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.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Notorious celebrity: Santos Cardona

This blogger feels a trifle mean for including Santos Cardona in this section of the blog because Cardona was killed while on military duty in Afghanistan in 2009. Still, the events that brought him his 15 seconds of fame were not at all admirable even though he was no doubt acting under orders.

Sgt. Cardona was one of the U.S. Army MPs shown on videotape torturing prisoners at Abu Ghraib Prison in Iraq during 2003 and 2004.

Specifically, Cardona was a dog handler and was shown having his dog menace and bite various prisoners. In 2006, a military court found him guilty of dereliction of duty and demoted him to specialist, fined him, and gave him 90 days at hard labor.

Some Americans, safe at home but still frightened, applauded his actions. Others pointed out that by mistreating or torturing prisoners, we lower ourselves to the level of our enemy. Still others were convinced that the enlisted men and women shown in the Abu Ghraib videos seen on television around the world were simply the fall guys or scapegoats for their superiors, who had approved such measures. Some said the orders from the top had come from the White House and from the CIA.

Cardona served his time and returned to active duty. He was reinstated as a sergeant and was sent to Kuwait, ironically to train Iraqi police. Embarrassed, the Army announced that he would be returned stateside for a different assignment.

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