Ralph Schoenstein on the virtue of self-infatuation
2015/12/31 § Leave a comment
One day last spring I stood before 20 children of eight and nine in [a] third-grade class to see if any heroes or heroines were inspiring them. I asked each child to give me the names of the three greatest people he had ever heard about. “Michael Jackson, Brooke Shields and Boy George,” said a small blond girl, giving me one from all three sexes. “Michael Jackson, Spider-Man and God,” a boy then said, naming a new holy trinity.… When the other children recited, Michael Jackson’s name was spoken again and again, but Andrew Jackson never, nor Washington, Lincoln or any other presidential immortal. Just Ronald Reagan, who made it twice, once behind Batman and once behind Mr. T… In answer to my request for heroes, I had expected to hear such names as Michael Jackson, Mr. T, Brooke Shields and Spider-Man from the kids, but I had not expected the replies of the eight who answered “Me.” Their heroes were themselves. It is sad enough to see the faces on Mount Rushmore replaced by rock stars, brawlers and cartoons, but it is sadder still to see Mount Rushmore replaced by a mirror.
Ralph Schoenstein, “The Modern Mount Rushmore,” Newsweek 6 August, 1984.