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.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Hoaxer David Bodney

Lawyer/journalist/professor David Bodney perpetrated a 1992 hoax that caused several hundred people to descend on an Arizona shopping mall bent on finding gold.

No, not the gold items sold in jewelry stores, but in a vein of gold that Bodney, then editor of a free newspaper, the New Times, reported having been found beneath the floor of the Galleria mall in Scottsdale. The hoax story said that illegal alien worker Sergio Alonzo had struck gold while repairing floor tiles there.

To lend credence to what sounds like a transparently fraudulent tale, the newspaper account added that the mall was on federal land and that the mall owners did not hold mineral rights. The Bureau of Mines had supposedly set up a registry in the mall where gold miners could file claim stakes. The story included a photo of someone posing as Alonzo happily holding in his palm a large gold nugget.

As implausible as it sounds, many hopefuls were taken in by the hoax.

Bodney said he did it to alert people not to believe everything they see in print. He has since been managing partner of a Phoenix law firm and an adnjuct professor of journalism at Arizona State University.

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