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 5, 2009

Homme fatale Clyde Tolson

Seldom has there been such a buzz of gossip about any prominent person's love life as that which circulated for decades about FBI director-for-life J. Edgar Hoover and his life's companion, Clyde Tolson.

Hoover began his government service in 1919 as an assistant to then-attorney general Alexander Palmer. This was the time of America's great Red Scare, and Hoover's work centered around deporting suspected Communists. He compiled a large database of charges against Americans on the political left and in 1921 became assistant director of the FBI, rising to director in 1924--a post he held until his 1972 death.

Hoover had no women in his life, and rumors circulated early on about his sexuality. Tolson, who, like Hoover, had a George Washington University law degree, joined the agency in 1927 and after a short tenure as its chief clerk, was promoted to assistant director. Tolson and Hoover were inseparable companions from that time on.

It is claimed that the Mafia had photos of Hoover in drag, which were used to minimize agency interference with organized crime. For his part, Hoover is said to have had "dirt" on virtually every important political figure at the national level, which he used to remain in office throughout many presidential administrations.

Tolson suffered a stroke in 1964. Waiving normal policy about fitness and age, Hoover kept Tolson in office. Upon Hoover's death, Tolson spend about one day as director, until President Richard Nixon appointed L. Patrick Gray to take over. At that point, Tolson retired, to be replaced by Mark Felt, who, ironically, later came out as "Deep Throat," Woodward and Bernstein's secret source in uncovering the Watergate scandal that ended Nixon's presidency.

Hoover, whose reputation among trusting Americans was one of no-nonsense incorruptability, apparently was a cross-dresser in his spare time, but like Hoover hismelf, those dresses remained in the closet during his powerful, influence-abusing lifetime.

No comments:

Post a Comment