Miraculum novem dies
RANGE: From your secret daydreams through your fondest ambitions, all the way to the top of the glittering heap and back down to dim, grim obscurity, the Phantasma Glory manages careers. And although she specializes in such of the exacting, exhausting performing arts as havingyour-picture-taken, she has also made superstars out of economic advisors, greengrocers, diet doctors, and self-absorbed, vainglorious, shallow, and ambitious ladies and gentlemen from all walks of life. She is everywhere, flashing like a strobe.
HABITS: As even a William Morris agent knows, the actual manufacture and exploitation of a celebrity is easy. The difficult part is motivating an ordinary citizen to undergo the simple but excruciatingly painful and boring process. That’s where Phantasma Glory comes in. In conspiracy with her fellow media-elves, The Hounds of News and The Mind Boggles, Phantasma Glory lures the starlets out of the corn fields, the expert commentators out of the ivory towers, the pop singers off the street corners, the fat kids onto the ledges— all into the blinding, brainless, and alltoo-brief blaze of the spotlight. Answering her casting call, cowboys run to Hollywood, morons in the stands take their shirts off for the cameras, dancers study voice, poets give readings, and the cowboys leave Hollywood for Washington. But unlike the crowds of fans, the business managers and the interviewers, the Phantasma Glory does not desert the formerly famous. Take a look at that punched-out contender, that burnt-out disco queen, that guy sitting in the ruins of his barrel at the foot of the falls. Still smiling, aren’t they? Because the Phantasma Glory still hovers near them, singing softly, “Fame . . . you’re gonna live forever …”
HISTORY: The Phantasma Glory is a direct New World descendant of the Rhine Maidens, the Nymphs of that German river who guarded a fabulous hidden treasure and lured many a hero to his doom. (Richard Wagner, an egomaniacal, perfect example of fame-addiction, wrote an opera about them.) They betray their Rhine Maiden origins by two of their favorite Siren calls: “Take the plunge,” they whisper, and “Go for the gold.” In the United States, they have done some of their best work urging folks to give everything they’ve got for a shot at the Vice-Presidential nomination.
SPOTTER’S TIPS: Look for the Phantasma Glory in places frequented by her victims: open casting calls, cable tv studios, passing through the Guinness Book Of Records, thumping guitars in the park, attending film school, or sitting alone in their rooms, practicing their autographs. The Phantasma Glory beckons you to the Coast. If you’re on the Coast already, to the Other Coast.