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 22, 2010

Notorious celebrity: Valerie Solanas

If you recall the name Valerie Solanas, it is probably because of her SCUM Manifesto or because she shot artist Andy Warhol.

Solanas had an extremely unhappy childhood and was set adrift by her family when she was only 15, yet she managed to get a college degree, ironically in psychology.

Dropping out of graduate school, she migrated from the University of Maryland to New York's Greenwich Village in 1966. In the following year, she asked Warhol to produce a play she had written. Instead, he lost the manuscript. She lay in wait for him at his studio called The Factory, and when he arrived, she shot him. She then shot Mario Amaya, an art critic, and her gun misfired when she took aim at Warhol's manager.

Warhol was badly but not fatally wounded. Solanas surrendered to police, pled guilty of attempted murder, and was given three years.

Solanas, a feminist of the most extreme sort, wrote the SCUM Manifesto, a general attack on men. The letters SCUM stood for "Society for Cutting Up Men."

Solanas, more to be pitied than despised, died in San Francisco of emphysema in 1988.

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