The Opera Singer is Never Famous in their Own Hometown

I wish I could remember where I read that. Or if it was just a saying someone told me. But I do know that this:

The Opera Singer is Never Famous in their Own Hometown

is true. The familiarity factor makes people assume you are of lesser value. For the opera singer the solution is simple – go spend a year studying in Rome. Then you are the "Italian trained opera singer" and not from wherever you are really from. Unless of course your Italian in which case you have to go someplace else, but I digress.

And it isn’t just my opinion. For example best selling author Tess Gerritsen, someone far more prominent that little old business me, comments on the hometown not famous phenomenon in Maine on her blog.


A few months ago, I was delighted to be invited to be one of the two commencement speakers for the University of Maine graduation ceremony in Orono this May.

only to have a student write a letter to the editor including the following comment.

When the University of Maine announced the commencement speakers, the names Tess Gerritsen … fell on somewhat disappointed ears. Students may not be aware that Tess Gerritsen is a local mystery author

Surely we all realize calling a person of such accomplishments a "local mystery writer" is an injustice. But yet we all think this way.

While I have personal Houston based anecdotes, it wouldn’t exactly help me to blog them. Humans are so funny sometimes. Apparently even Faulkner wasn’t famous in his hometown. Go figure. Does anyone have a name for this phenomenon from psychology? I am very curious.