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 6, 2010

Mass/serial killers: Dennis Rader

Sexual sadist/serial killer Dennis Rader of Wichita, KS, claimed 10 victims before his capture in 2005.

American television audiences were horrified by Rader when he described his crimes in tones that sounded self-satisfied and completely calm about what he had done.

His killings ranged from 1974 to 1991. His usual mode op operation was to stalk a woman, gain entry to her home on some pretense, bind her, torture her and finally kill her.

Rader enjoyed sending letters to the press about his sexual fantasy-fueled killings, and he was dubbed the BTK Killer (bind/torture/kill).

In many ways he seemed like an unlikely serial killer. He had served in the Air Force, had a college degree (ironically, in Criminal Justice), had held responsible jobs, had been active in his church and the Cub Scouts, and seemed perfectly normal to many who knew him.

Rader was found guilty and was given 10 consecutive life terms, inasmuch as at that time, Kansas did not recognize the death penalty.

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