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 Sibel Edmonds

Turkish-American FBI translator Sibel Edmonds blew the whistle on her agency in 2001 not long after the 9/11 attacks. She charged that the translation of foreign-language documents and messages had been deliberately slowed in order to make the language division appear overworked and understaffed in a bid to increase its funding. She contended that more competent, responsible management might have helped warn of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. She also said that some of her own translation work had been erased from her computer.

Edmonds, then 32, had also told her bosses about another translator who she thought might be a security risk.

As usual, the complainer was fired, but she testified to Congress and the Justice Department and gave her account to CBS correspondent Ed Bradley, as well.

Edmonds had lived in both Turkey and Iran before coming to America in 1988 as a college student studying criminal justice.

She was hired by the FBI for her ability to speak Turkish, Farsi and Azerbaijani.

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