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 Katharine Gun

The name Katharine Gun enjoyed brief celebrity in America in 2003 when she passed top-secret material to the media that detailed the George W. Bush administration's dissembling prior to the occupation of Iraq.

Gun, who grew up in Taiwan, was working as a translator of Mandarin for GCHQ, the British equivalent of our National Security Agency.

Her hope was to derail plans for the invasion and occupation of Iraq. The straw that broke the camel's back was a classified NSA email she read that asked for her agency's help in bugging the UN offices of six nations. The goal of this operation was to influence those countries' votes on approval of the coming invasion.

Gun was fired and in 2003 was charged with violating Britain's Official Secrets Act. The case was dropped, however, presumably to avoid embarrassment over Britain's docile agreement with the Bush administration's war plans.

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