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.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Hero Vivian Malone

One of the two first black students to brave hatred and mistreatment as students at the University of Alabama in the early 1960s was Mobile native Vivian Malone, now Vivian Malone Jones.

She and James Hood were successfully enrolled there in June 1963, following segregationist Gov. George Wallace's theatrical "stand" at the entrance to the university building where registration was being held. Wallace backed down in the face of overwhelming force in the persons of federalized National Guard troops.

Malone and Hood were made miserable by their classmates, although the university's administration did its best to protect their safety. Hood dropped out after a couple of months and enrolled elsewhere. Malone, however, stuck it out and in 1965, became that university's first black graduate, receiving a degree in business administration.

Hood returned to the campus many years later and in 1997, earned his doctorate in education.

Malone married a physician and worked for both the U.S. Justice Department and the Environmental Protection Agency. She died of a stroke in 2005 at age 63.

Many heroes are large and tough. She was a slender, pretty girl who dared to be a trailblazer.

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