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, January 13, 2010

Mass/serial killers: Charles Cullen

A prolific healthcare "angel of mercy" serial killer was male nurse Charles Cullen, who between 1988 and his arrest in 2003, used drug overdoses to kill 40-45 patients.

Cullen's reported motive was, in his mind, at least, humanitarian. He said he was putting the terminally ill out of their misery. He also said the killings gave him a sense of power.

Cullen's life was marked by depression, many suicide attempts, and general unhappiness. His "mercy killings" were done in 10-16 hospitals in New Jersey and Pennsylvania as he moved from one job to another.

Cullen pled guilty in order to avoid the death penalty. He was sentenced to 127 years.

At that, Cullen was a piker compared to a British doctor, Harold Shipman, who put 218 of his patients to death.

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