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 24, 2009

Hero Yuri Gagarin

Despite being one of our Cold War foes, Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin was widely admired for his courage in the United States.

The handsome, smiling Gagarin in April 1962 became the first human to travel into outer space. (Some claim that the Soviets had sent someone up earlier, but that the mission or missions ended in disaster.)

Gagarin had trained at a technical school and had learned to fly before joining the Russian military. He flew MIG fighters prior to competing to be the first man in space.

His small size, 5'2", helped him win this risky honor, inasmuch as the cockpit in the spacecraft was also very small.

The Soviets' feat not only impressed Americans in general, but it lit a fire under the U.S. space prgram as well. The town where Gagarin had been born was re-named in his honor, and he became an international hero/ celebrity of the first order.

Life thereafter was not easy for him, however. He developed drinking and marital problems that very likely stemmed from his instant, overwhelming celebrity.

In 1968, Gagarin was killed when the MIG in which he was flying on a training flight crashed.

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