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.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Mass/serial killers: Seung-Hui Cho

The most deadly school shooting in America's history took place in April 2007 at this blogger's own university, Virginia Tech. Korean-born Seung-Hui Cho, who had lived in the United States since age 8, became completely deranged, fatally shooting 32 students and faculty and wounding 25 more.

Cho's deadly rampage began early in the morning in a campus dormitory, where he killed two fellow students. His movements after that time are still a mystery, but at about 9 a.m., he visited the downtown Blacksburg post office and mailed a packet of video footage and written ravings to NBC. Then the senior English major returned to campus, where he chained and locked the doors of a classroom/office building and began shooting.

Cho for years had suffered from anxiety and depression. He was extremely uncommunicative and kept to himself. Some of his writings show that he harbored extreme anger against society in general and especially against students he considered lazy and over-privileged.

By the time police were able to enter the classroom building, Cho had killed 30 more people. Rather than be captured, he killed himself with one shot to the head.

The handguns Cho chose for his spree killings were a Glock 19 and a Walther P22. The number of shots he got off was reported to be 170.

The Cho shootings were something no one could really have predicted or expected in a place that is normally so safe and peaceful.

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