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.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Misc.: Farris Hassan

A most unusual young man is Farris Hassan, who, while a junior at a Florida prep school, took off alone to the war-torn Middle East.

In 2005, over his Christmas break, he flew to Kuwait, then to Lebanon, and from there to Baghdad. His reported purpose was to see for himself what was happening in that part of the world. His parents were Iraqi.

The boy was picked up in Baghdad by the 101st Airborne and put on a plane for the States.

Early stories about young Mr. Hassan and his excellent adventure reported that he was traveling alone and that his parents did not know about his sudden trip. Later reports disputed both those points. Apparently, his father had been in on the trip and had arranged for secutiry for the boy.

The trip was, nevertheless, gutsy and dangerous, and it captured the public's imagination for a time.

Since then, Farris has set up a charity to send supplies and funds to Iraqi schools and to foster understanding between various religious grops.

He made a similar, but less publicized trip to Afghanistan in 2007. As of 2009, he is enrolled at Amherst College.

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