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RUDOLF ABEL AS A RELUCTANT CELEBRITY

Vin Arthey

Аннотация


Аbstract. C. Rojek’s “Celebrity” (2010) is a seminal text for those studying aspects of celebrity. At the outset, Rojek states that he intends ‘to treat celebrity as the attribution of glamorous or notorious status to an individual within the public sphere’ or the ‘impact on public consciousness’ and then sets out a series of headings under which he intends to discuss his analysis: celebrity which is ascribed, achieved or attributed. This article notes that Rojek’s examples are from the English speaking world, specifically the United Kingdom and the United States, and his evidence mediated through the culture and media of these countries. It then muses over the extent to which this approach is relevant to the Russian experience. The bulk of the article is devoted to a case study of the KGB officer and ‘illegal’ spy William A. Fisher who was arrested in New York in 1957, jailed, and exchanged for the US ‘spy pilot’ F. Gary Powers in 1962. By definition, spying is secret and celebrity is public. It is argued that the social and political systems in both the USA and the USSR in the mid-Cold War period contrived to make this Colonel Fisher a celebrity in the sense of his ‘impact on public consciousness,’ but also that Fisher’s celebrity status does not quite fit Rojek’s taxonomy. The article observes that Fisher was ‘a reluctant celebrity’: a status that is neither ‘achieved’ nor ‘attributed’ in Rojek’s categorization, or a status that could be both. Either way, Fisher’s celebrity needs a new term for its description.

Key words: Rudolph Abel, reluctant celebrity, Cold War, representation of spies.

DOI 10.23683/2415-8852-2017-3-38-50

 

Цитировать:

Arthey V. Rudolf Abel as a Reluctant Celebrity // Практики и интерпретации: журнал филологических, образовательных и культурных исследований. 2017. Т. 2, № 3. С. 38‒50.


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(c) 2018 Vin Arthey


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