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, January 7, 2010

Mass/serial killers: Charles Manson

The scariest product of America's strange flower-child culture of the 1960s was the grubby but charismatic Charles Manson, who was found guilty of masterminding the 1969 murders of seven people in an attempt to spark a race war in the United States.

Manson had the bizarre notion that the race war he wanted to occur had been prophesied by the Beatles in some of their songs (most notably "Helter Skelter") as well as by the Bible's Book of Revelation.

The wild-eyed Manson had found it easy to recruit drug-addled young people and to establish Rasputin-like control of them, hinting to them that he was a reincarnation of Jesus Christ. By that time he had already spent a good many years in prison for lesser offenses: assault, car theft, stealing pimping, credit card fraud and the like.

Sprung from prison in 1967, he began to recruit followers and moved his "family" to a remote, deserted ranch in California's San Fernando Valley.

From that base of operations Manson ordered three of his followers to execute the people then staying at the home of starlet Sharon Tate, who was at that time married to filmmaker Roman Polanski. Killed alongside the beautiful starlet were hairstylist-to-the-stars Jay Sebring, coffee heiress Abigail Folger and Folger's gentleman friend Wojciech Frykowski.

The following night Manson and three of his "family" murdered businessman Leno LaBianca and his wife Rosemary. Another murder had been that of a music teacher, Gary Hinman.

Manson was found guilty and was given the death sentence. That sentence was reduced to life in prison when California dropped capital punishment. As of early 2010, Manson remains in prison, where he is likely to remain.

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