Over the trajectory of the past thirty years it has, and it is becoming increasingly un-common to encounter a true role model within the world of entertainment. Many may disagree and debate this to be an unsubstantiated statement yet all one must do is research any supposed entertainment “role model”, and the Truth will rapidly present the contrary. Consider professional wrestling’s “Stone Cold” Steve Austin – an anti-hero that drinks beer, cusses, speaks in a less-than-educated manner and hits people. At this juncture it may be safe to simply conclude this article and say, “Case closed. Until next time”, however, that would not suffice.
As mentioned in prior articles pertaining to entertainment, specifically, the BBC’s Doctor Who. The way the “business” of “show” business is established provides creators a position of influence unlike any to transmit ideas throughout a global landscape. Consider how one video, one article, one childish tweet, meme, or silly Facebook post can trail blaze [or spread like cancer] across the planet in a single hour. Weapons of war suddenly appear far less potent and far more primitive. Something to ponder.
A role model, as currently defined by the Oxford Dictionary, and let’s face facts, no other dictionary has ever been worth more than the price of the paper it was printed upon, describes a role model as: “A person that you admire and try to copy. We need positive role models for young women to aspire to. Parents are a child’s primary role models”. It’s safe to say that Oxford’s definitions have been significantly dumbed down, poorly written, and apparently now support plagiarism. Transcribing Oxford’s definition of a role model more accurately may read: “An individual that you admire and attempt to immolate. Young women need respectful and morally decent role models. Parents are a child’s primary role models. Therefore, parents should behave in a morally decent and respectful manner whenever in the presence of children”.
We see how overtime even the very definition of a role model has been dwindled and reduced to one or two adjectives that in no way carry the heavyweight punch of what it means to be a true role model. To make a claim to be “positive” is wide-open. It could be interpreted as “someone who always laughs and jokes around”. It does not mean that said person should be viewed as a role model. Some of the heftiest scumbags on this earth enjoy laughing and being merry, yet behind-the-scenes cuss, make lewd remarks, backstab, murder, and the list goes on.
Words are extremely valuable and poignant. Without words nothing on earth would ever get accomplished. Words can build up and can tear down in an instant. Many say that words are the greatest weapon. After all, “The tongue is a two-edged sword”.
Given these modern loose and highly skewed definitions of the term role model, it does not take a mathematician to calculate that eventually these definitions will skew and blur the reality of what humans interpret them to mean. If you repeat something long enough, eventually you may end up believing it. Over the last thirty years, humans have believed “the hype”. If they act “positively”, don’t complain about moral and ethical issues that may cause argument and be perceived as “negative”, that they can be classified as role models. This could not be farther from the Truth.
Not suggesting or giving glory in any way whatsoever to what we are about to delve in to, but during the late nineteen seventies and early nineteen eighties, role models created and displayed in film and television, characters always acted like the traditional definition of a role model. These entertainment role models were not “always” positive. They did not “always” agree with everyone’s opinion, they were not always loved, and they based their emphasis upon moral and ethical values. These morals and ethics we speak are buried deep within everyone’s chore – on a level that does not need to be taught.
Superman The Movie (1978), for example. Again, not glorifying the character or its story in any way, but when the Christopher Reeve movies were released that incarnation of Superman exuded moral and ethics decency. In fact, the character of Superman corrected himself in Superman 2 (1980). After forsaking his duty to help mankind to selfishly engage in a romance with Louis Lane, Superman apologized to his “father”, renounced his relationship Louise, and went back to helping mankind. Thus, his character sacrificed his “self” for the greater good. Today’s Superman would never do such a thing.
In relation to the topic of our article, Doctor Who – is the doctor truly intended to be a role model?
If we step into the Tardis and journey back through time, we are met by the many visages of the doctor. There was Peter Capaldi, Matt Smith, David Tennant, Tom Baker, Peter Davidson, William Hartnell, and the list continues. However, the further back in time we travel, the more consistently we find ourselves facing a mature doctor both in nature and appearance, and whose morals and ethics remind us of “old-school” parents. They were nice, yes, but they also helped us discover discipline. These true parental figures did not joke around at every opportunity. Rather, they attempted instilling upon us children morals and ethics which hopefully enabled us grow into decent adults. Parents were not our friends, and neither were our schoolteachers.
Somewhere along the timeline this moral decency was abandoned in favor of fun, gags, wacky speeches that often make the doctor sound as though he has been smoking illicit drugs, and a doctor who quite frankly no longer contains an opinion about anything, and who accepts everything. It would appear the more modern the doctor the less of a role model he has become.
A role model is never cool or relevant. They do eventually become admired [by few], and most find it exhaustingly difficult to immolate. Often, true role models are outcasts.
Next time you hear someone say about a popular person, “That person is a role model”, think twice. The likelihood is that that person is merely a people pleaser or “yes” person. True role models, much like the original character of Superman portrayed by Christopher Reeve, and far better and far greater still, the Good Lord, Jesus Christ, stood out not because they acted cool, made people laugh, or because of the way they dressed or combed their hair. They held morals, ethics, and the needs of others above themselves and all else.
Alex Gold, Brit Pop News