‘Glory is like a greasy pole … One after another, hopeful people clamber up, only to slither down in a disgusting mess, until one day all the grease has come off on other people’s clothes and some smug, undeserving contestant shins all the way to the top and takes all the credit’.
This seems fair.
It comes from page 116 of Graham Robb’s biography of Balzac, who, like most writers, was well-acquainted with the greasy pole, especially its lower end.
Robb attributes this insight to an anonymous biographer of Horace de Saint-Aubin. Since this was one of Balzac’s pseudonyms, I suspect that the anonymous biographer is Balzac himself.