The Century We Put the Idiots on Pedestals

(Tero Vesalainen/Getty Images)
Social networks have managed to incentivize, and disseminate globally, stupidity once confined to a circle of friends — all in the name of ephemeral fame.

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE T ied to the rack, as the cogs turned and his bones began to slowly dislocate, he confessed. It had been he who had set fire to the temple of Artemis, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, so that his name would go down in history. His name was Herostratus, and he was the world’s first great example of ephemeral fame. Today, he would be a YouTuber.

He was executed. Valerius Maximus, responsible for conveying this story, remarked upon how “this passion for glory can reach the point of sacrilege.” In spite of everything, Herostratus took years to become

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