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.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Victim JonBenet Ramsey

Six-year-old JonBenet Ramsey was a celebrity victim mainly because of her unsolved 1996 murder in Boulder, CO, and to a much lesser extent because she was one of those little girls shoved onto stage at a very early age to compete in child beauty pageants. At a time of life when kids should be allowed to be kids, some are tarted up and thrust before the cameras to sink or swim. Third, she became the victim of a truly titanic amount of lurid, tasteless tabloid coverage and speculation.

In December 1996, the Ramseys reported finding a ransom note in their home asking for the odd sum of $118,000 for the child's release. The amount matched a bonus that Mr. Ramsey had recently received. The writer of the note threatened to behead the girl if the Ramsey's went to the police.

Nevertheless, the couple reported the kidnapping, and the child's body soon was found in the family home's basement. She had been garroted to death and also struck on the head.

At first, the parents appeared to be the chief suspects. Then the DNA of an unknown man was found on JonBenet's body, which cleared the parents from suspicion.

As if the case could not get any stranger, in 2006, middle-aged former schoolteacher John Mark Karr, who was being held on child pornography charges, confessed to the Ramsey murder. DNA tests, however, indicated that he was not the killer.

It seems likely that the identity of JonBenet's murderer will never be known.

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