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.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Hero James Meredith

An important though reluctant hero is James Meredith, who in 1962 became the first black student enrolled at the University of Mississippi.

Meredith came from a small town in Mississippi and was part Choctaw. Having spent nine years in the Air Force, he returned to his home state and two years later attempted to gain acceptance in that state's flagship university.

Meredith was physically prevented from doing so, inasmuch as the state's authorities chose to ignore a Supreme Court ruling. Federal marshals and National Guard troops were sent in, and a large-scale riot took place, leaving two people dead and 78 officers and troops injured. The integration of that university was successful, however, and Meredith graduated in 1963. Five years thereafter, he received his law degree at Columbia University.

Having already risked his life to attend college in the Deep South, he led a 1966 protest march from Memphis, TN, to Jackson, MS, and was shot, although he was patched up and completed the march.

After all this, it is ironic that Meredith became increasingly conservative and even worked on the staff of North Carolina's Senator Jesse Helms, a man not known for his liberal views on race. Even so, Meredith is regarded as a vrey brave man and one of the early heroes in the civil rights movement in America.

No comments:

Post a Comment