Sunday, March 22, 2009

Who needs Role Models?

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Remember your comic book heroes? Batman, Superman, Modesty Blaise, Andy Capp et al. As time progressed perhaps you evolved to Bart Simpson, or Homer, SpongeBob Square Pants or any number of quirky seriously flawed characters!

As you outgrew your childhood heroes the vacuum was filled perhaps with sporting gods to replace the war heroes of parents and grandparents. Remember a time when these Parents and Grandparents were the Role models for future generations. Reinforcing Nationalistic Pride and cultural values of yesteryear. What happened?

When and how did Brittany, 50 Cent, Eminem and Oprah step in to fill the breach? The cult of celebrity is at it's zenith.

Ambition lives on, yet it's a tad disconcerting that achievement is becoming increasingly rated on a continuum measures cultural status and fame. The higher you rate on this Totem Pole the closer you are to that highly prized goal that is, celebrity.

15 minutes of fame? 30 seconds will do. Whatever it takes. Contribution, altruism, sainthood, martyrdom, are a waste of time and energy unless visibly conspicuous. Let's get on the latest "reality" show. Let's get noticed. It's not about winning. It's about being outrageous, controversial, obnoxious. Noticed. That's the game.

The greatest fear of this generation sub-set, of broadband connected, social media savvy celebrity wannabees is, invisibility.

Who needs Role Models? What service do they offer? Are they in fact the glue that bonds disparate communities? If we have shared populist heroes, with millions of our cyber-peers, that must mean we're relevant by extension.

Imagine if our Role Models were not simply manifested by default. Imagine if we were inspired, motivated and uplifted by the works, actions and philosophies of non celebrity characters, and we started to model their beliefs, and attract their energy and results in to our own lives. I guess that would be a life designed by choice rather than default. What a concept. Old fashionably labeled self actualisation.

But who doesn't want to belong? Who doesn't want a 100,000 Twitter, Facebook, My space, Squidoo followers to validate our lives? Can't do that by drifting too far from the herd, might be labeled a black sheep, or worse, become anonymous!

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