Kardashian Krushes & Real Heroes

I want to be enlightened.  Can somebody tell me how we got started with the Kardashians?  When did it all begin?  What got us interested in these gals, whom Sesame Street would tell us are “brought to us by the letter K?”  Honestly, I don’t remember there being an “Oh, how interesting” moment… only a succession of  “Here they are again; I wonder who they are” moments for this middle-aged woman.

Then again, last week I heard of Nicki Minaj for the first time, and she seems to be everywhere.  I just went to Google to see how hopelessly out of it I am in not knowing about this Trinidadian rapper, and in .20 seconds there were 69,600,000 references to her on my screen.  And her first album came out four days ago.

There is a lot to keep up with as the pantheon of heroes marches along.  New is cool; old is, well, so last year.  We celebrate people because they are on television.  And television celebrates people who are famous.  So everyone is now famous for being famous but we don’t know what they’ve actually done.  And they don’t have to have actually done anything, really, except be famous.  Will the circle be unbroken?

I love knowing about trends, though I mostly find out a year late.  I find subcultures interesting.  I have a lot to learn from all sorts of people.  It’s not that I think Moses was the only person who ever lived who was worth emulating.  But on the other hand, I wish I could introduce the public to some of the heroes I know:

  • One is a woman who strolled patiently around the neighborhood for years with her demented husband, holding his hand and talking to him in a different way than she had been able to when their deeply intelligent minds had first been attracted to each other.
  • A man I know was burned in a fire 18 years ago and has grafted skin all over him, with misshapen hands.  For five years he wore bandages covering almost all of his body, as he gracefully endured taunts and teasing on public transportation, from children and adults.  He carried a Bible to remind him to persevere.
  • I know someone who secretly and quietly goes to the local homeless shelter and cleans the bathrooms.

There are heroic stories all around us.  Many of them are not on television or in the tabloids.

There’s a great website called My Hero and on it you can learn about real heroes: Aung San Suu Kyi who continues to fight for human rights, Somalian poet Hadraawi who uses his words to promote peace in his country, and John Wesley Powell who fought to preserve biodiversity.

Back when the snow was deeper than deep and latchkey wasn’t a concept, we read biographies of Helen Keller, Einstein, Abraham Lincoln or Emma Lazarus.  The good ones were much-coveted in the school library, and if you didn’t hustle you’d get stuck with someone like Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman doctor.  Who do kids learn about now?  Maybe Michael Jordan or Tony Parker.  Perhaps Shakira.  And while we have something to learn from any life, we tend towards venerating the athletic or the musical folks or the simply famous.

Even as adults, who are our sources?  From what wells do we drink? And how sustaining is the water there?

I like cotton candy as much as the next person (okay, actually a lot more than the next person), but sometimes I crave some carrots.  Brought to me by the letter C.

~ by Cary on November 27, 2010.

One Response to “Kardashian Krushes & Real Heroes”

  1. You must have read all the CHILDHOOD OF FAMOUS AMERICANS! Do you know the libraries removed them from their collections because they were not factual…I wish they had a least put them under historical fiction instead of totally getting rid of them.

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