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 Lenny Skutnik

A truly brave man of action is Lenny Skutnik, who was on his way home from his office job in the Congressional Budget Office in Washington when he stopped at the site of a plane that had just gone down in the icy Potomac River.

Air Florida Flight 90 went down in January 1982 just after takeoff, and people were bobbing about in the ice-clogged water. Some passengers and crew had been rescued by helicopter, but one, 22-year-old flight attendant Priscilla Tirado, was too numb to hold onto the line dropped by a rescue chopper.

Without regard for his own safety, Skutnik left the gaping crowd, removed his shoes and overcoa, and dived into the river after her, succeeding in bringing her back to shore.

As is the case with many real heroes, Skutnik downplayed his brave act, saying it was purely instinctive. And like most modest people who choose not to promote themselves, he has entirely disappeared from public view, receding into the privacy he apparently prefers.

A man like that should never have to buy his own drinks.

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