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, May 14, 2009

Victim Kitty Genovese

The nation reacted with shock and disgust at the circumstances that surrounded the 1964 murder of Catherine "Kitty" Genovese in the Queens section of New York City.

Working girl Genovese, 28, was returning home to her apartment building at 3 a.m. from her job as manager of a bar. She parked about 100 feet from the building and was assaulted and stabbed before she could get to the door. She screamed, windows opened, and lights went on.

The assailant fled, then returned when the lights went back out, stabbing her again. This grisly process was repeated for a third and final time, but this time he stabbed her to death and raped her.

Such awful things happen with dingdong regularity, sad to say, but what made the Genovese murder stand out was that of the 40 people who heard her cries for help, no one bothered to call police even though the poor girl kept screaming.

When police came and questioned neighbors, the general reaction was that they just didn't want to get involved. This craven combination of fear and apathy came to be known as the Genovese Syndrome.

Afer six days, authorities arrested 29-year-old married father of two Winston Moseley, who admitted to the crime, plus two earlier murders of young women.

Americans and others reflected on what they themselves would have done had they been there.

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