THAT EX­PLAINS IT

The Washington Times Weekly - - Politics -

In jour­nal­is­tic pa­tois, the saga of White House party crash­ers Tareq and Michaele Salahi is “the gift that keeps on giv­ing” — a ripe story that pro­vides end­less fod­der for re­portage and fancy anal­y­sis, without a whole lot of ef­fort. The only thing that would make it more in­ter­est­ing would be if Elvis, UFOs or Mon­ica Lewin­sky were some­how in­volved. Or maybe Bo Obama.

On av­er­age, about 6,000 Salahi-themed sto­ries have ap­peared daily since the cou­ple sashayed past White House se­cu­rity late last month, ac­cord­ing to a Google search. And what a tra­jec­tory: The ac­counts have cov­ered pol­i­tics, me­dia, na­tional se­cu­rity, clan­des­tine agen­cies, bu­reau­cratic foibles, debt, ly­ing, so­cial climb­ing, eti­quette, pop­u­lar cul­ture, friv­o­lous so­ci­ety, fash­ion and pub­lic opin­ion. A few ini­tial sur­veys re­veal that roughly three-fourths of Amer­i­cans say the Salahis “en­dan­gered” Pres­i­dent Obama and should face prose­cu­tion.

But there’s al­ways more. Why’d they do it?

“A sur­pris­ingly large num­ber of peo­ple — about 2 per­cent of the adult pop­u­la­tion — seek fame as an end in it­self. For th­ese peo­ple, fame is the defin­ing el­e­ment of their lives and, once in place, it is vir­tu­ally im­pos­si­ble to elim­i­nate,” says hu­man be­hav­ioral an­a­lyst Orville Gil­bert Brim, au­thor of “Look at Me: The Fame Mo­tive From Child­hood to Death.”

For all the im­por­tance at­tached to celebrity in Amer­i­can so­ci­ety, it has been ig­nored as a pri­mary hu­man mo­ti­va­tor, he says.

“A per­son driven by the fame mo­tive will go to re­mark­able lengths to achieve it. Their mo­tive is not power or wealth, it is fame it­self,” Mr. Brim adds.

And maybe a cool half-mil­lion for, say, “Real World: The White House Crasher Edi­tion.”

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