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, July 21, 2009

Disgraced religious figure Edgar Ray Killen

At age 38 in 1964, Edgar Ray Killen was charged with plotting the murders of three civil rights protesters in Mississippi--something Baptist preachers aren't supposed to do.

Killen, who also ran a sawmill, was a Ku Klux Klan kleagle (organizer)in his area of the state. He was fingered in the murder plot by an informant planted by the FBI. Mississippi being what it was in those days, his jury failed to reach a verdict, and the case died on the vine.

In 2005, despite our federal Constitution's guarantee of a "speedy and public trial," he was again brought to court for the same killings. By this time a far less frightening-looking geezer of 80, he pled not guilty. This time around, he was not so lucky, and the jury returned a guilty verdict on manslaughter charges. He was sentenced to 60 years; the sentence was upheld on appeal.

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