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The Importance of Being Famous

Genre: Nonfiction; Author: Maureen Orth

Some of the profiles in this absorbing compendium are more than 10 years old and give off the faintly dated, musky Opium scent of ”Vanity Fair” in its mid-’90s wardrobe, where these pieces first appeared. But Orth, the magazine’s astute and briskly unbulls – -able correspondent, pulls her collection together with incisive updates on her subjects (Arianna Huffington, Michael Jackson, Vladimir Putin) and running commentary she labels ”Notes from the Celebrity-Industrial Complex.” In sensibly, wittily assessing her place in the story, and the story’s place in pop-cultural history, she creates an invaluable literary star map to the intersection of fame and infamy.

Originally posted May 14 2004 — 12:00 AM EDT

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