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.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Notorious celebrity: Sara Jane Olson

Blog readers who recall the Symbionese Liberation Army of the 1970s might also remember Kathleen Soliah, now Sara Jane Olson.

Soliah was one of the SLA members who fought against "the system" with pipe bombs and a 1975 bank robbery that left one bystander dead.

Soliah was born in Minnesota but went to college in California. There she fell in with people who took protest to an extreme level. She was charged in 1976 for pipe bombing police cars but fled, remaining at large for 23 years.

After a 1999 episode of the TV show America's Most Wanted, she was recognized and police were alerted. She was arrested, and in 2001, she pled guilty to possession of explosives with intent to murder. While at large, she had married a physician and had legally changed her name.

In 2002, she was sentenced to two ten-year to life terms, but that sentence was later reduced to 14 years.

She pled guilty to her part in the bank robbery murder in 2002 and got six years. A judge reduced her sentence, but on appeal in 2007, her full sentence was reinstated.

Due to a clerical error, Olson was released from prison in 2008, but when the mistake was discovered, she had to return. She was released again in 2009.

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