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, May 4, 2009

Victim Matthew Shepard

Matthew Shepard, a gay student at the University of Wyoming, was beaten to death by two gay-hating goobers in 1998.

The three men met in a bar, where Shepard apparently assumed that the other two were also gay.

The short, slight 21-year-old left with the two men, who drove him to a remote location outside Laramie, tied him to a Western-style rail fence, and gave him a savage beating. They left him there in frigid temperatures. Shepard died five days later.

Shepard, in a coma, was found there by a cyclist more than half a day later. The two men were arrested, and their girlfriends were charged as accessories after the fact.

The killers were sentenced to two consecutive life terms, without any chance of parole.

Public revulsion to this swinish crime was immense. In 2007, the Matthew Shepard Act addressing hate crimes against gays was introduced and made its way through Congress, only to be vetoed by President George W. Bush.

Another Republican added insult to fatal injury in April 2009, when North Carolina Representative Virginia Foxx, in a fit of reactionary right-wing nonsense, referred to the Shepard murder as a hoax. Oh, brother...

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