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, June 8, 2009

Sports/Outdoors: Roger Bannister

Note: Athletes and outdoorsmen provide convincing proof that a celebrity is not merely someone famous for being famous. To become a celebrity athlete, one must train extremely hard in order to stand out from the herd. Shown here is a sample of athletes and outdoorsmen whose celebrity is tied to one great or unusual accomplishment.

Such a man was Roger Bannister of England, the man who broke the 4-minute mile.

The slim, thoroughly English-looking Bannister was a student at Oxford University when he began training as a runner. His results at the 1952 Olympics brought him little recognition, but in May of 1954, at a track meet in Oxford, he became an instant international celebrity by running the mile in 3 minutes 59.4 seconds.

Less than two months later, Australian miler John Landy broke Bannister's record with a time of 3 minutes 58 seconds, but such is the nature of celebrity that Bannister, as the first person ever to break the long talked-about 4-minute barrier, has been far more celebrated than has Landy.

Bannister went on to become a neurologist and educator at Oxford.

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