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 Mark Felt

Perhaps the most anticipated and highly publicized whistleblower of modern times was Mark Felt, who after 30 years' silence finally revealed that he was the mysterious "Deep Throat," the news source who had fed information about the Watergate scandal to Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. This information was instrumental in bringing down the strange, corrupt presidential administration of Richard Nixon.

Felt obtained the two reporters' promise that they would not reveal his identity until his death. He met with Woodward on various nocturnal occasions in a Washington parking garage and passed tips or verified leads about a presidential administration that had become paranoid and out of control. The nickname Deep Throat had a double meaning. In part it came from the journalistic term "deep background," and also called to mind the well known porn movie Deep Throat.

In 2005, Felt revealed his secret identity via a Vanity Fair story written by John O'Connor.

The suave and worldly Felt had served for many years as second in command at the FBI. He was twice passed over to become the agency's director, which perhaps soured him toward authority. He had been with the agency since 1942, originally working under its founder, J.Edgar Hoover. Felt became deputy director in 1971.

Felt himself got into legal trouble in 1980 for his part in authorizing warrantless break-ins and wiretaps of members of the violent protest group called the Weather Underground. He was convicted at the trial level, but during his appeal, he was pardoned by President Ronald Reagan.

After being passed over as director for the second time, Felt retired in 1973. He died at age 95 in 2008.

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