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Fifteen minutes of fame

Fifteen minutes of fame is a phrase that was coined in the 1960s and is often quoted and referred to in modern times. We will examine the meaning of the phrase fifteen minutes of fame, some derivations of the term, who coined it, and some examples of its use in sentences.

Fifteen minutes of fame refers to the phenomenon of ordinary people becoming famous for a short period of time. The term seems to be even more appropriate now than when it was coined in 1968, with the advent of twenty-four-hour news and the internet. The idea was proposed in 1968 by Andy Warhol, at his first international exhibition at the Moderna Museet gallery in Stockholm, Sweden. In the exhibition catalogue, Warhol stated, “In the future everybody will be world famous for fifteen minutes.” The phrase is alluded to in statements such as he‘s had his fifteen minutes and I’m looking for my fifteen minutes. Fifteen minutes of fame has a rare etymological history, in that its origin may be pinpointed to a specific person and a particular point in time.

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Examples

In what became a viral sensation during a tense confirmation process, US Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos gave rural schools fifteen minutes of fame when she explained that guns could be useful “to protect [students] from potential grizzlies.” (The American Enterprise INstitute)

“In many respects we’re coming to the last seconds of central bankers’ fifteen minutes of fame which is a good thing,” Mr Carney told the Bank of England Inflation Report press conference, referencing Andy Warhol’s line about everyone in the world being famous for fifteen minutes in their lives in the future. (The Independent)

Although it seems my fifteen minutes ran out a while ago, from time to time I get stopped at the mall or at the gym here for photo ops with Bachelor fans. (The Colorado Springs Gazette)

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