God Bless you Ben Stein
It is with deep regret that I have not been blogging and bloghopping the past couple of days because I had been very busy with work. Much to my regret, I missed this post of my friend The Cat where she featured an article written by Ben Stein, which he claims, would be the last article he would write for his column "Monday Night at Morton's" after seven or eight years of writing it. The column is about a steak house called Morton which is supposedly frequented by movie stars. However, I am still in luck for another blogging friend, actually, idol, Sassy emailed the same article to me.
I have seen Ben Stein in a couple of shows before. There was this trivia quiz I regularly watched in Canada while seated on the couch and trying to answer the questions before the contestants gave out the answer. The idea was whoever won the match would pit it out with Ben Stein and grab his money. I forgot the title of the show. Then, I've seen him at Fox News giving his opinions on economic issues, and lastly, at that talent show hosted by, I think, Arsenio Hall. Yes, Ben Stein might be uninteresting on the surface, with that inanimated voice and sleepy stance on tv but he sure is smart. Now that I've read this article, I came to realize he's even smarter than I thought he is.
Anyway, in this article, we see how Ben Stein got to an enlightened realization that while it is true that society may not have changed looking for heroes, it has changed its criteria through time.
Beyond that, a bigger change has happened. I no longer think Hollywood stars are terribly important. They are uniformly pleasant, friendly people, and they treat me better than I deserve to be treated. But a man or woman who makes a huge wage for memorizing lines and reciting them in front of a camera is no longer my idea of a shining star we should all look up to.
He talked about how he shifted his ideas of what constitute heroism from these huge money makers to the ordinary soldier in Iraq, the policemen and firemen and women who will put their lives at risk without fear for life and limb just so the citizens of the world can live peacefully and happily.
Real stars are not riding around in the backs of limousines or in Porsches or getting trained in yoga or Pilates and eating only raw fruit while they have Vietnamese girls do their nails. They can be interesting, nice people, but they are not heroes to me any longer.
A real star is the soldier of the 4th Infantry Division who poked his head into a hole on a farm near Tikrit, Iraq. He could have been met by a bomb or a hail of AK-47 bullets. Instead, he faced an abject Saddam Hussein and the gratitude of all of the decent people of the world.
What do I make out of this article? Why the interest? There are two things I want to point out here. First, the article moved me for I feel the same thing. Why do people look up to these so called "stars" making them ultra rich while thousands of people out there are sacrificing their lives for a measly sum? What kind of values do we have? Then that made me think this may be one of those perks of capitalism. The more money you have, the greater you are. Nevermind how wealth is attained. As long as you have plenty of it, you are worthy of emulation. This makes you realize how parents would make their "talented" child stand long hours in a queue to audition for a role, or a kiddie contest in a noontime show. The "return of investment" should the child succeed is staggering!
Second, can we say that the average Filipino cop worthy of our adulation? What with all the bribery, the corruptness and sometimes, the lack of intelligence that seems to plague policedom in the country today. What about firemen? We have heard how these firefighters would, holding his waterpump, stand guard on the richest guy in the neighborhood simply because he was promised a reward, or the looting that took place during a fire. Do I dare mention politicians? So, who do you think would be our heroes? I am tempted to say teachers but that would be self-serving. I'll let you be the judge.
What I do know is that I envy Stein for he has found his true heroes. Can we say the same thing if ever we wanted to have a paradigm shift in choosing our heroes?
You can read Ben Stein's article here