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.: Joseph Heller

The late Joseph Heller was a one-hit novelist. This book, a fine satire of military life in World War II, is the darkly humorous Catch-22, which appeared in 1961.

Heller, a Brooklyn boy by birth and upbringing, had worked as an Air Force bombadier in World War II and had been a Fulbright scholar at Oxford, an English professor, an advertising copywriter, and a magazine writer prior to the appearance of his big novel.

Humor is a tough sell unless everyone knows a writer has a reputation as being funny. A great help to Heller and his book sales was favorable mention by the successful, urbane humorist S.J. Perelman.

In 1970, Mike Nichols brought out a movie version of Catch-22, which appears to have been one of the inspirations for the later TV series M.A.S.H., which shared the book's jaded view of military life.

None of Heller's other seven novels was remotely as popular as his first. Heller died of a heart attack in 1999.

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