Morast: Putting Marilyn Hagerty’s fame in perspectiveA week ago I had no idea who Marilyn Hagerty was. You didn’t either.
A week ago I had no idea who Marilyn Hagerty was. You didn’t either.
That changed after the Grand Forks woman became an Internet superstar because she wrote a rave review of an Olive Garden restaurant.
Now she’s a meme.
She’s also become one of North Dakota’s biggest celebrities.
How famous? Let me put her celebrity in some perspective. And, to clarify, I’m basing these assessments on the spectrum of fame inside online culture – which, as far as I’m concerned, is a much more legit arbiter of celebrity than anything else right now.
• At this specific moment in time, Hagerty is the second most famous Marilyn in American history.
Ms. Monroe still holds the top spot. And I have Hagerty ahead of Mr. Manson, but that could change if there’s a school shooting or something that out-of-touch politicians can blame on Marilyn Manson’s “dark art.”
• Hagerty is North Dakota’s most viral citizen ever.
To my knowledge, no one in North Dakota has ever created as much digitized excitement as Hagerty has. Not even close. The only thing that could ruin her reign would be if Josh Duhamel revealed he was an alien cyborg who snuck into the White House and impregnated Michelle Obama. That would destroy the Internet.
• Hagerty is the most famous living North Dakotan.
Seriously. Who has more buzz right now than our state’s chief food critic?
Model/inspiration Tweeter CariDee English hasn’t been Googled as much since the Internet’s dawning age. And, at this very moment, I think Hagerty has a higher Q rating than Duhamel.
Her only competition in this category is basketball zen master Phil Jackson, whose name is being mentioned as the next coach of the suddenly coach-less New York Knicks. This can’t be a coincidence.
So, yeah, Hagerty’s famous. But, as far as I can tell, no one’s exactly sure why. My take: Hagerty has become an online version of Andy Rooney. The old lady is nostalgic but not dismissive. She’s no-nonsense and honest. She has an oddly compelling personality. She really doesn’t care what you think of her. And we can’t get enough of her.
At least for now. The true measure of her fame will be if we still care about Hagerty in August. I hope we do.
Readers can reach Forum Features Editor Robert Morast at (701) 241-5518 or firstname.lastname@example.org