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, June 25, 2009

Whistleblower David Graham

Longtime Food and Drug Administration epidemiologist Dr. David Graham blew the whistle on his own agency in 2004 after becoming ever more convinced that the FDA had climbed into the pockets of the pharmaceutical industry.

He had been cautioned by his superiors that the way to advancement was not by finding fault with harmful, but highly profitable drugs. Already in his career he had taken part in having quite a number of such medicines jerked from the market.

Examples were Warner-Lambert's Rezulin, Wyeth's Fen-Phen and Redux, and Abbott Laboratories' Omniflox.

Things had gotten out of hand during the pro-business, anything-goes era of the George W. Bush administration, and Dr. Graham went so far as to suggest that in the present climate, the FDA was unable to protect Americans from the unfortunate side effects of various medical drugs.

The medicine that occasioned his whistle blowing was the pain medicine Vioxx, use of which had been associated with heart attacks and strokes.

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