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 Jim Jones

Disciples of Christ minister Jim Jones went slowly from Christian to crazy. He became one of those religious leaders who was truly spoiled by his success, finally going way, way off the deep end.

Jones rose to prominence in San Francisco, where his ministry and later his People's Temple did good works for the poor and the sick. His ministry welcomed people of all races, but it gradually became more nearly a cult.

Jones taught his followers that the world would soon end in nuclear war. After he was charged with soliciting sex from a Los Angeles policeman, Jones moved his flock, or at least some of it, to the jungles of Guyana, where they built a self-sustaining commune/ compound.

Complaints surfaced about the dictatorial way Jones was running his People's Temple there, and Congressman Leo Ryan went on a fact-finding trip to see what he could ascertain.

Jones' followers shot Ryan to death and, knowing the jig was up, Jones decreed a mass suicide ritual. The cult's members died by drinking cyanide-laced drinks, by cyanide injection and by shooting. In the end, in November 1978, 638 adults and 276 children perished.

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