Can fame coexist with obscurity?
A trip to China leads to consideration of the difference between Yao Ming famous and Julia Allison ‘famous’
I started thinking about the pastry-like layers of fame when I visited China few weeks ago and saw basketball player Yao Ming’s face on the side of every barn in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, which is a couple of thousand miles from Beijing. Ming may be the most famous man alive, it occurred to me. And he doesn’t even play basketball any more. The second most famous man in the world may well be the Williams-and-Berklee College educated Taiwanese pop star Leehom Wang. In Asia, Wang’s face is inescapable, as he has at various times endorsed McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Lay’s potato chips, and other nutritious delicacies in the world’s most populated continent.