It has long been a staple of fandom: that scrawl of ink across a piece of paper that announces to the world that you met, er… what’s his name. You know, he was in that thing with that girl you like.
I never ask for autographs. I would certainly never pay for one. There is no one on the planet who enthralls me so much that I would spend hours standing in line, only to shell out fifty dollars or more, just for the privilege of having them sign their name. And that may not even include the DVD or book or whatever.
Now don’t get me wrong. Many, if not most celebrities are willing to give you their time for free, assuming you are not a creepy stalker who is trying to get a blood sample so you can clone them. And if you can find a bunch of suckers who will hand over cash just to meet you – well, it’s nice work if you can get it. All I’m saying is I don’t want to have any part of it.
The last time I did ask for an autograph, it was from an indie band that I went to see play at a local club. I bought the CD from the merchant table (because the band gets the biggest cut that way) and, as they were right there and other people were asking, I got them to autograph it. Not long afterward, the band broke up and was never heard from again. So, although I know it’s silly and impossible, I always associate my asking for autographs with ending careers. It is my curse. (Maybe I should test this theory with Justin Beiber.) That album is still one of my favorites though. (Not the Beiber, the other one.)
In truth, it is one of those silly traditions that I wish people would just stop. Like handshaking, Christmas trees, and blowing out candles on your birthday cake when you are more than ten years old. (Mmm…spit.) It was fine when it was limited to major sports stars signing the game-winning ball, or an author scribbling a personal note at a book signing, but this generation has turned autographs into an industry, with fraud that rivals the art world. The reason is simple – money. A famous person’s doodle can net you cold hard cash. The Internet has only accelerated the trend, connecting collectors and dealers all around the world.
People have collected signatures for centuries, but it was not until recently that it gained the kind of fervour usually reserved for saints and boy bands. Documents traded in the past were as much for their historical significance and the content of the correspondence as for the name that accompanied them. Now anything can have your John Hancock scrawled on it, from butts to…um, you wouldn’t believe me if I told you.
Isn’t it enough to meet someone you admire. I prefer the modern tradition of taking a picture with a celebrity. It shows you met them, it’s harder to fake than a signature, and it’s intimately personal. Now that almost everyone carries a camera around with them at all times, can we put the cap back on the Sharpie?
if when I am rich and famous, I will sign your breasts, but only if you promise to get the tattoo.
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- Autograph Information, Photos Added to Free, Online PSA CollectibleFacts (prweb.com)