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.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Disgraced media figure Jack Kelley

An unfortunate story of talent gone to waste is that of USA Today reporter Jack Kelley, who had to resign in 2004 over charges of plagiarism and fabrication, most of which he denied.

Kelley was hired by USA Today right out of college and began writing his striking news accounts in 1986. He established himself as a star reporter, a good writer who didn't mind putting himself into danger, often in foreign lands, to get a good story.

In 2002 he was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in the beat reporting category, but just thereafter his colleagues and superiors began to suspect that on some occasions he had played fast and loose with the truth. In 2003, he was accused of such in an anonymous letter, and an internal investigation began.

Some of his troubles stemmed from his use of anonymous sources, and proof was finally produced that he had misled his newspaper by arranging for a Russian speaker to impersonate a Serbian in order to verify an interview story he had done.

The talented but perhaps overly ambitious Kelley resigned in 2004 amidst still other charges of fabrication and plagiarism.

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