Sunday, January 24, 2010

Dare We Dissent?

I love the courtesy extended throughout the blogosphere. No need to be rude or judgemental on someone else's blog. No need to be contrary and stir the pot.

honestly, I'm all for that.

but, because of these blogging etiquette rules, we seldom have actual discussions. With actual opinions.

Today I want to invite an open discussion. Please be polite. Don't tear down another's POV - but share your honest and forthright opinion.

I'm so excited for this discussion! Join in! Speak up! Jump off that fence!

Dare you dissent??? Or do you honestly agree???

Today's prompt comes from a post I did two weeks ago. I quoted Erma Bombeck.

The quote was:

Don't confuse success with fame.
Helen Keller is one.
Madonna is the other.

What say you? Let the discussion begin...


L.T. Elliot said...

I suppose it's how you define success. Madonna in the 80s, I'd say was totally fame. Madonna now...I think she's found a measure of success for herself in motherhood, yoga, and personal peace. Not that I know her but that's my feeling.

Helen Keller is a success story in the way that she took a disability (okay, several) and rose above it to not only live an exemplary life but to help others too. In death, she's absolutely famous. In life, I think she was well known but mostly successful.

That's my take.

Terresa said...

Madonna is Velveeta where Keller is the gouda, the real deal. There is no comparison in my eyes, except maybe the passion that pushed them to learn and excel in their own realms of influence.

Davin Malasarn said...

Madonna strikes me as someone who is in touch with herself and successful both inside and out. When she was younger, I think she did some things to grab people's attention--I wouldn't call that success. But, I do believe that what she is creating these days is a reflection of who she is inside, particularly her Ray of Light album that came out a few years ago. I think she's quite successful, and I admire her a great deal. Same with Helen Keller.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Sorry, Erma, but sometimes quotes are too simplistic. As evidenced by the comments made before me, there are many definitions of success and fame--and both those women achieved them in different ways.
Now if the question was which do I admire more, I would say Keller because she overcame adversity most of us can't comprehend, and that is the kind of success that is profound.

Michelle said...

I grew up loving Madonna - copying her dance moves buying all her albums so I used to the she was successful - well she is. But I then realised all the ugly side of her success - well what I percive as ugly.
As a kid I thought Helen Keller was quite amazing but she didn't grab my attention like Madonna - perceptions change. My view of true success (again my perception)is no long the ideal Madonna but more like the success Helen Keller brought to the world.
interesting point you've brought about discussing things.

Tabitha Bird said...

Success doesn't have to mean fame, and honestly I don't think fame equals success. There are some pretty sad famous people hey. So success to me involves peace and happiness. It also involves doing what you set out in your heart to do. Sometimes that goal changes, sometimes it must change. :) I guess my definition of success changes depending on wher eI am at in life. When I was a new Mom, success was just getting out of bed and feeding that baby AGAIN :)

Martin Willoughby said...

Success lasts for ever and brings a smile. Fame lasts for a short time and is then forgotten.

True success can only be measured by the passing of time. Fame is instant.

Jennifer Shirk said...

oooh, I DO agree. Success doesn't just mean money and fame.

Susan Fields said...

I totally agree - fame does not equal success. A lot of famous people are quite unhappy. I define success more by inner peace and joy, no matter what our circumstances might be.

Tess said...

LT: I like your take and point about how people are dimensional and can change over time. We need to remember - and allow - that.

Terresa: they do have that similarity of passion and I had never considered that. good insight.

Davin: It was your previous comment that really had me considering the possibility this quote may be too simplistic. While I agree that fame and success are really two different things, it may be too easy to lump one person all to one thing and not give consideration for the other aspects of their lives. For example, when you become a wildly famous author, I know you will still find success in kindness, love, peace, service.....

Tricia: your words are my thoughts ... Keller did have profound success in life. She may have had some fame after death, but she would never have sought it (imho). And, one does not preclude the other necessarily.

Michelle: thanks, I am enjoying this discussion SO much. Love to hear real opinions and get to know you a bit better. I grew up loving the fame of Madonna as well, though I don't think those early years are my personal definition of "life success" ... but there is something about allowing people to change and grow and find success of their own measure in their own lives that is important to think about. I like it.

TabithaBird: yes! I find success in holding my tongue when frustrated at my child, at extending love when someone has been unkind ... those small moments are success moments. Not fame, attention, money, profile. Still, this fantastic discussion makes me realize that Madonna may have those moments in her own life as well. It's been good to realize. thanks.

Martin: hmmm..I like the element of time that you bring to the table. Fame is fleeting and based on whims of opinion. Success is lasting and personal and like a slow buring fire. I hadn't really thought about that aspect. well said.

Jennifer: yes, exactly.

Susan: A great definiton, friend.

Scott said...

Isn't success, like beauty, in the eye of the beholder?

When first reading the quote, I knew Helen Keller was success and Madonna was fame. Instant reaction. But, by whose standards do we judge success and fame? Our own? Somebody elses?

Ah, therein lies the problem. The definition is dynamic, ever changing, and thus depends on the definer.

I mean, doesn't Helen Keller also have a certain amount of fame? Book? Play? Multiple movies? Tasteless jokes?

Is she a success because she perserved against overwhelming odds? Or, is she just merely a remarkable human who refused to let remarkable odds bring her down? Is that success? Perseverance?


Corey Schwartz said...

Oh, what an interesting quote Tess! Helen Keller was a brilliant choice for success, because I don't think you could find a person on the planet who would disagree with that one. It's solely with Madonna where the controversy lies. And I think that itself somewhat makes Bombeck's point.

DL Hammons said...

I believe that Madonna has let her fame eclipse her success, which is a shame.

Maybe a better exampe would be Jon & Kate. For me, that's a no-brainer.

Susan R. Mills said...

I think they are both famous and successful, just in two different ways.

Tina Lee said...

Corey, I think your right that the controversy is solely with Madonna. It is interesting to think how fame itself complicates success. Fame is yet another obstacle to success at the same time that it insures a certain kind of success(financial?). But I think many people have trouble continuing to produce under those kinds of circumstances.

Love it, Tess!

Paul Greci said...

I think sucess can be purely internal and personal but it doesn't have to be. Fame, on the other hand, is public.

Lady Glamis said...

Success cannot be measured by anyone but the individual themselves. Seriously. I think that quote is just demeaning.

Amy Allgeyer Cook said...

I think Erma's examples weren't the best. I also think a definition of 'success' is warranted. Being a success in life I equate to being happy (just my opinion). Success related to, say, Madonna could mean music. Sure she's famous, but is she *good* in the critical sense (i.e. successful musically? Or, do we say she's a success because she made lots of money in music? And by that token, is Britney Spears also a success?

Tess said...

Scott: the man of questions today. Good ones, though. Ones to think on.

Corey: you bring an interesting point .. and I agree to some extent. Why do we question the personal successes anyone might have? If I count success as having a tender and loving moment with my child, wouldn't that also apply to others .. regardless of who they are? See! All these new and good thoughts you guys are putting into my mind today. Love it!

DL: I'm not even going there!!!

Susan: Yes, two different ways that we can see from our limited vantage point.

TinaLee: You speak to me because I do long for measures of success in my life but really fear and avoid any 'fame'. I think fame can really muck up a person's joy.

Paul: you've said it well...fame is public and fleeting and based on other's opinions. Success is personal and long lasting and based on our own measuring stick.

Glam: really? you were that offended? I find that wonderfully interesting. Mostly because I like a good, heated discussion. I didn't find it offensive because I think it was written tongue in cheek and I think Erma was trying to point out a broader concept that fame and success are very, very different. It was likely written back in the 80's and it was meant to be humorous. Still, I don't agree with it and have learned quite a bit from this really great discussion.

Amy: I am sure Britt has had moments of success in her personal life .. only she can really judge. But, like has been said so well here, that fame thing comes in and skews our views of who these people really are. I'd hate to have the paparazzi let loose on me. They'd have wild and crazy pictures of things like me getting my mail at noon in my pj's or shoveling snow at 11:30pm (it's been known to happen). ;)

Dominique said...

I have to agree with a lot of the other posts that success is a relative thing. So, if your definition of success requires a certain degree of fame, they could be the same thing. But, I suppose, one could be famous without being successful. And there's always infamy, too.

Jackee said...

Success is too broad an interpretation. It's similar to what one views as happiness. To me happiness has a longer-lasting implication than some, who see it as an equivilent to having a good time.

I'm reminded in Erma's comparison to when Princess Diana and Mother Theresa died. I was disgusted how Mother Theresa got so little coverage to that of Di. But most poeple wanted to hear more about Di. Both because of how she lived, who she was, and how she died.

All that to say it's a matter of perspective!

Kelly said...

Both strong, famous, successful women. One happened to sleep with a lot more people. :)
Also, Madonna sought fame and Helen didn't.

Sharon Mayhew said...

Success is reaching your goals...Fame is more showy.

Suzette Saxton said...

I respect those who haven't taken off their clothes to achieve their success/fame. Go brain power!

Carolyn V. said...

I think it all comes down to attitude. How do they treat the people around them? Do they put themself up high to look down on others?

I would rather feel successful than be famous.

Robyn Campbell said...

Tess, fame is fleeting. Success on the other hand is not. I am successful no matter what. Because I know where I'm headed when I leave this life. Madonna is both to a certain degree. Though her fame and success comes at a price. The things she has done to get to where she is, is at best questionable. But it made her who she is. Same is true for a lot of other stars. Michael Jackson included.

Helen never knew she would become so famous. Her fame wasn't on her agenda. Madonna's definitely was. Nice discussion pal. ^_^

Jill Kemerer said...

I'm not a Madonna fan, but I'll give her props. Fame does not last twenty plus years without talent and ambition. I'd say Helen and Madonna are both successful--and both are famous. Hmm...

Tess said...

Dominique: infamy, hmm? you're so ambitious :D

Jackee: we both agree that success can be small measures of joy along the way - completely different than when we think of 'fame'. And, I too struggle with what our media considers newsworthy at times. Luckily, I don't believe it is a reflection of what most people think.

Kelly: love the giggle in the middle of this - thanks!

Sharon: I agree with you.

Suzette: ha! that is part of what brought Madonna 'fame', but I don't think it takes away from the success she may feel as a mother, person, philanthropist.. the everyday successes I take pride in myself.

CarolynV: the more I think on this today the more I realize, as you said, that fame is really something I'd like to avoid (not that it's comin' my way, but you know what I mean) while success is something I would strive to have...even in small measures.

Robyn: a very high price, indeed. too bad, really. that's our fault as a society, imho.

Jill: Madonna has been able to sustain her fame over a long period of time (relatively speaking) and she is certainly packed full of talent. No question there.

Amy Saia said...

Madonna had success with her fame in that she pretty much seems to be able to set her own standard as an artist. I do think they are two different things though. Success is reaching a personal goal and fame is standing out from the public in a memorable way. Okay, now I'm confusing myself.

It's just that words have millions of meanings that cannot be understood in the same way by all people.

Mary Campbell said...

Of course we think of Helen Keller as a success story. But is she not also famous. She is definitely someone to be admired in the way she overcame adversity, but I believe her fame will outlast any that Madonna has achieved. Believe it or not Keller, like Madonna was considered a bit controversial for her time. She was considered a radical by many. She was a political activist and a very outspoken member of the socialist/Marxist party. There's no doubting that she was a success, but I'm just trying to point out that she had her own brand of fame as well.

Suzyhayze said...

Both HAD to do what they did or they'd never have gotten so far. Madonna had a DRIVE to be successful, she persevered against and over all odds. She brought her music into night clubs and did what she had to do to get it played. She worked at it after many gave up.

Helen Keller too, worked HARD to learn to read and write and communicate and become the amazing teacher and writer and important role model that she was and still is.

It's about hard work. Whatever you do. Be the best at it. Don't give up. They both deserve a huge pat on the back for persistence.

Tess said...

Amy: that's exactly what I'm realizing - different words have different meanings to different people. It is subjective, you're right.

Mary: wow, I really love that point. It's something I hadn't considered but know to be true. both a bit on the edge for their time.

Suzyhayze: your comment really goes well with Mary's above. Both ladies pushed and worked - though in different ways. It isn't really the same to compare music to overcoming major disabilities (imho) - but one does not have to negate the other, I guess.

MG Higgins said...

I think fame comes from outside of us--the world tells us whether we're famous or not. While people may have an opinion abut whether we're successful, I think success can only be self-defined. If Madonna sincerely believes she's led a successful life--then she has.

Tiana Lei said...

I agree with a lot of the comments posted before me. Especially Suzette saying that with success you don't have to take off your clothes :) That made me smile. But I think that success and fame are entirely different, though sometimes they do coexist with the same individual.

Karen Amanda Hooper said...

I don't know. And now Lady Gaga is the "new Madonna." I wonder how Madonna fells about that.