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.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Notorious celebrity: John Hinckley, Jr.

John Hinckley, Jr. is the mentally unstable man who, in 1981, tried to shoot and kill President Ronald Reagan.

Hinckley came from a wealthy, well-connected family in the oil business. Young Hinckley had no desire to follow his father's footsteps and instead migrated to Hollywood to seek his fortune in the music business. He had little luck in that effort but developed an unhealthy fixation on child actress Jodie Foster, who had played an underage prostitute in the 1976 film "Taxi Driver." That movie involved a plot to assassinate the president.

The deranged young man decided that he would get Foster's attention by killing then-president Jimmy Carter. When that didn't work out, he targeted Carter's successor in office, Ronald Reagan.

This time he very nearly succeeded. One of the bullets he fired missed the president but ricocheted off the presidential limo and hit Reagan in the chest. Another hit Reagan's press secretary, James Brady, leaving him partially but permanently paralyzed. He also managed to wound a police officer and a Secret Service agent.

At his trial, Hinckley was found not guilty by reason of insanity. He resurfaces in the news from time to time in regard to the length of supervised visits he is allowed with his parents.

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