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 15, 2009

Hero Pat Tillman

Lifetime high-achiever Pat Tillman died a hero, yet not exactly in a heroic way.

Tillman, 5'11" and 200 pounds, was of pretty nearly perfect physique, with granite features to match. He had been a football standout and honor student at Arizona State University and was playing safety for the Arizona Cardinals at the time of the 9/11 attacks.

Wanting to serve his country, he gave up a $3.6 football contract for the life of a $18,000 a year soldier. With his brother Kevin, a baseball standout, he enlisted in the Army and went through parachute school and Ranger training.

The brothers fought in Iraq, after which Pat was assigned to a unit in Afghanistan.

On a patrol in April 2004 near the Pakistani border, his unit ran into trouble. Exactly what happened is unclear, but Tillman and an Afghani soldier were killed and two other Rangers were wounded.

Tillman's appearance was such that he made the perfect "poster boy" for the Rangers. Army brass, or perhaps their civilian higher-ups, gave the media misleading information, saying that Tillman had been killed by enemy fire.

Later, it came to light that the official version had been a pack of lies, done for PR and/ or recruiting value. Instead, he had been killed accidentally by "friendly fire" from other U.S. troops.

Tillman was posthumously awarded the Silver Star and a Purple Heart and was promoted to Corporal from Specialist. Also, the Cardinals and Arizona State retired his jersey numbers.

No comments:

Post a Comment