Media and Role Models

Introducing people of all ages to mythology... in pre-college educational curricula, youth orgs, the media, etc. Share your knowledge, stories, unit and lesson plans, techniques, and more.

Moderators: Clemsy, Martin_Weyers, Cindy B.

JamesN.
Associate
Posts: 2187
Joined: Sat Mar 04, 2006 2:46 am
Location: Nashville, Tn.

Media and Role Models

Post by JamesN. » Fri Jan 18, 2013 12:39 pm

It has occured to me as of late that a good topic for discussing some of the relevance of Joseph Campbell's work might be utilized by looking at what role the media has in presenting the personalities of public figures in the news and what the effects are in the developement of what culture aspires towards surfaces.

Hopefully this may encourage some thoughtful insights.
Last edited by JamesN. on Fri Jan 18, 2013 2:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
What do I know? - Michael de Montaigne
JamesN.
Associate
Posts: 2187
Joined: Sat Mar 04, 2006 2:46 am
Location: Nashville, Tn.

Post by JamesN. » Fri Jan 18, 2013 1:09 pm

Hey everyone.

I will start with this article concerning Lance Armstrong's interview with Oprah Winfrey and the issues it raises pertaining to ( the media ) concerning ambition, charactor, and success; how they are ( potrayed ); and what are the " implied " as well as the ( actual ) result's:

http://sports.yahoo.com/news/lance-arms ... 22144.html

I think this may be an interesting way to get at some of the aspects of the " Monomyth " that Joseph Campbell illustrates that play a significant role in the develpement and impacting of the defining of a culture of a society and that to which it " aspires ".

If you start with a quote like: " To Thy Own Self Be True
" as a representative " maxim " one might first encounter in school that is suggested as a self-guidance navigational tool in consideration of it's influence on the setting of a life course; how then does the " Fall From Grace " such as this instruct that same society?

There is much here I think we could explore concerning what " ethics " are promoted within a culture; and the part the media plays concerning it's significant role in all of this.

One place to consider in approaching this might be the in the distinction that was made in " The Power of Myth " discerning the difference between a " Hero " and a " Celebrity "; and how the ( Media ) utilizes this vehicle as a merchandising device for the " client " to promote it's ( product or idea ).

Thoughts?
What do I know? - Michael de Montaigne
CarmelaBear
Associate
Posts: 4087
Joined: Wed Nov 27, 2002 3:51 pm
Location: The Land of Enchantment

Post by CarmelaBear » Fri Jan 18, 2013 9:54 pm

Celebrities are sold like soap and Big Macs. They are literally consumed by the public like so much manna from heaven.

Heroes are the stuff of heart and soul. They reach us where it counts. The story is everything.

Poor Armstrong hasn't got a story. He's stuck in the urgency of being Number One. The object lesson we can take away is that we know we do not want to be Lance Armstrong.

:!:
Last edited by CarmelaBear on Wed Jan 23, 2013 7:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Once in a while a door opens, and let's in the future. --- Graham Greene
Cindy B.
Working Associate
Posts: 4719
Joined: Wed Oct 05, 2005 12:49 pm
Location: USA
Contact:

Post by Cindy B. » Fri Jan 18, 2013 10:17 pm

Armstrong is a narcissist par excellence, perhaps even a psychopath... :|
If the path before you is clear, you’re probably on someone else’s. --Jung
Cindy B.
Working Associate
Posts: 4719
Joined: Wed Oct 05, 2005 12:49 pm
Location: USA
Contact:

Post by Cindy B. » Sat Jan 19, 2013 6:24 pm

This morning I saw a short clip from Oprah's second interview with Armstrong where he appeared to express genuine emotion and regret when talking about having to come clean with his son. If this display was in fact genuine, then psychopathy could be ruled out; the thing is, though, that psychopaths as masters of manipulation are also masters at acting and mimicking human emotions that they do not actually experience, so who knows. At any rate, the Armstrong story is a good example of the devastation that a person with narcissistic personality disorder can leave in his wake as he pursues personal goals and including his own destruction. (Narcissism is a central component of both psychopathy and sociopathy, by the way.)


James wrote:If you start with a quote like: " To Thy Own Self Be True " as a representative " maxim " one might first encounter in school that is suggested as a self-guidance navigational tool in consideration of it's influence on the setting of a life course; how then does the " Fall From Grace " such as this instruct that same society?

One place to consider in approaching this might be the in the distinction that was made in " The Power of Myth " discerning the difference between a " Hero " and a " Celebrity "
I would suggest, James, that the initial maxim of the true hero's journey is to "Know thyself."

And with the rare exception of enlightened teachers like Clemsy, in my opinion our educational system has minimal genuine interest in the individual student beyond the social roles that he/she can eventually fill, so in general what is shaped by the system is personas of various sorts.

So back to Armstrong... The sort of "heroes," then, that our society tends to create and support are not the individuating heroes encouraged by the likes of Campbell and Jung, but a celebrated "hero" in the sense of a person deemed worthy of idealization given perceived superiority of some sort as defined and assigned by the collective, a persona. Whenever one (ego) identifies with the persona, he has sacrificed psychological individuality, and instead is at the whim of a fickle collective and its power to dictate, in this case, glorification as well as ruin of its "heroes." Armstrong was particularly susceptible to assuming and identifying with this persona given the combination of natural athletic talent and narcissism, and the public was quite willing to feed his narcissism so long as he reflected some aspect of our society's idealized vision of itself. Yet as is typical when such "heroes" fail us, the ultimate blame is laid at the feet of the offending individual rather than with society as a whole, and the more offensive the assigned "hero's" failure to play his part, the farther his "fall from grace" in the collective's attempt to salvage and protect its idealized image of itself. So what lessons will our society take away from the Armstrong story? Probably very few, I'd say, and instead will move on to the next "hero." What individual members of our society who are psychologically aware may take away from all this is something else, though.


:)
Last edited by Cindy B. on Sun Jan 20, 2013 12:18 am, edited 1 time in total.
If the path before you is clear, you’re probably on someone else’s. --Jung
JamesN.
Associate
Posts: 2187
Joined: Sat Mar 04, 2006 2:46 am
Location: Nashville, Tn.

Post by JamesN. » Sat Jan 19, 2013 11:47 pm

Thank you Cindy and Carmela.

This is exactly the direction I was hoping this would take in discussion.
James wrote:
If you start with a quote like: " To Thy Own Self Be True " as a representative " maxim " one might first encounter in school that is suggested as a self-guidance navigational tool in consideration of it's influence on the setting of a life course; how then does the " Fall From Grace " such as this instruct that same society?

One place to consider in approaching this might be the in the distinction that was made in " The Power of Myth " discerning the difference between a " Hero " and a " Celebrity "
Carmela wrote:
Celebrities are sold like soap and Big Macs. They are literally consumed by the public like so much.manna from heaven.

Heroes are the stuff of heart and soul. They reach us where it counts. The story is everything.

Cindy wrote:
I would suggest, James, that the initial maxim of the true hero's journey is to "Know thyself."

And with the rare exception of enlightened teachers like Clemsy, in my opinion our educational system has minimal genuine interest in the individual student beyond the social roles that he/she can eventually fill, so in general what is shaped by the system is personas of various sorts.

So back to Armstrong... The sort of "heroes," then, that our society tends to create and support are not the psychological heroes encouraged by the likes of Campbell and Jung, but a celebrated "hero" in the sense of a person deemed worthy of idealization given perceived superiority of some sort as defined and assigned by the collective, a persona. Whenever one (ego) identifies with the persona, he/she has sacrificed psychological individuality, and instead is at the whim of a fickle collective and its power to dictate glorification as well as ruin of its "heroes." Armstrong was particularly susceptible to assuming and identifying with this persona given the combination of natural athletic talent and narcissism, and the public was quite willing to feed his narcissism so long as he reflected some aspect of our society's idealized vision of itself. Yet as is typical when such "heroes" fail us, the ultimate blame is laid at the feet of the offending individual rather than with society as a whole, and the more offensive the assigned "hero's" failure to play his part, the farther his "fall from grace" in the collective's attempt to salvage and protect its idealized image of itself. So what lessons will our society take away from the Armstrong story? Probably very few, I'd say, and instead will move on to the next "hero." What individual members of our society who are psychologically aware may take away from all this is something else, though.
I chose ( Lance Armstrong ) as a representation of a flawed ideal. A cultural reference that painfully points to it's definition of what much of it's message of identity sends as an aspirational figure; and what is " perceived as success ". ( Not as athletic excellence; but as: " means justifies the ends " ). And as Carmela points out these figures are basically used as promotional devices to sell product as well as ( image ).

When Andy Warhol in the 1970's made his famous quote about: " In the Future Everyone Will Be World-Famous for 15 Minutes "; ( now known as " 15 Minutes of Fame " and shorter still having their: " 15 Minutes " ); he identified a change that was taking place within the context of a conciousness aspect of cultural aspiration:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/15_minutes_of_fame

But to me the main issue that really needs to be addressed is how we define ( " what is worthy to aspire towards " ); and not the attention, adulation, and misdirected sense of self-esteem that is misinterpreted as success. ( The desire to be famous or to be known as opposed to the gift of achievement offered as a sacrifice, gift, or a " Boon " ).

The difference between establishing " credibility " and " notoriety " is a distinction that often gets blurred in the developement process of many artists and athletes. ( IMHO ); it hyjacks both the " process " ( and ) " the objective " that the individual is trying to aquire and deliever to the society; ( It also shortcircuits the " Individuation Process " of the individual trying to understand themselves ).

In the quest for the Trophy obtained of being " #1 "; or " the process of acquisition or achievement "; or " the insight received and delievered "; it becomes ( subserviant ) to it's ( Master which then becomes it's Parent or even Dictator ); be it Corporate; Public; or ( their own " privately-perceived " isolation ).

And be it " Lance " or any of the other dozens and dozens of " Public Icons " that lose their way for whatever the reason or circumstance ( in this context ); point I think to this dysfunctional disconnect we are seeing.

( Also I might add that the " ever shrinking emphasis " on liberal arts and social sciences in the schools as opposed to technology is another contributing factor; but that may need to be discussed separately. )

One of the things Joseph Campbell mentions in " The Power of Myth " that I think this addresses is when he talks about being between a time of the falling away of the " Old " mythological forms and the developement of a " New Mythology ". And that the old connections are not functioning in that they ( don't ) deliever the proper message of the necessary moral navigational codes of not only; " how to live a human lifetime under any circumstances "; but informing the children of the coming generations of how to " inovate " without getting tangled up in the crosswiring of the older world as the new world comes into being. And to me this is a major requirement of the " Hero's charactor " as people meet their " inevitable lifetime dilemmas ".

So I guess Cindy in a different way I seem to be voicing much of what you just stated. And at least as far as I can tell this also is my understanding of what I am seeing as well. Thanks to both of you for the input on this .


Cheers :)
What do I know? - Michael de Montaigne
CarmelaBear
Associate
Posts: 4087
Joined: Wed Nov 27, 2002 3:51 pm
Location: The Land of Enchantment

Post by CarmelaBear » Wed Jan 23, 2013 8:00 pm

Under the old mythology, governance was perceived as coming from outside the individual. The individual lived in communal circumstances, and there was no need to entrust or burden a person with having to make important choices. One "chose" to go along, and when the wrong choice was made, the consequences were certain.

Self-governance and true democracy leaves a great deal to the individual, who may not be prepared for the responsibility of choosing. When the consequences are uncertain and subject to the whim of an emotionally detached collective, all bets are off.

I hope the new mythology involves developing an ethos that is as nourishing and helpful as it is demanding and firm.

Surely we are capable of modeling consistent healthy behavior at every level of social functioning. Otherwise, how can we expect anyone to know how to be and how to act.

~
Once in a while a door opens, and let's in the future. --- Graham Greene
Ercan2121
Associate
Posts: 824
Joined: Mon Mar 30, 2009 2:15 am
Location: Istanbul

Post by Ercan2121 » Thu Jan 24, 2013 7:01 am

CarmelaBear wrote: Heroes are the stuff of heart and soul. They reach us where it counts. The story is everything.
Heroes may live and grow in their own way and sometimes very far from central
values of society and media cannot always easily attain those shores :(
JamesN.
Associate
Posts: 2187
Joined: Sat Mar 04, 2006 2:46 am
Location: Nashville, Tn.

Post by JamesN. » Thu Jan 24, 2013 3:26 pm

Hello Ercan my friend; nice to see you about! :)
Ercan2121 wrote:
CarmelaBear wrote: Heroes are the stuff of heart and soul. They reach us where it counts. The story is everything.
Heroes may live and grow in their own way and sometimes very far from central
values of society and media cannot always easily attain those shores :(
Indeed as you point out the media does not always reach the elements that uplift the human spirit. However every now and then " a shaft of light " breaks through the gloom and clouds of darkness to illustrate what is still noble within the human heart.

I saw just such an example in this article: 8)

http://gma.yahoo.com/homecoming-surpris ... ories.html

( Perhaps a simple thing; but with a powerful message none-the-less. :wink: )

Cheers :D
What do I know? - Michael de Montaigne
User avatar
Nermin
Associate
Posts: 520
Joined: Mon Feb 01, 2010 2:31 pm
Location: London, Britain

Post by Nermin » Sun Jan 27, 2013 1:28 am

JamesN. wrote: Indeed as you point out the media does not always reach the elements that uplift the human spirit. However every now and then " a shaft of light " breaks through the gloom and clouds of darkness to illustrate what is still noble within the human heart.
However, Internet and social media can make some dyference, James,
thought we have to admit that our generation only represents the transitory
stage.

The world is so big. Resisting the global challenge of the age not to leave our warm
cultural parish becomes more and more difficult :(
True friendship is based on trust, honesty and sincere generosity of our hearts
JamesN.
Associate
Posts: 2187
Joined: Sat Mar 04, 2006 2:46 am
Location: Nashville, Tn.

Post by JamesN. » Thu Feb 07, 2013 2:52 pm

Here is something I came across that might fit in this topical discussion:

http://education.yahoo.net/articles/deg ... ?kid=1NUJI

Indeed the world is a large concept to interpret and navigate. I have long felt that what the young are exposed to intellectually helps determine what they aspire towards. The expression of these aspirations in turn ( affect ) the ( world's conditions ) that people live in. And if what they are focused on is only about financial gain and not the ideas that are presented to them in the " Liberal Arts "; where then will the answers come from to solve the larger issues of living such as the ( " meanings and ends of living " and not just the " means " themselves )? :idea:
What do I know? - Michael de Montaigne
User avatar
Nermin
Associate
Posts: 520
Joined: Mon Feb 01, 2010 2:31 pm
Location: London, Britain

Post by Nermin » Thu Feb 07, 2013 7:19 pm

Very interesting, James,
In my opinion, that little tool called a search engine has totally modified
most people's understanding of education when we assume that what is
essential is our access to information. Valuable books are no more hidden
in libraries and online courses are becoming more and more popular and
I especially like here the idea of equal opportunity :-)
True friendship is based on trust, honesty and sincere generosity of our hearts
Ercan2121
Associate
Posts: 824
Joined: Mon Mar 30, 2009 2:15 am
Location: Istanbul

Post by Ercan2121 » Fri Feb 08, 2013 10:13 pm

JamesN. wrote: Hello Ercan my friend; nice to see you about! :)

( Perhaps a simple thing; but with a powerful message none-the-less. :wink: )

Cheers :D
Thank you, James :)
We cannot change the world but we can indeed make a difference, isn't-it true?
CarmelaBear
Associate
Posts: 4087
Joined: Wed Nov 27, 2002 3:51 pm
Location: The Land of Enchantment

Post by CarmelaBear » Sat Feb 09, 2013 7:34 am

Ercan2121 wrote:
JamesN. wrote: Hello Ercan my friend; nice to see you about! :)

( Perhaps a simple thing; but with a powerful message none-the-less. :wink: )

Cheers :D
Thank you, James :)
We cannot change the world but we can indeed make a difference, isn't-it true?
Hello Ercan. I still think we are changing the world. Remember the butterfly effect, and believe that something we are doing is making more than a difference.

~
Once in a while a door opens, and let's in the future. --- Graham Greene
JamesN.
Associate
Posts: 2187
Joined: Sat Mar 04, 2006 2:46 am
Location: Nashville, Tn.

Post by JamesN. » Sat Feb 09, 2013 12:50 pm

Hello Ercan, Carmela, Cindy, Nermin. Sorry I am a little slow getting back to you.

Indeed there are tools like " Google " as suggested for finding information; and for the most part it is true I think that there are many fine folks who are absolutely making an important difference. And that is part of the point of the idea I am trying to get at here; ( but not all ). One of the main questions for me concerning this topic of " Media and Role Models " is: " Where do these aspirations come from? " and " Who or what is determining those values and what qualities do those values contain? " This to me says: " Image ".

Cindy said:
The sort of "heroes," then, that our society tends to create and support are not the individuating heroes encouraged by the likes of Campbell and Jung, but a celebrated "hero" in the sense of a person deemed worthy of idealization given perceived superiority of some sort as defined and assigned by the collective, a persona.
Today is Saturday morning here in the US; and there will multiple TV shows that are programed by the networks aimed specifically at young children and teens for commercial sponsers to sell their products. " Madison Avenue " designs some of the most sophisticated mental manipulation techniques ever devised that are being used in the selling or pitching of these advertisements. Marketing experts help huge Corporations design " advertising campaigns " targeting their audience with " laser " precision so that every product is orchestrated in it's presentation with some theme, slogan, costume, or event. ( How many people notice when they go into a fastfood restaurant when a new movie comes out and there is a product special displayed promoting that film. ) This is not an accident because millions of dollars in sales are involved.

The TV shows themselves also contain merchandized " Images " created specifically for the purpose of product sales; ( like action figure dolls of the charactors themselves ); with storylines or plots and even music or theme songs to accompany the " experience " that the child is having; ( all employed for the direct purpose of the selling of product ).

Indeed the selling of " Image " itself has become one the most critical components of media endeavors. Almost ( any ) avenue of public media life has the crafting of ( Image ) involved in the process. Movies, politics, and sports are prime examples of the " persona " Cindy mentions where the " Celebrity " Image is employed as somehing to be aspired towards because they are deemed " superior " or " worthy " or " idealized " because of their well-knownness all assigned by this " societal collective "; not just for their accomplishments. But what is not emphasized and left out is the " individuating " dimension of their charactor; which is one of key elements of the " Hero " and indeed of the " Quest or Journey " process. The search for self; not just identity as image; but as self-understanding and engagement in life's mystery and fulfilment. The higher qualities of human nature of sacrifice, devotion or loyalty, patience, tolerance, and kindness ( as well as ) courage, skill, or excellence; are not the ones that are emphasized enough.

And ( IMHO ); if there is a particular driving force of this condition I would point to it would have to be ( materialism ). And that would be based not only on the understanding of " things being emphasized as more important than people " aspect; but also on the ( Power ) derived from it's aquisition; ( metaphorically speaking of course ). And although certainly not the only factor; one of the most seductive in nature and outcome. And to add further when I think of ( The Dark Side of the Force in Star Wars or Tolkien's - Ring of Power from his books ); this is one of the main aspects that these " symbols " represent to me.

But yes; I think as you have pointed out we fight this ( insidious disease ) by the noble acts of individuals exhibited as Joseph Campbell suggested: " Everyday people doing kind things for each other all the time ". :wink:
What do I know? - Michael de Montaigne
Locked