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, April 17, 2009

Hero Curtis Sliwa

As a young man, Polish-Italian American Curtis Sliwa worked as a night manager at a McDonald's in a rough section of the Bronx. Crime there was rampant, and Sliwa, who had gained some self-defense skills, took it upon himself to do something about it.

In 1979 he formed a 13-member patrol group that he dubbed The Magnificent 13. The group's name was soon changed to the Guardian Angels. The group's members patrolled the mean streets, unarmed, wearing a white t-shirt and red beret. Soon they became a familiar sight in New York City, especially after dark around the city's restaurants.

Sliwa, a born promoter, pulled numerous publicity stunts and fake heroics to gain recognition for the organization. Even so, the group gained not only recognition, but admiration. A few years later, Sliwa formed a Guardian Angels patrol in Buffalo, NY, as well. From there, the reach of the Angels has spread.

Now "chapters" of this organization, 5,000 members strong, are reportedly operating in around nine nations in major cities and small towns.

Sliwa was attacked twice by the New York Mob. In the second attack, thought to have been made in retaliation for Sliwa's comments critical of Mob boss John Gotti, Sliwa was shot three times but survived.

Both before and after this second attack, Sliwa was a New York City radio talk-show host. He is of conservative bent and also has served as guest host for fellow right-wing talk-show hosts such as Sean Hannity and Mark Levin.

A more recent offshoot of Sliwa's efforts are the CyberAngels, whose assignment is to patrol the Internet.

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