The Comedy of Celebrated Men. Celebrated men who

The Comedy of Celebrated Men. Celebrated men who need their fame, as, for instance, all politicians, no longer select their associates and friends without fore-thought: from the one they want a portion of the splendour and reflection of his virtues; from the other they want the fear-inspiring power of certain dubious qualities in him, of which everybody is aware; from another they steal his reputation for idleness and basking in the sun, because it is advantageous for their own ends to be regarded temporarily as heedless and lazy: it conceals the fact that they lie in ambush; they now use the visionaries, now the experts, now the brooders, now the pedants in their neighbourhood, as their actual selves for the time; but very soon they do not need them any longer! And thus while their environment and outside die off continually, everything seems to crowd into this environment, and wants to become a “character” of it; they are like great cities in this respect. Their repute is continually in process of mutation, like their character, for their changing methods require this change, and they show and exhibit sometimes this and sometimes that actual or fictitious quality on the stage; their friends and associates, as we have said, belong to these stage properties. On the other hand, that which they aim at must remain so much the more steadfast, and burnished and resplendent in the distance, – and this also sometimes needs its comedy and its stage-play.

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