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, August 31, 2009

Disgraced media figure Jayson Blair

A personable young repoter on the fast track at the New York Times was Jayson Blair, who in 2003 was busted for fabricating and plagiarizing various kinds of information in his news stories.

The 27-year-old Blair had been an Affirmative Action hire, and opponents of such programs lost no time in making him a one-man argument to do away with preferential treatment in hiring and retention.

The venerable Times, which over the decades has made very strong efforts to fact-check its news and feature copy, suffered considerable embarrassment from the Blair affair.

An internal investigation found a surprisingly large number of instances of these transgressions, and two of Blair's bosses also parted company with the Times: Executive Editor Howell Raines and Managing Editor Gerald Boyd, who resigned under pressure a few weeks after Blair's departure.

In 2004, Blair told his side of these events in a book, blaming his troubles on drug problems in his early years and on depression. A year earlier, he had launched a company called Azure Entertainment in Centreville, Virginia.

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