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.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Whistleblower Ed Bricker

Note: The whistleblower, a person who reveals wrongdoing in business, government or elsewhere, usually has temporary celebrity of a very fleeting time. A few such people, however, extend their celebrity somewhat by joining the speaker's circuit. Once in a while, a whistleblower comes out of the initial period of turmoil well, but too often these individuals are viewed as snitches, traitors and troublemakers. All to often their lives are made very difficult, their careers ruined. Many are threatened with violence, and occasionally, one is even killed.

Ed Bricker is an example of the person who blew the whistle about unsafe practices in plants that deal in radioactive materials. In the mid 1980s, he began complaining to his bosses about radiation leaks, unsafe storage tanks and worn out equipment at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation near Seattle. The plant was an old one, which had been closed in the 1970s, then re-opened in 1983 during the Reagan administration. The material involved was plutonium.

Getting no satisfaction from management, Bricker contacted government investigators in 1986, and in the following year did interviews with newspapers and television. He also continued complaining to his bosses.

As so frequently happens when employees are not meek "team players," Bricker was harassed, required to see a psychologist, and given harsh performance reviews. On one occasion,he reported that someone tampered with his safety equipment, as well, which could have been fatal for him.

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