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, October 7, 2009

Disgraced political figure Duke Cunningham

Randy "Duke" Cunningham represented California in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1991 until 2005, when he resigned due to multiple charges of misconduct.

Cunningham had a heroic career in the Navy prior to getting into the dirty business of politics. He was an ace fighter pilot in Vietnam and after that, a flight instructor of future Navy pilots.

As a congressman, he was no shrinking violet. He was an outspoken far-right Republican who showed little patience with "soft" Democrats. He was tough on crime--ironic, as it happens.

When charges against him began to surface, he initially admitted only to bad judgment. As evidence began to pile up, he eventually pled guilty to taking large bribes, tax fraud, wire fraud, mail fraud and conspiracy.

In 2006, Cunningham was given an 8-year prison sentence and was ordered to surrender $1.8 million. He should have listened to President John Kennedy when that leader said, "Ask not..."

The Copley News Service and the San Diego Union-Tribune won the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting for their work that dug up the dirt on Cunningham.

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