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, September 2, 2009

Disgraced business figure James McDougal

One of Bill and Hillary Clinton's closest business associates, Jim McDougal, died in prison at age 57 in 1998.

McDougal and his wife Susan partnered with the Clintons in the infamous Whitewater land deal while Bill Clinton was governor of Arkansas. At that time, McDougal owned and ran the Madison Guaranty Savings & Loan, from which he took funds to cover losses suffered in the development planned to be built in the Ozarks.

McDougal, a big supporter of the Clintons in politics, used the Rose Law Firm, in which Hillary was a partner, as his legal counsel when charged in 1984 with fraud. McDougal also got into fraud trouble over another development project, Castle Grande, near Little Rock.

McDougal was convicted on 18 felony counts and faced a sentence that would have imprisoned him for many decades, but at that time he began cooperating with Kenneth Starr's investigation of Whitewater and managed to have his sentence cut to three years. McDougal's wife Susan would not cooperate and spent 18 months in prison for contempt. She also received a two-year sentence for bank fraud.

The flamboyant Jim McDougal suffered a heart attack and died about a year before his scheduled release. Before he died, he published a book containing allegations about payoffs to the Clintons and an unfulfilled promise of a presidential pardon for Susan.

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