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 27, 2009

Hero Tom Burnett

Tom Burnett Jr. was just one of several heroes who on September 11, 2001, did their best to prevent terrorists who had taken over United Airlines Flight 93 from succeeding in their mission to crash the plane into a densely populated facility.

Burnett, ever a high achiever, was head of a California firm that sold medical devices. After the plane had been hijacked, Burnett was able to make four cellphone calls to his wife, and he knew about the attacks earlier that day on the World Trade Center towers.

He and a few other passengers made a desperate attempt to jump the hijackers. Although the plane went down, Burnett and the others were able to divert the plane from its intended target. Instead, it crashed in a farm field, killing all aboard. Burnett was 38.

Two other men who also took part in this heroic attempt to save Flight 93 were Todd Beamer, 32, of New Jersey, and Mark Bingham, 31, of San Francisco.

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