About this Blog

"In the future everybody will be world-famous for 15 minutes." So said the bleached-out, late lamented artist Andy Warhol. Having lived and worked in New York City, Warhol came to fully grasp the hold celebrity has on us. In this very famous sentence, he meant to point out that in a culture fixated on fame, many people will suddenly flash brightly onto the public screen, then--poof--will just as quickly disappear from public view--like shooting stars. Other individuals derive their celebrity from one stellar accomplishment (one hit song, one iconic role, etc.) that they never again match.

This blog is devoted to the one part of our celebrity culture that no one has written much about: temporary/one-shot celebrities.

The pace of modern life has quickened, and now we hear people speaking of someone's 15 seconds of fame. These "celebrities with a lower-case c" who will appear in this blog sometimes come to us from the world of entertainment, sometimes from the world of news. All are fascinating.

The need of our communications media for a continual stream of new material assures that we will have no end of colorful people who go quickly, where celebrity is concerned, from zero to hero (or villain) and back to zero. Now you see 'em, now you don't. What a crazy world, eh?

Temporary celebrities coming from the world of entertainment include one-hit recording artists; TV and movie icons who, although they might have had a great many accomplishments in their career, are remembered for one big role; standouts of reality TV; sports figures remembered for one remarkable accomplishment; and people whose celebrity came from one big role in a commercial or print ad.

News-based temporary celebrities come in many forms: mass/serial killers, other murderers of special note, sex-crime offenders, disgraced figures of government/military/business/media/religion, spies/traitors, hoaxers, femmes/hommes fatale, heroes, whistle blowers, inventors/innovators, and victims.

Celebrity Blogsburg will consider each category in turn.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Femme fatale Jessica Hahn

Big-hair 1980s girl Jessica Hahn has faded into the private obscurity that most of us enjoy, but for a while her name was on every tongue. One-time church secretary Hahn was the comely lass who figured prominently in the undoing of TV evangelist Jim Bakker in the mid-1980s.

Bakker and wife Tammy Faye had begun their rise to prominence as ordinary evangelists. In the mid-1960s, they took it to a new level by working for Pat Robertson's 700 Club at that enterprising instrument of the Lord's Christian Broadcasting Network in Tidewater Virginia. The Bakkers next hosted their own program, the Jim and Tammy Show, after which they moved to California and started another new show called Praise the Lord. They then returned to the East Coast and abbreviated their program name to the PTL Club.

Critics, and there were many, opined that PTL must stand for "Pass the Loot" due to the shameless hustling done on-air by the smarmy couple. The devout, the simple-minded and the elderly hoping to make advance reservations in Heaven poured forth their bounty. With these "love gifts," the Bakkers did what any thoughtful minister would do: they opened their own theme park, Heritage USA, in Fort Mill, S.C. By selling "partnerships" (meaning hotel rooms), they bilked the faithful out of a very great deal of money, some of which they applied to their favorite worthy cause: themselves.

Alert reporters at the nearby Charlotte Observer began investigating the Bakkers, and Atlanta humor columnist Lewis Grizzard, mincing no words, called Jim Bakker a weasel.

One of the items uncovered by the press was a hush-money payment made over to Jessica Hahn, who admitted to having slept--on one occasion--with both Bakker and another evangelical preacher. She claimed that she had been drugged and raped by the two lusty clerics. Bakker eventually admitted to the sex but denied that it was rape.

Bakker had to resign from running Heritage and was replaced by the Rev. Jerry Falwell. Instead of closing preacherly ranks with Bakker, however, Falwell denounced him every way from Sunday.

Eventually, Bakker was convicted of mail fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy and was sentenced to 45 years. Our court system being what it is where well-to-do white-collar miscreants are concerned, he actually ended up serving roughly five years. Tammy Faye divorced him. Now free and remarried, Jim Bakker is back at the business of salvation in a well-chosen spot--Branson, Mo.

Hahn went with what she had to work with, which of course means she posed nude for Playboy. She has made sporadic appearances in the media, notably on The Howard Stern radio show.


  1. How could she possibly resist the opportunity to do a classy Playboy spread?

  2. Well, how could she resist the opportunity to do a classy spread in Playboy?