Writing about the loss of status in the transition from settled communities to post-industrial transient sprawl, Thomas Fleming says:
Living in a village of a few hundred, everyone can expect to be something – the best poet, the best cook, the worst liar, the laziest worker. In a country of three hundred million strangers, no one can be anything, unless his picture is on the cover of People. This partly explains the importance of celebrity in modern society. More than money, more than power, more even than sex, celebrity is the ticket, so we imagine, to becoming a real human being. The rest of us are so many ants in a global hive, and at best we can hope to be somebody in the tiny niche of the local Rotary Club or a society of comic-book collectors.