Fifteen Minutes Of Fame Essay Topics


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At the heart of all feature stories is human interest. This lesson asks students to write a profile of a classmate, with a particular focus on a talent, interest, or passion of that classmate. As an introduction to the feature article, students compare the characteristics of a hard news story to those of a feature story. They then practice writing about the same event in the two different styles. Next, they list and freewrite about their own talents and interests. These topics then become the focus of a feature story as students randomly select topics noted by classmates and write interview questions based on them. Finally, students interview a classmate, write a feature story, and share it with the class. This lesson enables students to practice interviewing techniques, develop voice, learn to write for an audience, and perhaps most importantly, celebrate their individual strengths.

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Qualities of a Feature Story: This handout lists the main characteristics of a feature story.

Printing Press: Students can use this online tool to publish their writing as a newspaper, flyer, brochure, or booklet.

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This lesson plan taps two pedagogical beliefs-students work best in collaborative and supportive environments, and moving beyond the typical essay formats can help students grow as writers. In Go Public! Encouraging Student Writers to Publish, Susanne Rubenstein explains that the writing teacher: "must create a classroom environment that allows her students to see themselves and each other as writers, not students. In this classroom-turned-writing-community, the writers support and encourage each other, and, through their efforts, not only as fellow writers but also as readers and as editors, they work to strengthen both the quality of each other's work and the confidence of the writer. . . within this classroom-turned-writing-community, writers are engaged in work that has meaning outside of the classroom." (15)

This notion of collaborative growth in the writing classroom fits naturally with writing feature stories, which move beyond the typical personal essay format and give students the chance to share significant personal information with one another. Rubenstein explains, "Certainly there is nothing wrong with teaching students to write personal essays . . . . But as a form it is perhaps overused in middle and high school classrooms, and when students begin to see it as ‘the way one writes in school,' they adopt a writing voice that is academic and artificial and calculated to please the teacher alone" (43). To avoid this situation, Rubenstein invites students to "experiment with different genres to find their strong suit" (43). Feature stories provide just the right solution: "Through the writing and reading of each [feature] story, students come to learn a lot about each other in a very short time, and we are well on our way to becoming a community of writers" (44).

Further Reading

Rubenstein, Susanne. 1988. Go Public! Encouraging Student Writers to Publish. Urbana, IL: NCTE.

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15 minutes of fame is short-lived media publicity or celebrity of an individual or phenomenon. The expression was inspired by Andy Warhol's words "In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes", which appeared in the program for a 1968 exhibition of his work at the Moderna Museet in Stockholm, Sweden.[1] Photographer Nat Finkelstein claims credit for the expression, stating that he was photographing Warhol in 1966 for a proposed book. A crowd gathered trying to get into the pictures and Warhol supposedly remarked that everyone wants to be famous, to which Finkelstein replied, "Yeah, for about fifteen minutes, Andy."[2] The phenomenon is often used in reference to figures in the entertainment industry or other areas of popular culture, such as reality television and YouTube.

An older version of the same concept in English is the expression "nine days' wonder", which dates at least as far back as the Elizabethan era.


German art historian Benjamin H. D. Buchloh suggests that the core tenet of Warhol's aesthetic, being "the systematic invalidation of the hierarchies of representational functions and techniques" of art, corresponds directly to the belief that the "hierarchy of subjects worthy to be represented will someday be abolished," hence anybody, and therefore "everybody," can be famous once that hierarchy dissipates, "in the future," and by logical extension of that, "in the future, everybody will be famous," and not merely those individuals worthy of fame.[3]

On the other hand, wide proliferation of the adapted idiom "my fifteen minutes"[4][5][6][7] and its entrance into common parlance have led to a slightly different application, having to do with both the ephemerality of fame in the information age and, more recently, the democratization of media outlets brought about by the advent of the internet.[8] In this formulation, Warhol's quote has been taken to mean: "At the present, because there are so many channels by which an individual might attain fame, albeit not enduring fame, virtually anyone can become famous for a brief period of time."

There is a third and even more remote interpretation of the term, as used by an individual who has been legitimately famous or skirted celebrity for a brief period of time, that period of time being his or her "fifteen minutes."[9]

John Langer suggests that 15 minutes of fame is an enduring concept because it permits everyday activities to become "great effects."[10]Tabloid journalism and the paparazzi have accelerated this trend, turning what may have before been isolated coverage into continuing media coverage even after the initial reason for media interest has passed.[10]

Derivative phrases[edit]

In the song "I Can't Read", released by David Bowie's Tin Machine in their 1989 debut album and re-released by Bowie in 1997 for the soundtrack of the movie The Ice Storm, the phrase is used in direct reference to Andy Warhol: "Andy, where's my 15 minutes?" The age of reality television has seen the comment wryly updated as: "In the future, everyone will be obscure for 15 minutes."[11] The British artist Banksy has made a sculpture of a TV that has, written on its screen, "In the future, everyone will be anonymous for 15 minutes,"[12] which was later used in the lyrics of Robbie Williams' song "The Actor" from his 2006 album Rudebox.

A more recent adaptation of Warhol's quip, possibly prompted by the rise of online social networking, blogging, and internet celebrity, is the claim that "In the future, everyone will be famous to fifteen people" or, in some renditions, "On the Web, everyone will be famous to fifteen people".[13] This quote, though attributed to David Weinberger, was said[13] to have originated with the Scottish artist Momus.[14]

The Marilyn Manson song "I Don't Like the Drugs (But the Drugs Like Me)", released on his 1998 album Mechanical Animals, alludes to the term in the line "We're rehabbed and we're ready for our fifteen minutes of shame", as part of the song's theme of unrepentant escapism through drugs.

The group Queensrÿche uses the words "I guess Warhol wasn't wrong / Fame fifteen Minutes Long" in their 1988 anti-hero telltale album Operation: Mindcrime song as a way of showing the deterioration of society to reach its aim.

After experiencing a boom of recognition in the late 90s, the rock group Sugar Ray made an album entitled "14:59", jesting that their 15 minutes of fame was almost over.

See also[edit]


  1. ^Guinn and Perry, p. 4
  2. ^Guinn and Perry, pp. 364—65
  3. ^Buchloh, Benjamin H. D. (December 1, 2001). "Andy Warhol's One-Dimensional Art: 1956–1966". In Michelson, Annette. Andy Warhol. The MIT Press. p. 28. ISBN 978-0-262-63242-3. 
  4. ^Bragman, Howard (2005). Where's My Fifteen Minutes?: Get Your Company, Your Cause, or Yourself the Recognition You Deserve. Portfolio. ISBN 978-1-59184-236-1. 
  5. ^Stockler, Bruce (2004). I Sleep at Red Lights: A True Story of Life After Triplets. St. Martin's Griffin. p. 124. ISBN 978-0-312-31529-0. 
  6. ^Bryars, Betsy Cromer (1986). The Pinballs. Scholastic. p. 80. ISBN 978-0-590-40728-1. 
  7. ^Mamatas, Nick (2003). 3000 MPH In Every Direction At Once: Stories and Essays. Wildside Press. p. 24. ISBN 978-1-930997-31-8. 
  8. ^Frederick Levy, 15 Minutes of Fame: Becoming a Star in the YouTube Revolution, Penguin Group, 2008, ISBN 978-1-59257-765-1.
  9. ^Jason, Sybil (2005). My Fifteen Minutes: An Autobiography of a Child Star of the Golden Era of Hollywood. BearManor Media. ISBN 978-1-59393-023-3. 
  10. ^ abJohn Langer, Tabloid television: popular journalism and the "other news", Routledge, 1998, ISBN 978-0-415-06636-5, page 51, 63, 73
  11. ^Peltz, Jennifer (March 1, 2004). "Aiken and Clarkson show off Idol mettle". Retrieved May 27, 2008. 
  12. ^"DENNIS HOPPER ART COLLECTION AUCTION". October 19, 2010. Retrieved June 25, 2014. 
  13. ^ abWeinberger, David (July 23, 2005). "Famous to fifteen people". Archived from the original on December 14, 2006. Retrieved December 21, 2006. 
  14. ^Momus (1991). "POP STARS? NEIN DANKE! In the future everyone shall be famous for fifteen people..." Grimsby Fishmarket. Archived from the original on September 27, 2008. Retrieved October 7, 2008. 


  • Guinn, Jeff and Douglas Perry (2005). The Sixteenth Minute: Life In the Aftermath of Fame. New York, Jeremy F. Tarcher/Penguin (a member of The Penguin Group). ISBN 0739455427.
  • Patterson, Dale (2013). Fifteen Minutes of Fame: History's One-Hit Wonders. Red Deer Press. ISBN 9780889954816.

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