In one of my ‘unbusied hours’ I read an article. It was about Blob, the fish. It was about the trappings of fame. ( Blob: The Ugliest Animal in the World by Joy Sorman and Olivier Tallec) It was about Blob’s unrelenting quest to win the world’s premier ugliness pageant.
Blob is unbeautiful because of his unshapely flesh. Every year Blob participates in the contest for the world’s ugliest animal. Every year so far, Blob has lost. The first time he was upstaged by a frog. The second time, he was beaten by a parakeet. The third time, a Sea Pig won gold. Blob was unhappy that he was unfairly not recognized for his true worth. In one of the contests a member of the jury even called him “more darling and adorable than ugly and repulsive.” He felt ‘horrifying’ and ‘shameful’ because of the recognition that he was not looking for. Blob was a creature of contradictions — full of determination yet easily given to dejection, a living fable of ego and insecurity, easy to fault but also easy to love. Finally, due to his fierce determination, Blob wins the pageant; he beats a Monkey, a Rat, a Bat. He is crowned the “Ugliest Animal in the World.” He is greeted with thunderous applause and expensive gifts. In no time he becomes a global celebrity. He becomes a spokesperson of ugly animals. He has a large fan following. Famous designers dress him. The Queen invites him to tea. Soon all of this attention begins to spoil Blob — he begins to make outrageous demands and throws legendary tantrums. At the same time he is becoming aware that his fame is fleeting. Next year there will be another winner. He will no longer be a celebrity. He doesn’t know, having lost the essence of his self in his ephemeral public persona, how he will face life. A different kind of realization dawns on Blog - privilege is bestowed largely by chance and little of actual substance separates the most fortunate from the least fortunate. Blob sinks into a deep depression. One day his reign comes to an end. He is uncrowned. He heads home. No one recognizes him. Blob’s ugliness remains his own even without the worlds prized distinction. He realizes the trappings of fame.