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 Roxana Saberi

Pretty Iranian-American journalist Roxana Saberi became a well known victim in February 2009 when she was arrested and jailed in Iran, where she had been working since 2003.

At first, authorities charged her with buying a bottle of wine, an act forbidden by that country's unofficial but very powerful "religion police."

Next she was charged with reporting without press credentials, and finally, she was accused of espionage and received an eight-year sentence. As this writing in May 2009, she remains imprisoned near Tehran.

Saberi, born in the USA to an Iranian-American father and a Japanese-American mother, grew up in North Dakota. She holds dual citizenship, in the U.S. and in Iran.

She won the title of Miss North Dakota in 1997, and she holds two master's degrees--one from Northwestern, the other from Cambridge University. She was at work on a third master's degree, in Iranian studies, when arrested.

Saberi came to Iran with Feature Story News, eventually losing her press accreditation. She was reinstated and worked for BBC until her credentials were again taken away, after which she was allowed to work on a book project and freelance for U.S. broadcast media.

In April 2009, she began a hunger strike to protest her innocence. A U.S. group calling itself "Free Roxana" has joined in the hunger strike, as have members of the group Reporters Without Borders in France.The U.S. government is hoping to get her released via diplomatic channels.

Possibly due to President Barack Obama's less militaristic tone with Iran, an Iranian appeals court reduced her sentence to two years, suspended, and rule she could go free provided she did not work in Iran for five years. She was released in May 2009.

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