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.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Femme fatale Monica Lewinsky

Far the biggest sex scandal of recent times involved 22-year-old White House intern Monica Lewisnky and the sitting ( perhaps "standing" would be more accurate here) president of the United States, Bill Clinton.

The year the ill-advised relationship appears to have begun was 1995, and this relationship, which apparently involved oral sex only, lasted into early 1997. After rumors turned into news stories, the president was impeached by the House of Representatives (in 1998), but he was found not guilty of perjury and obsruction of justice that same year by a forgiving Senate.

Bill Clinton was not known as "Slick Willie" for nothing. His "unusual intern policy" was excused with the rationalization that his personal life had nothing to do, really, with his job performance. Women especially were willing to look the other way because his general policies were favorable to women as a whole, even if his personal shortcomings were harmful to Miss Lewinsky and the other young women with whom he earlier had dallied.

The affair came out into the open after Lewinsky, dispatched to work at the Pentagon, made the mistake of confiding in her work-mate Linda Tripp, who recorded phone conversations and spilled the beans.

By Lewinsky's account, her trysts with Clinton were nine in number. Nevertheless, wronged wife Hillary stood grimly by her bad-boy husband, absurdly trying to deflect the blame to the media and a "vast right-wing conspiracy."

The president at first lied through his teeth about having sex with Lewinsky. Later, when DNA tests confirmed his guilty pleasures, he defined his way out, arguing about the meaning of the word "sex." Given his earlier misadventures with Gennifer Flowers and Paula Jones, his wriggling free of trouble yet again gave cynical onlookers the suspicion that probably he could rape a bus load of nuns in the middle of Pennsylvania Avenue in full view of press and public and still get away with it somehow. Truly he is a man who has a steel-trap mind, but who lacks the zipper to match it.

After the scandal died down, Lewinsky dropped out of sight for a while, then resurfaced as a designer and seller of women's handbags. She had a brief fling at reality TV hosting in 2003 with the show Mr. Personality, and in 2006, earned a master's in social psychology from the London School of Economics. An account of her experiences can be found in the book Monica's Story.

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