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, October 8, 2009

Disgraced political figure Bull Connor

Perhaps Theophilus "Bull" Connor was merely a product of his times, but the man will go down in U.S. history as the very face of racial discrimination and repression as it was once practiced in the Deep South.

Connor, Alabama-born, won a seat in his state's legislature in 1934 and two years later became Birmingham's commissioner of police, a post he held for more than two decades.

Connor ran unsuccessfully for governor of his state in 1950 and got into trouble the following year for having a fling with his secretary. He was nearly impeached, but a state appeals court saved him from that fate. He also was said to be a member of the Ku Klux Klan.

Connor's lasting infamy, however, came in 1963 when he ordered fire hoses and police dogs loosed on protesters organized by Martin Luther King. The resulting TV footage revolted decent Americans and shamed our nation in front of the rest of the world. The irony is that that footage proved to be a turning point in race relations and in the attitudes of all but the most entrenched segregationists.

Connor died in 1973 after having suffered two strokes.

No comments:

Post a Comment