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 Stephen Glass

In 1998, young star writer Stephen Glass was fired by The New Republic magazine for having fabricated facts, quotes and sources for stories. Despite this huge setback, Glass has managed to begin a new career and appears headed for success in it.

The Chicago native first came to the nation's attention while editing the student newspaper at Pennsylvania University during a time of especially touchy race relations. A group of African American students had confiscated most copies of one issue of that paper due to a story they disliked. The school's administration caved in to political correctness, and the only person to get into trouble for the incident was a hapless security guard who had tried to stop the removal of some copies of the paper.

Glass' troubles at The New Republic began in 1998 with a story he had written about a money-hungry 15-year-old computer hacker. As do so many stories that get journalistic writers into ethical trouble, this one depended on the use of anonymous sources. The story also contained what the magazine concluded were invented quotations.

Nothing if not versatile, Glass did stand-up comedy for a short while, published a book based on his firing, saw a movie made about his story, and finished at Georgetown Law School.

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