As a child, youth, and young man I was invited to admire various heroes. Idols of history or current culture; Gordy Howe, Elvis, Churchill, John Wayne. As time went on they either rose or fell in my estimation according to new information that was disclosed. Also as time went on I learned to seek out truth and did not take the cultural advertising at face value.
It was an easy thing to do – Canada was a free country and you could ask, read, speak, and think pretty much as you wished. You might be wrong or right but it was your decision which road to follow.
Same here in Australia – substitute Don Bradman for Gordy Howe and do what you like with the rest. People might say you nay but that was just their voice and you could still read and speak freely.
I eventually ended up with a revised list of people I admired or wanted to emulate. And an equal list of those who caused me revulsion. They’re my lists -and private; if I haven’t thrown a rock at you, you’re probably on the first one. But the fact that I revised them eventually made me curious to see whether other people had also gotten past childhood idolatry. In some cases I fear not.
This was particularly poignant considering my determination to finish reading ” Mein Kampf ” in the Manheim translation. It was no fun. As I read it, I was drawn to wonder how much it influenced the thinking of people with whom I’ve had personal contact. Was something published in 1933 still echoing in 2018? Did they regard Hitler as a personal hero back then, and did they secretly cling to that 80 years later…?
I’d started reading the book to find a reason for other people’s behaviour – so far that was inconclusive. But eventually I became aware that my interpretation of it may have been at great variance to how it was seen by them.