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, April 23, 2009

Hero Dave Karnes

One of those stalwart, quiet heroes who achieve temporary, and not very widespread celebrity is ex-Marine Dave Karnes. On September 11, 2004, when TV footage of the two planes flying into the World Trade Center towers was first being shown, most of us merely recolied in stunned disbelief and horror.

Karnes, an accountant in Wilton, CT, decided he had to do something to help. He immediately left his office, drove home and put on his old Marine fatigues, grabbed a flashlight, knife, canteen and some rope, and drove at high speed with the top down in his new Porsche to the scene of the tragedy.

The top was down so that police would see his uniform and allow him past the yellow tape. Arriving on the scene, he spotted another man in Marine garb, a Sgt. Thomas, and together they began trying to find a way to get at any survivors amongst the rubble.

Working in the most dangerous possible conditions, they finally heard a voice coming from somewhere beneath them. With the help of others, the two men helped save the lives of two Port Authority police, John McLoughlin and Will Jimeno, who had been trapped for hours.

Karnes, of course, was just one of many heroic figures that day. And in the manner of most true heroes, he shrugged off public recognitions, saying that he was just being a Marine. There's a lot to that.

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