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.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Hero Richard Phillips

A very lucky hero is Captain Richard Phillips, 53, freed from Somali pirates in April 2009.

He is lucky because his story might very well have turned out less well, and he surely is heroic in that he offered himself as hostage to save his 19-man crew on board the container ship Maersk Alabama, which had been boarded by four Somali pirates.

Earlier in his adulthood, Phillips was a cabbie in Boston. Then he attended and in 1979 graduated from the Massachusetts Maritime Academy.

Capt. Pillips was held hostage by three of the pirates in a small craft secured by a line to the USS Bainbridge, which had come to the rescue. (One of the pirates had surrendered by this time.) At one point during his long ordeal, Phillips jumped from the 28-foot lifeboat and tried to swim to safety, but was re-captured.

Negotiations were making little headway, and three Navy SEAL snipers aboard thee Bainbridge fired simultaneously after they observed a pirate aiming his AK-47 at the Captain's back. All three pirates were killed. The Maersk Alabama then continued its voyage to Kenya.

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