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 Walker Lindh

"The American Taliban" is the nickname affixed to then 20-year-old U.S. citizen John Walker Lindh, who was captured in 2001 by Afghan forces.

Lindh, who had a bullet wound on one thigh, was questioned by the C.I.A. and admitted that he had received training at an Al-Qaeda camp in Afghanistan and at another location in Pakistan.

As a teen, Lindh had converted to Islam, traveled to the Middle East, learned Arabic and studied the Koran. He began dressing the part and took the name Sulayman. He returned to America but at age 19, returned to Yemen and received his military training.

Lindh was indicted in 2002 for supporting terrorist forces and attempting to kill U.S. forces. He pled not guilty to firing on Americans but guilty to aiding the Taliban.

Young Mr. Lindh was given 20 years without parole. His parents attempted to have President George W. Bush grant their son a pardon, but Mr. Bush refused.

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