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, August 28, 2009

Disgraced media figure Jay Forman

Out-of-control youthful indiscretion might be the best way to view what happened to young writer Jay Forman, who more than likely was given more journalistic luggage than he could swim with.

Foreman was writing for Slate.com when, in 2001, he posted a highly colorful story titled, simply, "Monkeyfishing." This story got him fired from further work for Slate.

His first-person account told of an island, Lois Key,on which researchers had created a colony of rhesus monkeys, left there to breed for future use in research projects.

The story told of a boat trip to that island, where from the boat, "fishermen" used heavy tackle to cast fruit-baited hooks in the direction of the monkeys in order to hook them in the manner of hooking fish.

Young Mr. Forman expressed shock at the cruelty of the practice and no doubt assumed that animal-rights activists and other readers would feel likewise. The story was filled with convincing detail.

Respected Washington Post columnist Michael Kinsley, who is Slate's founding editor, began to question the story. Eventually, Forman admitted the the entire account was fabricated and that it contained a few other irregularities, as well. Thereupon, Forman and Slate parted company. There actually were monkeys on Lois Key, but they have been removed due to the embarrassment of the Forman affair.

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