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 Ruby Bridges

People should not be called upon to be heroes at the tender age of 6, but that is exactly what happened in the case of Ruby Bridges, an African-American child living in New Orleans.

The year was 1960, and the event was the integration of that city's public schools.

The wheels of progress were set in motion in 1956 when Skelly Wright, a federal district court judge, ordered the racial integration of the city's public schools. In 1960, after the appeals process had been exhausted, the plan called for the first grade to lead the way in gradual grade by grade school integration.

A tiny, alight girl with a big smile, Ruby led the way at Frantz Elementary School, accompanied to and from school by large, determined-looking federal marshals. Parents pulled their children out of school, and for a time, Ruby was a class of one, taught by a sympathetic teacher, a Mrs. Henry, who had come from Boston.

Finally, two white children returned to the class. More followed.

The image of Ruby's courage in the face of hate-filled opposition was frozen in time by painter Norman Rockwell in a canvas he titled "The Problem We All Live With."

In adult life, Ruby worked as a travel agent. She lent her name to an educational foundation and was the subject of both a book and a movie. She and Mrs. Henry eventually met again--on the Oprah Show.

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