All is ephemeral -- fame and the famous as well.
Marcus Aurelius Antoninus.
Recognize any of these names: Owen D. Young, Pierre Laval, Hugh S. Johnson, James F.
Byrnes, Mohammed Mossadegh, Harlow Curtis? You should; according to Time magazine, these
are all people who have been designated as "Man of the Year" by Time, indicating
they had the greatest impact in that year of all persons living on Earth. The celebrity of
today is all but forgotten tomorrow.
Around a man who has been pushed into the limelight a legend begins to grow as it does
around a dead man. But a dead man is in no danger of yielding to the temptation to nourish
his legend, or accept its picture as reality. I pity the man who falls in love with his
image as it is drawn by public opinion during the honeymoon of publicity.
Dag Hammarskjold, quoted in C. Swindoll, The Grace Awakening,
Word, 1990, p. 238-9.
The boxer Muhammad Ali was known as "the champ," arguably the most famous
athlete of his generation. He was on top, and his entourage of trainers and various
helpers shared the adulation with him. But the party ended, leaving many of Ali's loyal
followers disillusioned--and in some cases, destitute. Ali himself, now halting in speech
and uncertain in movement, says "I had the world, and it wasn't nothin'."
Today in the Word, October, 1990, p. 11.
His initials were W.W., and in the 1930s and 1940s they were enough to identify him to
most of America. He was widely considered the creator of modern gossip writing, and in his
heyday this rude, abrasive, egotistical and witty man was the country's best known and
most widely read journalist and one of its most influential. In 1943, when there were 140
million people in the United States, more than 50 million of them read his gossip column
every day in more than 1000 newspapers, including his flagship, The New York Daily
Even more people listened to his weekly radio broadcast. Hated, feared and revered, he
presided over Table 50 of the Stork Club in New York, creating and destroying celebrities
at the drop of his trademark gray snap-brim fedora. Yet when he died in 1972, at age 74,
he was practically forgotten. Only two people attended his funeral; his daughter,
and the rabbi who officiated at his services. Today, not many people under 40 even know
the name of Walter Winchell.
Mervyn Rothstein, in the New York Times, 6-24- 1990
Cato the Elder, on observing statues being set up in honor of others, remarked: "I
would rather have people ask 'Why isn't there a statue to Cato? than 'Why is there
Thomas Masson, The Best Stories in the World.