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, July 10, 2009

Misc.: Julius Hoffman

The late Judge Julius Hoffman was the Chicago judge who allowed the antics of the group of defendants known as the Chicago Eight (Seven) and their lawyers to get to him on too personal a level.

Hoffman had been a judge since 1947, many years before the 1969 trial that gave him his temporary celebrity. Hoffman by that time was 74, and perhaps somewhat short of patience.

The group had been involved in protesting America's involvement in Vietnam, long before such protests had become "socially acceptable."

Most outspoken of the group was Bobby Seale, who hurled epithets at the judge and refused to be silent when ordered to do so. Contempt citations for disrupting the courtroom flew fast and furious, especially in Seale's direction. Finally, Judge Hoffman ordered Seale bound and gagged and tied to a courtroom chair. When not even that stopped Seale, Hoffman severed his case from that of the other defendants, making it the Chicago Seven. In the end, Hoffman gave Seale the longest contempt sentence ever given in a U.S. court.

In 1972, an appeals court reversed all contempt convictions issued during that infamous, wild and wooly case.

Hoffman died in 1983 at age 87.

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