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, May 12, 2010

Blogger's note

Get set, blog visitors. What you'll see here is an offbeat informational blog, created and produced to supplement one type of celebrity described in the 2010 book "Star Struck: An Encyclopedia of Celebrity Culture," published by ABC-CLIO and edited by myself, Sam Riley.

The idea behind the blog was to point out a variety of categories of temporary and one-shot celebrities who have provided an enormous quantity of "fodder" for our material-hungry news and entertainment media.

Much attention has been paid to the major luminaries of our celebrity culture, people who need no introduction to anyone who hasn't been living on some other planet.

This blog, which consists of a bit more than 600 posts, is geared to celebrities with a lower-case c, so to speak. The contents of each category represents a sample, not a census of individuals who fit into that category.

Some categories are larger than others. Sadly, there are far, far more miscreants than heroes who gain temporary celebrity. Also, some categories enjoy far more public attention than do others. For example, media consumers show vastly more interest in actors, actresses and singers than in, say, inventors or whistle-blowers.

The 21 categories that follow are arranged in no particular order other than to switch back and forth between entertainment and news figures.

The first category of temporary celebrity as you scroll through this blog, which was created during 2009 and 2010, are 83 individuals whose claim to celebrity came about via having had one iconic TV role.

Next come several types of miscreants, whose celebrity is of the notorious kind. Included are 26 miscellaneous miscreants, 36 mass or serial killers, 23 other murderers of note, 8 spies or traitors, 28 disgraced political figures, 15 disgraced business figures, 12 disgraced media figures, and 16 disgraced religious figures.

After the above appear 46 individuals who didn't fit neatly into one of the 20 specific categories. Those are followed by 13 reality TV figures, 19 whistle-blowers, 33 inventors/innovators, and 16 sports/outdoor figures.

Victims of various kinds make up rather a large category (54), and heroes a more modest 31. One-time movie icons number 26, hoaxers 20, advertising icons 26, femmes and hommes fatale 24, and one-hit recording wonders 54.

Each of these interesting individuals was accorded a brief write-up and, where possible, a video clip or photograph.

By way of a quick sample, a recent sensation on TV's "American Idol" was a middle-aged man who performed an unusual rap number poking fun at a style of dress favored by hip hop fans: pants worn very low in the back.

Larry Platt, usually referred to as General Larry Platt, was a minor figure in the Atlanta, Georgia, civil rights scene many years ago. He became an overnight sensation in 2010 when he performed a snappy rap called "Pants of the Ground." He looked a bit stiff when he dropped to the floor for a bit of break dancing, but, hey, what could you ask of a man of 62?


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