Fifteen Minutes of Fame

It seems as though Shirley Sherrod’s has not run out yet:

Shirley Sherrod, the Agriculture Department official ousted during a racial firestorm last month, declined Tuesday to return to the agency, though she said it was tempting.

Translation: “You gotta be nuts — go back to paper pushing at the Agriculture Department when I can get a TV gig, write a book and become a professional gadfly!?”

Nothing in this dreary story of bad behavior turned out exactly as it initially appeared. Sherrod was a racist, and then she wasn’t, and then she appeared to be merely one of many in the civil rights grievance-mongering business. The tape was stunning, and then it was misleading. The administration acted unreasonably and then, … well that part is still true. Also true is that there is a cottage industry of 15-minute stars — Joe the Plumber, Shirley Sherrod — who soon mistake attention for talent and eventually vanish from the public eye. If only it took a mere 15 minutes.