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.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Misc.: Whil Piavis

Shiver me timbers, matey, if Whil Piavis wasn't the most gnarly buccaneer ever to thumb his nose at student government as it is usually practiced.

So often student government office seekers are so mannerly, so blend-into-the-middle, so... well, political. But in 2005, Piavis campaigned for the student body presidency at North Carolina State University not under his actual name, but as "The Pirate Captain."

Not only that, but he spoke only in pirate lingo while running his campaign. He also dressed the part, wearing a wispy blond wig, three-cornered hat, and eye patch and with a fake parrot perched on one shoulder. His "motley crew" of supporters also dressed the part. Piavis won the election, receiving 59% of the vote.

Serious-minded policy wonks on the campus were not amused, and to spite them, Piavis continued to conduct the business of his high office in pirate language and costume, even when representing his fellow students at Board of Trustees meetings. Arrgh, mate! That engineering major from Cary, N.C.,was one swashbuckling student politician, and one of the very few noticed by the national media.

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