Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Lose (Use?) Your Iconic Illusions

Here is a thought experiment for you (thanks to Clark Troy for the genesis of this):  consider whether you have an iconic figure that figures prominently in your mind, your past, and/or your concept of who you are or what you believe.  This figure typically, although not always, is associated with athletics.

Then listen to this podcast episode of This American Life about Penn State, substitute your Icon for Joe Paterno, and consider yourself as if you were in the position of the people interviewed.  What if all of this controversy involved your hometown, your childhood hero, or challenged a big part of who you were or whom you have become? 

For me, the whole piece hit very close to home because, similar to Michael Weinreb and his experiences with and in State College, I marked the passage of time in my youth by North Carolina basketball events, and my hometown memories (i.e. those forming a good part of my past) might very well be changed irrevocably by an event of this nature.

As you listen, do you find yourself thinking that such a thing could never happen to your Icon?  How would you respond in similar circumstances?  Denial?  Skepticism?  My Icon and My Institution Right or Wrong?

What effect would the damage to or destruction of your Icon/Hero have on you?