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, March 23, 2009

Hoaxer Jack Moore

A harmless little hoax that made a stir in its own backyard took place in the town of Culpeper, Virigina, in 1984.

Jack Moore, sports editor of the Culpeper Star-Exponent, had already submitted his resignation two weeks before he ran a story about an enormous domed sports stadium that supposedly was about to be built in tiny Culpeper. Illustrating the story was a photo of the Houston Astrodome.

Despite the consideration that anyone who actually took this story at face value would have had to be an idiot,the owners of the paper, huffing with righteous executive indignation, fired Moore's boss, the paper's news editor who apparently had been in on the gag, and filed a misdemeanor complaint against Moore, which they later dropped-- presumably to keep from looking even sillier.

1 comment:

  1. What a great prank. This is before "The Onion" I'm talking about.

    The story was illustrated with the Astro-Dome cut-and-pasted over a picture of the Culpeper High School track. It was perfect.

    The story mentioned the acts that were scheduled to appear, including the Sex Pistols and Michael Jackson but noted the concern of town fathers that didn't want to limit the venue to "anarchists and hermaphrodites."

    He also wrote a tongue-in-cheek column that fateful day that quoted his fictitious friend Kwame Fabu "a professional hedonist and odds-maker" that the chance that Culpeper would ever build such a stadium were 1 in a 1,000,000 and the chance that he would stick around to see it were 1 in 1,000,000,000.

    For several weeks, we got stories on the state AP wire that the authorities were looking for Jack. They searched his apartment, couldn't find him. They questioned his friends, but Jack had vanished. Finally the commonwealth's attorney in Culpeper stated that no law had been broken so no charges were filed.