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, November 5, 2009

Murderers: Dan White

Homophobic Dan White, ex-city supervisor in San Francisco, shot and killed that city's mayor, George Moscone, and supervisor Harvey Milk in 1978.

Milk was one of the very first U.S. politicians to come out openly as gay. White, a young man having a mop of dark hair and a cleft chin, entered City Hall through a basement window and shot first the mayor, then Milk.

White's defense team argued that depression had caused their client to eat an unaccustomed amount of junk food, which, they reasoned, helped cause his violent actions.

The term "the Twinkie defense" was much discussed but didn't work but so well for White, who was found guilty of manslaughter and was sentenced to five years.

San Francisco's gay community was outraged by the light sentence and protested violently in what came to be known as the White Night Riots.

White was paroled after five years and then returned to San Francisco. He committed suicide in 1985 by carbon monoxide asphyxiation in his estranged wife's garage.

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