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Lost Memory Exhibition
December 7, 2008 8:18 PM   Subscribe


 
"Michael Kearney, 21, is living in Tennessee with four undergraduate degrees, in anthropology, computer science, geology and chemistry. He'll earn his doctorate in chemistry next May.

"Most people, they get into school when they're 6, and they get out of school around 22, 23," Kearney said. "That's what I'm going to do. But I just happened to be in college that entire time."

He teaches a chemistry class to students of all ages.

"I was really worried that I would fail somehow, and be one of those sad ex-prodigies," Kearney said. "I realized that I can't fail because I set my own standards and my standards are pretty low."

LOL. Story of my life . . .
posted by troy at 8:35 PM on December 7, 2008


"Icon" is really the wrong descriptor for most of these. More like detritus and random bits rather than any real relational cultural pointer.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:48 PM on December 7, 2008 [2 favorites]


In American pop culture, maybe. Hadn't heard of half of this. Perhaps they're lost for a reason?
posted by pompomtom at 8:50 PM on December 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


The 40 Greatest Lost Icons In American Pop Culture History
FTFY. (on preview - what pompomtom said)
posted by Popular Ethics at 8:53 PM on December 7, 2008 [2 favorites]


This list makes me feel old.
posted by rageagainsttherobots at 8:54 PM on December 7, 2008


These aren't really "icons" in the true sense of the word. The "Possibly High Mac Enthusiast" was in fact an advertising device, used in MAC ads, as with the MAZDA kid. Both are rather forgettable, and hardly worth a mention. You'd want to be pretty lacking to actually consider these icons.

I'm not immediately impressed by crap though.
posted by mattoxic at 8:56 PM on December 7, 2008


Cue VH1 clip show in 3 ... 2 ...1
posted by The Whelk at 8:58 PM on December 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


It should read "American Pop Culture History", and most of these are hardly iconic... booo!
posted by stuffedspacedog at 8:59 PM on December 7, 2008


"40 forgettable people who were very briefly famous for nothing in particular and quickly forgotten" isn't as catchy of a title. I haven't thought about or seen any references to the Blind Melon bee girl (Jesus, they sucked horribly - and if you fondly remember their crappy milquetoast single, try listening to any of their other songs, if their records are even still in print) or the Encyclopedia Brittanica kid since before I was able to grow facial hair.
posted by DecemberBoy at 9:12 PM on December 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


I started reading this expecting that one of them would be the Shmoo.

It's hard to imagine now, but the little white blob guys from Lil Abner were once the center of a national craze. Now, all anyone remembers them from is those stupid H-B cartoons where they sought out any licensed characters, no matter how decrepit, to try to turn a quick buck off of them.

But time was, the Shmoo were cool. They're worth looking up.
posted by JHarris at 9:17 PM on December 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


Although, the baby on the cover of Nevermind growing up to be on the cover of a cEvin Key (of Skinny Puppy/Download infamy) record is a neat little factoid. And that his parents only got $200 for the shoot.
posted by DecemberBoy at 9:18 PM on December 7, 2008


I didn't know the Mazda kid went to IMSA - my mom taught there for a while, and several of my friends went there in its early days.
posted by SisterHavana at 9:19 PM on December 7, 2008


Michael Fay, the kid who got caned in Singapore, moved to Minneapolis and worked at the Mall of America for a while. A friend and I used to walk through the record store he worked at when he was there and have conversations like this:

"Who was that guy who starred in the movie Zulu? Michael something ..."

"Michael Caine."

"Oh yes, Caine."

"I know you can get sugar from beets, but what else does it come from?"

"Sugar cane, mostly."

"Oh, yeah. Cane."

And on and on. Now I find out he wound up in Minnesota to go to the Hazeldon clinic for sniffing butane, which he claimed he did because it helped him forget Singapore, and I feel like kind of a dick.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:28 PM on December 7, 2008 [9 favorites]


Don't ever change, AZ.
posted by SPrintF at 9:32 PM on December 7, 2008


"Hey, you know what rhymes with butane...?"
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:36 PM on December 7, 2008 [2 favorites]


For some reason, I thought I read somewhere that the Jordy kid died. Where the fuck did I get that idea?
posted by jonmc at 9:36 PM on December 7, 2008


To tell you the truth, people who were famous for about five minutes can tell you more about the character of an era than the more timess people it produced, which is why I find them interesting, kind of.
posted by jonmc at 9:39 PM on December 7, 2008 [2 favorites]


Mostly a list of the clueless and freaky who sort of stumbled into the spotlight by accident and then found themselves the butt of cruel jokes by unfunny comedians (a la Star War Kid), not at all pop culture icons who represented anything popular or cultural...
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 9:41 PM on December 7, 2008


Ah, they got Donna Rice on the list. Y'know, Gary hart made a call to Ted Kennedy from that boat. He said "Hey ted, I got her in the water, now what do I do?"
posted by jonmc at 9:42 PM on December 7, 2008 [3 favorites]


Michael Fay, the kid who got caned in Singapore

I realize this is not exactly a piece of serious journalism, but they failed to note the most important fact about the Fay case- that he was almost certainly innocent of all the charges. Worth pointing because of how many morons advocated turning the U.S. into a Singapore-style police state in the aftermath of the Fay controversy.
posted by drjimmy11 at 9:53 PM on December 7, 2008 [2 favorites]


No Joe Isuzu? What a travesty!
posted by txsebastien at 9:53 PM on December 7, 2008


Also, my friend works at Book Soup in West Hollywood, where Fawn Hall is also apparently employed. Huh.
posted by drjimmy11 at 9:54 PM on December 7, 2008


Ah, they got Donna Rice on the list. Y'know, Gary hart made a call to Ted Kennedy from that boat. He said "Hey ted, I got her in the water, now what do I do?"

The Carson estate called. They want that copy of his monologue from October 1987 back.
posted by drjimmy11 at 9:56 PM on December 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


drjimmy: the last century called, they want the whole '[blank] called, it wants [blank] back,' back.
posted by jonmc at 10:01 PM on December 7, 2008 [5 favorites]


The location of the beef remains elusive.

Sort of a comment on the whole.
posted by dhartung at 10:02 PM on December 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


The Mazda kid was totally adorable. So was the Blind Melon Bee Girl. I hate to get all beanplatey, but that video was a really good thing for teenagers. Sure, she was the weird fat kid dressed as a bee... but she was happy doing her thing, and didn't much care what anyone else thought. This is a good thing for teenagers to learn, especially the kids on the far ends of the bell curves.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 10:10 PM on December 7, 2008 [2 favorites]


Also I have that song stuck in my head now. Fuck you.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 10:14 PM on December 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


"Tones Of Home," the followup single was actually better.
posted by jonmc at 10:16 PM on December 7, 2008


jonmc: Agreed.
posted by elwoodwiles at 10:18 PM on December 7, 2008


I really could not stand that damned zoom-zoom Madza kid. Fingernails on chalkboard, for some reason.
posted by brundlefly at 10:39 PM on December 7, 2008


Yeah, "icons" is definately the wrong way to put it. I would also question the inclusion of Charles Keating on this list given the news coverage linking him to McCain during the recent US election.
After reading through the list, I was going to post a link to the "Top 10 most annoying ways to post 'top X' lists to the web." I figured no one would wnt to click on it though.
posted by Avelwood at 11:22 PM on December 7, 2008


...or maybe a list of the top 10 annoying tiny keyboards and unworkable mice. Try to ignore the formatting and typos above.
posted by Avelwood at 11:25 PM on December 7, 2008


jonmc: ""Tones Of Home," the followup single was actually better."

Also agreed, but the rest of the album was kind of shite.
posted by team lowkey at 11:35 PM on December 7, 2008


So, it's not enough that we're supposed to disdain these people for being celebrities by (in most cases) no intention on their own part, but we've got to bring them back out to insult them for what their lives turned into?

My favorite part, though, is how it shows the disdain for the non-celebrity lifestyle, as if one should be embarrassed for working a regular job at a bookstore or Walmart.
posted by troybob at 11:53 PM on December 7, 2008 [3 favorites]


I don't know what's worse: that some dozen of ya'll would work up the gumption to gripe about the phrasing of this post or that I'd waste some 20 seconds of my ever-evaporating life to call you all out on it.

I think you should have whatever that stoned girl from the Mac ad is having. "Pop" "icon" "metafilter" "irony"

****** <--- shotgun blast to head
posted by joe lisboa at 12:28 AM on December 8, 2008


Also: jonmc is right. (that should be a tag). Now, shouldn't ya'll be arguing about comic books or creationism or the singularity or something? :) good night.
posted by joe lisboa at 12:34 AM on December 8, 2008


William Horton was a felon from the pages of a Flannery O'Connor tale — a robber, a rapist, an indiscriminate murderer — but he has entered the cultural canon for a crime of an entirely different sort: getting George Bush Sr., elected.

OK, that made me laugh.
posted by maxwelton at 2:45 AM on December 8, 2008


As others had said this is very American-centric... though I was idly wondering the other day had happened to Kato Kaelin
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:22 AM on December 8, 2008


Relegated to the D-list dustbin, one would hope. More likely dining out (still) on his OJ stories before going home to his shit apartment and getting closer to taking those porn roles.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 4:47 AM on December 8, 2008


This list was worth it for the link to Tonya Harding Shot JFK.
posted by DU at 5:47 AM on December 8, 2008


Haha, you got the Zoom Zoom kid, we got Thierry Henry
posted by mippy at 5:49 AM on December 8, 2008


What! No Rodney Allen Rippy?

(and if you want to know where he is now, he'll happily tell you all about some bargain basement phone service or something.)
posted by Spatch at 5:55 AM on December 8, 2008


he has entered the cultural canon for a crime of an entirely different sort: getting George Bush Sr., elected.

I am so looking forward to seeing Joe the Plumber on one of these lists in twenty years.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:55 AM on December 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


Well, Nerve is blocked from work, but from the descriptions above, it sounds like "Icons In Pop Culture History" = (old advertising campaigns + nine day news wonders). I'm always a little surprised to see that Nerve is still a going concern.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:20 AM on December 8, 2008


Soup is by far the better album...I consider that one of the best albums of the 90s.

But yeah I know...your favorite band sucks blahblahblah....
posted by schyler523 at 7:31 AM on December 8, 2008


I fully expected to find out what happened to that annoying kid from the Encyclopedia Britannica commercials, but all I got was a reminder of how hot I always thought Jessica Hahn was.
posted by kimota at 8:08 AM on December 8, 2008


Were there no pop icons before the mid-eighties?
posted by rocket88 at 8:11 AM on December 8, 2008


The Bumblebee girl found her happy place, and healed me immeasurably.

While Shannon Hoon didn't, but possibly we understand why.
posted by uncorq at 8:26 AM on December 8, 2008


JHarris-

No kidding. Heck, the Shmoo had its own theme park.
posted by ormondsacker at 9:09 AM on December 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


Speaking of plumbers, TVAcres reminds me of Joe's illustrious predecessor, Josephine! (Seen here extolling the virtues of Comet.)
posted by octobersurprise at 9:26 AM on December 8, 2008


Yeah, this list suffers from the demographic that wrote it—myopic late 20-somethings and naive 19-year-olds.

Though my gramma's house was right down the block from Spuds McKenzie's, and when we visited, our dog would bark at them and freak out all of the pits there (who all looked exactly alike).
posted by klangklangston at 10:45 AM on December 8, 2008


I realize this is not exactly a piece of serious journalism, but they failed to note the most important fact about the Fay case- that he was almost certainly innocent of all the charges. Worth pointing because of how many morons advocated turning the U.S. into a Singapore-style police state in the aftermath of the Fay controversy.

True, but he was exactly the type of asshole rich kid that everyone loves to hate, so everyone wanted to see him whipped anyway. An old girlfriend of mine's family knew his family, and according to her he had been in trouble for asshole-rich-kid-type vandalism like the kind he was accused of in Singapore many times before.
posted by DecemberBoy at 2:29 PM on December 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


To tell you the truth, people who were famous for about five minutes can tell you more about the character of an era than the more timess people it produced, which is why I find them interesting, kind of.

Yep. I find the fringes of celebrity to be far more interesting than the bland, watered-down main course.
posted by telstar at 4:33 PM on December 8, 2008


Where's Walt? Or at least Nicky and Paulo.
posted by ericbop at 5:11 PM on December 8, 2008


Wow! That va-va-voom dude gave me some bad nausea (or as an old friend of mine used to spell it: naseau). The guy I really liked was the used car dealer, but those are usually only locally famous. I would love to see a contest with the worst car dealer ads from around the country.
posted by artfann at 6:45 PM on December 8, 2008


Can you truly be lost if nobody is looking for you?
posted by MikeMc at 7:05 PM on December 8, 2008


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