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, December 9, 2009

Mass/serial killers: Efren Saldivar

California respiratory therapist Efren Saldivar killed somewhere between 50 and 120 patients who already were near death from 1988 to 1998.

Saldivar was born in Texas. After completing his education, he took a job on the night shift at a California medical center, where the killings by injection took place.

His motives for these killings remains unclear. Perhaps he wished to help people in distress die rather than suffer further. Perhaps not.

He confessed to 50 such killings, then recanted. Twenty of his alleged victims were exhumed, and abnormal levels of a morphine-like drug were found. He pled guilty to six counts of murder in 2002 and is not serving two life terms without a chance for parole.

Even if he actually did kill 150 people, he was still far behind a Brit, Dr. Harold Shipman, alias Dr. Death, who is thought to have killed as many as 508 victims in a similar manner between 1975 and 1998.

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