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 20, 2009

Hoaxer Joey Skaggs

Joey Skaggs is a man of varied accomplishment. He has taught for Manhattan's School of Visual Arts and is a painter and sculptor. His celebrity, however, rests solidly on his uncommon talent for pulling off hoaxes.

Skaggs' earliest fame as a hoax artist came with his 1976 Cathouse for Dogs hoax, in which he advertised a brothel for canines supposedly located in Manhattan. Many a credulous pet owner who wanted to help his dog get lucky was fooled, as was ABC News.

Among the Skaggs capers that followed were the Celebrity Sperm Bank hoax, also in 1976; the Gypsies Against Stereotypical Propaganda hoax (1982); the Fish Condo hoax (1983); the Fat Squad hoax (1986) in which tough guys would, for a large fee, forcibly prevent fat people from eating; and the Hair Today hoax (1990), involving the implanting of hair from dead people.

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