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.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Victim Joseph Scarpino

Joseph Scarpino gained a very uncomfortable kind of temporary celebrity in July 2004 when he was badly beaten in an Akron, Ohio, pizza restaurant. The beating was caught on videotape.

Scarpino was standing in line at the counter of DaVinci's Pizza in the wee hours. A woman came into the restaurant and walked to the front of the line. Scarpino said something, she loudly berated him, and the manager asked her to leave.

She left, but returned momentarily with her boyfriend in tow. He was 6'4"" and weighed more than 300 lbs. Asked by the woman to "take care of" this blankety-blank, the boyfriend, Mark Jones, gave Scarpino a furious beating, which resulted in a concussion. The nation watched the undeserved beating over and over on various television programs.

Scarpino was white, his assailant and the woman, black. The attack caused white supremacist groups to lash out with pent-up racist fury. In the end, Jones was convicted of felonious assault in 2005 and received a four-year sentence.

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