Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Trouble With Role Models

Lord Taylor, the dodgy peer, is off to chokey for fiddling his expenses and good riddance to him and to all the other crooked politicians who are either in chokey or should be. I have no sympathy whatsoever for any of them, let them rot.

Two things particularly hit me about Taylor. The first being his plea that he fiddled his expenses because he didn't get a salary and that other peers told him to do it. What a clown! There are unemployed people living on a pittance, without the extremely generous alowances and expenses available to peers which are way beyond their out of pocket expenses, and the overwhelming majority of unemployed people don't resort to fiddling.

The second thing that struck me was that his defence barrister pleaded leniency, and no prison sentence, as Taylor was a role model for young black people. Oh really? I'll bet most young black kids, like most other kids, have never heard of him. And, if you assume that he was a role model for black kids, isn't that all the more reason to punish him, and punish him harshly for so badly letting them down?

I think that the old role model defence is trundled out by people who don't really know what's what. It is used, in this case as a cheap shot for leniency, or more usually to whip anybody who is rich and famous who slightly misbehaves, such as footballers and pop stars. It's codswallop. Whining about role models is a side effect of the modern obsession with fame and stardom.

What those who whine about role models are saying is that famous peoples' behaviour will be copied by kids . Or to put it another way they are saying that young people are incapable of thinking for themselves and merely impersonate the rich and famous. I don't believe that, I think most young people are more intelligent than that and can differentiate between right and wrong.

What concerns me much more than the behaviour of the rich and famous is the impact of real people on young people. The bad fathers, uncles, teachers, neighbours and others who young people meet on a daily basis. Now they really are role models and my money is on the worst of them being the first to jump to accusing poor famous 'role models' for their own inadequacies and kids' poor behaviour.

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