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 28, 2009

Spies/traitors: John Anthony Walker

A remarkably active Cold War spy for the Soviets was John Anthony Walker, a Navy warrant officer.

Walker, sometimes with the help of his son, Michael and other accomplices is said to have aided the Soviets in translating upwards of 200,000 encrypted messages, beginning in 1967 when the elder Walker was working aboard a U.S. nuclear submarine.

Two sad aspects of this saga were that Walker had been allowed to join the military rather than serve time for burglary--not the very best way to recruit-- and that no one suspected him of selling documents to a foreign power until his own ex-wife ratted him out when he would not pay her alimony.

Son Michael got out of prison in 2000, but Walker and the other members of his spy ring all received life sentences.

No comments:

Post a Comment