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 30, 2009

Victim Emmett Till

The murder of 14-year-old Emmett Till of Chicago was one of those revolting, chilling Deep South stories of the pre-civil rights era. Till was brutally murdered by parties known yet never convicted in a small town in Mississippi.

Young Till was visiting relatives in Money, Miss. in 1955. With a few local African-American boys, he visited a local store to buy some candy. His companions dared him to speak to Carolyn Bryant, a young woman who, with her husband, owned the store.

Accounts differ about whether Till whistled at her to made some kind of flirtatious remark, but three days later, the woman's husband and another man kidnapped Till from his uncle's house, beat and shot him and weighted down his body, which they dumped into the Tallahatchie River--a river later publicized again in a song by one-hit wonder Bobbie Gentry.

Till's uncle identified the two white men who abducted Emmett, but the all-white jury predictably found the men not guilty.

Till's mutilated remains were taken back to Chicago for burial, and an open-casket service allowed some 50,000 people to see what had happened to the boy. Emmett Till's dreadful demise infuriated the black community and sickened most decent whites. His killing is regarded as one of the important precursors that motivated the drive for equal rights for all Americans.

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