South Whidbey Record


LETTERS TO THE EDITOR | Take care when creating heroes

March 29, 2013 · Updated 1:52 PM

To the editor:

The United States is a country that has long adored the heroes we claim to have created in our great nation. Once a hero has been established, commonly a concise anecdote will form of their impressive or courageous deed. The purpose of this anecdote is to impress certain morals onto our young citizens.

In this light, it would seem that many of the great heroic American stories are merely fabrications for the purpose of educating society, and that these heroes are simply emblems for the values they represent. James W. Loewen addresses this concept in the chapter “Handicapped by History” from his book, “Lies My Teacher Told Me.”

He explains that heroes can only be seen as an “inspiration … so long as (they) remain uncontroversial (and) one-dimensional” figures. Unfortunately, this method of heroification is affecting contemporary figures as well, as demonstrated in the New York Times article “Gates Urges School Budget Overhaul” written by Sam Dillon. The author places trust in Bill Gates’ plan to achieve a more effective nation-wide educational system. However, the author’s blatant disregard of Gates’ lack of success in previous educational reforms detracted from the validity of his main point. Gates inspires America’s youth to believe that a successful individual can come from anyone, and this becomes his largest source of fame. However, he has little-to-no experience in education. The heroification process hides blemishes which would detract from the credibility and trust these famous figures receive. Heroification is perhaps one of the most harmful forms of propaganda and fabrication a publication could commit and must be an abandoned system.

Sarah Potts



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