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, February 3, 2010

Notorious celebrity: Mehmet Ali Agca

Note: Many individuals gain their temporary or one-shot celebrity by way of the good things they do, but others, by their misdeeds. Under the heading "Notorious celebrity" will appear a miscellany of miscreants. Then will follow other more specific categories of wrongdoers who have captured the media's and hence the public's attention: mass/serial killers, other murderers, spies/traitors, disgraced political figures, disgraced business figures, disgraced media figures, and disgraced religious figures. And what a fascinating rouge's gallery they are!

Most of the notorious temporary celebrities that come to be known to U.S. audiences are either born and bred in the American brierpatch, or else live in the United States. An exception is Mehmet Ali Agca, the young Turkish man who in 1981 tried to shoot and kill Pope John Paul II in Rome's St. Peter's Square.

Ali Agca had a rough youth, was a member of a street gang, and was trained in terrorist activities by a far-right Turkish faction called the Grey Wolves. At the age of 21, he shot and killed a liberal newspaper editor in Istanbul.

Ali Agca got a life sentence but escaped prison.

In 1981, he made his attempt on the Pope's life, succeeding in wounding the pontiff in the abdomen and one arm. Ali Agca told more than one story about who hired him to shoot the Pope--Bulgarians, the Soviet KGB, the Turkish mob, and even Freemasons-- and was given a new life term.

AT one point, Ali Agca claimed to be the second coming of Christ. Before his death in 2005, the Pope met with his attempted assassin and pardoned him. The Pope also claimed that the assassination attempt was tied in with the mysterious three secrets of Fatima.

In 2000, Italian president Carlo Ciampi pardoned Ali Agca, but he was returned to Turkey to serve out his sentence for killing the editor. Italy's Supreme Court overruled Ciampi's pardon.

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