Have you noticed famous people live concentric, insular, lives that restrict their ability to relate to real people or to find footing in the common dreams of Jedermann? Yet, somehow, the famous believe they represent us all from their suffocating cocoon of Yes People and manufactured adoration. The famous spin in circles within circles with no direction or grounding.
My training presses me back into the lesson of the Henrik Ibsen’s dramatic poem masterpiece — “Peer Gynt,” written in 1867 — where the peeling back of the layers of an onion reveals nothing of substance in the middle once the concentric cores are ripped away:
No Kaiser are you ; you are nought but an onion.
I’m going to peel you now, my good Peer !
You won’t escape either by begging or howling.
[Takes an onion and strips of one coat
There lies the outermost layer, all torn ;
That’s the shipwrecked man on the jolly-boat’s
Here’s the passenger layer, scanty and thin ; —
And yet in its taste there’s a tang of Peer Gynt.
Next underneath is the gold-digger ego ;
The juice is all gone — if it ever had any.
This coarse-grained layer with the hardened skfti
Is the peltry hunter by Hudson’s Bay.
The next one looks like a crown ; — oh, thanks!
We’ll throw it away without more ado.
Here’s the archaeologist, short but sturdy ,
And here is the Prophet, juicy and fresh.
He stinks, as the Scripture has it, of lies,
Enough to bring the water to an honest man’s
This layer that rolls itself softly together
Is the gentleman, living in ease and good cheer.
The next one seems sick. There are black streaks
upon it ; —
Black symbolises both parsons and niggers.
[Pulls off” several layers at once.]
What an enormous number of swathings!
Is not the kernel soon coming to light ?
[Pulls the whole onion to pieces.]
I’m blest if it is ! To the innermost centre,
It’s nothing but swathings — each smaller and
Nature is witty !
[Throws the fragments away.]
The devil take brooding !
How does one even become the natural core of an onion without disintegrating before the enrapturing?
Why is so much value social value and economic contentment provided to the famous?
Do we admire the famous because of holes in our everyday lives and their fame fills the niches of us yearning to be acknowledged and fulfilled?
When fame dissolves, what is left behind? Nothingness? Or a burned out used-to-be?