The Perils of Youthful Fame (Tiger Woods Edition)

Bill Simmons on Tiger Woods and the effects of fame during one's formative years:

Did we underestimate the effects of fame in his formative years on Tiger? Become famous at an early age and invariably you "mature" into someone who can't remember anything other than being famous. Most (if not all) of your interactions are with people who are impressed by you or want something from you. You don't have to win anyone over. You don't have to work on being a better person, or funnier, or nicer, or anything. You don't want to make new friends because you can't tell if any prospective friends want to be friends because you're who you are, so you end up gravitating toward other famous people, most of whom are just as messed up as you. You can get away with almost any indiscretion and be forgiven. Your only responsibility is to stay yourself, but you became this twisted, self-aware version of you without even knowing it. And that's when the trouble starts.

Right. One problem with youthful fame in general is that it makes you risk averse at a time in life when you are supposed to be taking risks. Child stars who stumble in adulthood may do so because they did not acquire life lessons usually obtained in conventional youth, when the cost of failure is low and thus benefits of experimentation (of all sorts) are high.


Robin Hanson once asked Tyler Cowen whether increased influence and fame through his blog has made him less interesting and weird. Robin thinks it has. Here's Clive Thompson's piece in Wired about the Age of the Micro-Celebrity: fame dynamics are at work even on a very small scale.

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