When I grew up, the people and roles that were put forth as ‘heroes’ were vetted and limited by media and industry. Tabloid media barely existed, and big name newspapers and tv shows didn’t have to sink to the lowest common denominator in order to compete for readers and viewers, because the number of competitors was a fraction of what it is today.
As a result, the bar was higher – media reported on heroes like fireman and astronauts and scientists and police officers and teachers (there were bad things too, of course, but the reporting on those things wasn’t the ‘race to the bottom’ that we have today.)
And people with uneducated and/or negative voices didn’t have access to a megaphone, certainly not one as loud as they have today.
We’re living through a time that is suffering from the downside to freedom of the press/free speech. The founding fathers assumed people would aspire to being educated (maybe even tolerant) but the gravitational pull of ignorance is strong.
I’m an advocate of course of free speech and free press, but the speaker or publisher must shoulder the responsibility of that power.
My point is that, as a kid, my action figures were astronauts and noble soldiers (GI Joes!) and fireman, and my heroes were scientists and engineers both real (Carl Sagan, Apollo astronauts) and fictional (everyone on Star Trek), but back then, even fictional heroes were honorable and good, not caught in their own internal struggle of ‘how bad do I need to be’. And, they didn’t have to compete for your attention.
And how, as a kid, did I know about these heroes? While in line at the supermarket or at toy stores – good people on the cover of Time, or Life, or plastic action hero toys like fireman and police officers and Superman, etc.
It makes me so sad that children today are brought up in such a ‘kardashian culture’. People shouldn’t be famous just because they’re famous. That mentality belittles the genuine accomplishments of those who strive and to make and actually achieve positive progress.
And not everyone should have a megaphone.
I hate lamenting the past. I do not dwell in the past. Sorry for venting. Time to make positive progress.
And this amazing tweet and cartoon..
Sometimes it's worth reminding everyone what free speech means 😉
— Jessica Merizan (@JessicaMarzipan) July 20, 2016