head of he firm and you are clearly the leader and spokesman, it is you who gets the credit.
  • You will get asked for your autograph. That alone is reason enough.
  • People (esp. architectural critics) will stop really questioning you. They just assume that everything you do and say makes sense and is just wonderful.
  • Even when the hair on top of your head have migrated down to your back, members of the opposite sex will still find you attractive.
  • You may get to have a retrospective at a major museum before you die
  • You don’t chase down magazine editors to get your work published, magazine editors chase you down to get your work published.

  •  You and your image will be such a hot commodity journalists will want to feature you in their magazines, even if its is not an architecture journal. This one below of Zaha Hadid was found while browsing though an inflight magazine:
  • You don’t need to wait till you have something important to say to get heard. What ever bull-shit you think of and say is listened to with the full attention of the architecture world.
  • You get credit for things that lesser known architects have already invented long before you stole...ahem, I mean borrowed it from them.
  • You get to meet other famous people. Why is this so great?  You can take pictures of yourself with them and put it on your facebook profile. You will be the envy of all your friends.
I am hanging with Tutu, top that suckers!!!
  • Even better than just meeting other famous people you get to work with them. 
Me and Pharrell are buddies like that!
  • You get to work for autocrats and dictators. Why is this an advantage? These are the types that have the good sense to put great architecture in its rightful place: above the concerns of uncultured people who have no taste what-so-ever in architecture. With a supreme leader behind you, your design visions can be realized unmitigated; without all the nonsensical layers of regulations and bureaucracy commonly found in democratic countries. 
  • You get invited to competitions that are closed off to regular architects.- imagine offered the opportunity to design some of the most exciting and important buildings of our times. There is real opportunity in that to flex your design muscles and show off your talents, but you don't even get considered if you are sitting in the economy section of the architectural class.
  • Freebies. Oh my God! the freeking freebies. People will just give you stuff for nothing. You will get discounts at hotels, restaurants, get bumped up to first class, etc.

  • You don’t need to prove your-self anymore. You can just sit back on your laurels and regurgitate your same old shtick and everyone will say “oh he is such a genius.” Just look at Zaha and Lebiskind.
  • Like Norman Foster, when your name becomes so famous and valuable you can arrange it so that your own company basically pays you just to keep your name on their stationary. Then you can buy a ranch in the french countryside and come in to the office once or twice a month just to show your face and sign autographs for your star-stuck employees.
  • Also from the Norman Foster play-book: When a financial crisis hits and most of your employees either have to take a pink-slip or a pay cut, you can have your-self a nice pay raise and a hefty bonus. You deserve it!
    • The most talented people will want to come and work for you and what’s more they are willing to do it for free or very little. Even more, they will work much, much, harder for you than they would at an average office. I think Frank Lloyd Wright once had the children of his rich clients actually pay him money to work for him. Now that's what I call "Big Pimpin"

    • Contractors don’t argue with you, and clients?... well clients will be clients. Sorry!
    • Just the thought of groupies. If you are famous you will no doubt have a bunch of superficial friends and loyal devotees that will follow you around like secret service agents just because you are famous.
    • People will drop your name to make themselves look important; "Oh I was having dinner with Conrad Newel yesterday darling, who were you dining with again?"
    • People will call you a genius - for most famous people i.e. movie stars, singers, etc, when they are famous people say oh they are fantastic, etc. but architects? when architects are famous people tend to say "well he is a genius!". Just think about that for a second: Conrad Newel a Genius! - I kind of like the sound of that. It has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?
    • You will be memorialized simulntaniously for about a week on facebook when you die. People will replace their profile picture with a flattering picture of you. All the vicious and tyrannical things that you have done throughout your career will be forgotten or forgiven. They will say nice things about you, write quotes of all the wonderful things that you said on their statuses, and every website and news articles will be all about you. Although you won’t be around to basque in all the adoration, I think that's much better than silently slipping off the planet with not a mention in the press.
    • People will actually want to read your autobiography
    Tribute to Oscar Niemeyer, after his death by Brazilian artist Kobra (Thanks Vinícius Vitoriano!)

    Le Corbusier immortalized on Swiss currency
    • You will have a place in History. People will write about you, and continue to be inspired by you long after you are dead. Just think about this. Hundreds of years after you are dead, architecture students will be visiting your grave with flowers.

    Conrad Newel

    Liberating Minds Since August 2007