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.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Whistleblower Sherron Watkins

Sherron Watkins, who was vice president of corporate development at the late, unlamented Enron Corporation in Houston, became a sort of indirect whistleblower when in 2001 she presented CEO Kenneth Lay with a long, detailed email that cast doubt on the corporation's future viability.

Her fears were entirely justified. The failure of Enron became the first wave of savings destroying, career ending practices that by 2008 had nearly crippled the American economy. Revelations about Enron's shady practices foretold many another example of laissez-faire capitalism run amok.

Watkins, 42 when she wrote the famous email, left Enron in 2002. It is ironic that her email to Lay had warned him about colleagues who might become whistleblowers when she herself is usually identified as the whistleblower who helped bring the company crashing down. The confident, brashly outspoken Watkins has enjoyed a good career since 2002 as a well paid speaker and consultant.

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