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Posted at 10:30 AM ET, 09/04/2007

Comment Box: Larry Craig -- Celebrity?


Arlington, Va.: So, has Larry Craig gone from minor celebrity (sitting Senator) to being notorious (bathroom cruiser)? And what is the dividing line? -- Submitted via last week's Celebritology Live chat

In other words, when does a name (one that might be recognizable to, say, those who follow Idaho politics or the NRA) cross the molecular barrier into infamy? Because, if I understand your question, you do appreciate the difference between a bona fide celebrity and someone of Craig's stature, whose name -- whose entire existence -- will forever serve as a sort of shorthand for a bouquet of salacious circumstances which, combined, give him the approximate celebrity quotient afforded to Monica Lewinsky's blue Gap dress.

Which is to say that Larry Craig, at least in these rarified halls where we presume to make serious study of all things Celebritological, is not a celebrity. What are the criteria?

Keep in mind that I cobbled together this list rather quickly:

1. World-wide renown: Brad Pitt, a celebrity, is known the world over. In fact, his fame is so widespread he'd likely be recognized in some sandy outpost of the Malay Archipelago. Whereas Larry Craig could likely descend into obscurity by hopping the next commuter shuttle to Atlanta.

2. Enduring Public Interest: Glossy celeb tabloids load the front pages with pics of stars ("They're just like us!") pumping gas and frolicking on the beach for good reason -- our insatiable appetite for glimpses into the lifestyles of the rich and famous. When is the last time you saw a pic of a vacationing Jim McGreevey in People's Star Tracks?

3. Economic Impact: Within celebrity there are degrees of fame. Hence, the "A-list," "B-list," etc. But, one unifying factor for even the deadbeat denizens of the lowest list, is the ability to generate income at the expense of a curious public (us). This is why, no matter how antithetical, Corey Haim and Corey Feldman remain bankable enough to score a TV deal while the Larry Craigs of yesteryear -- Mark Foley, anyone? -- drift off into the obscurity of history.

So again, no, Larry Craig -- despite the current Craig-saturated news -- is not a celebrity. A year from now, five out of 10 people would likely knit their brows to try to recall why his name sounds familiar. Those same 10 people, though, would all smile knowingly at the first mention of "foot-tapping" or "wide stance."

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Creative Captioning Winner


Congratulations to last week's winner: "Does this skirt make my career look bigger?" -- DJ

The top five winning entries have been added to the original blog item.

By Liz Kelly  |  10:30 AM ET, 09/04/2007

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