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PostPosted: Fri Feb 02, 2007 7:03 pm 
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That's a little scary, Mahima.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 02, 2007 7:07 pm 
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Its awful. Nowadays its the "in-thing" in India to criticize Gandhi... :(
you see a lot of the teenagers doing that, I'd always hoped they'd outgrow it, but for MBA's and Biz Executives to say this.... :cry:

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 Post subject: Re: Whom do you admire?
PostPosted: Fri Feb 02, 2007 9:09 pm 
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I'm not going to say who on the list I "don't admire", because it feels too much like criticism when that may not be what I intend.

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“Now I'm going to read you a list of people who have lived this century. For each one, please tell me if you consider that person to be one of the people you admire most from this century; a person you admire, but not the most; a person you somewhat admire; or someone you do not admire at all... ”


They supply the list ... it's not people coming up with names on their own.


My comments about each member of the list:

1. Mother Teresa

A lot more controversial than I would have thought! I'm not surprised at all that she tops the list. She is synonymous with charity and selflessness in modern popular perception.

2. Martin Luther King, Jr.

I wonder how admired he would be if he hadn't been assassinated. I'm not saying that he would be less worthy ... in fact it's likely he would be even more worthy of admiration if he had lived longer. But he would have said more things that might be considered controversial to many white Americans in the meantime.

3. John F. Kennedy

It's all about the myth here, I guess. His memory benefits even more from his life being cut short.

4. Albert Einstein

A figure of legendary genius in popular modern perception.

5. Helen Keller

I'm betting many people aren't thinking of the radical socialist Helen Keller when they vote yes on her.

6. Franklin D. Roosevelt

Should the persecution of Japanese Americans and his refusal to integrate the military count against him?

7. Billy Graham

I bet he'd be at the top of the 20th century list for a significant slice of people.

8. Pope John Paul II

Ditto the last comment.

9. Eleanor Roosevelt

Why is she so admired? I am sure she did more than Jackie, a lot more, but I find Jackie's inclusion on this list a lot more understandable from a psycological perspective.

10. Winston Churchill

Americans don't care about how successful his domestic policies were.

11. Dwight Eisenhower

I suppose he seems like a safe, non-controversial president and WWII winning general.

12. Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

If JFK hadn't been killed, she wouldn't be on the list.

13. Mahatma Gandhi

I'm guessing he's not higher just because some people haven't heard of him, hard as that may be to believe.

14. Nelson Mandela

Ditto the last comment.

15. Ronald Reagan

He'll be higher on these lists the more time passes, I'm betting. Right now there are still too many people who voted against him for him to get the same soft-glove treatment Eisenhower and FDR get.

16. Henry Ford

People heard about him in history class, and have vague memories that he invented the car or invented mass production, so why not vote yes on him? I wonder if anyone admires him because he was anti-semetic.

17. Bill Clinton

I think he did well to make the list, for being a living, recently serving president.

18. Margaret Thatcher

A sidecar for many of the Reagan people, I'm guessing.


Last edited by Faramond on Fri Feb 02, 2007 9:38 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 02, 2007 9:17 pm 
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18. Margaret Thatcher

A sidecar for many of the Reagan people, I'm guessing.


Thanks for that image, which I must now go drink out of my brain. :rage: ;)


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 02, 2007 11:20 pm 
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Faramond wrote:
5. Helen Keller

I'm betting many people aren't thinking of the radical socialist Helen Keller when they vote yes on her.


It's the "radical socialist" Helen Keller that I do admire.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 02, 2007 11:28 pm 
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The younger people in India who don't admire Gandhi more than Gates weren't alive when Gandhi did his great works. They are living in a country shaped by Gandhi, benefiting from his effort, and probably don't understand how different it might have been had he failed, or never begun.

It is like the young people now who are anti-trade-union. They simply don't understand what trade unions did for ordinary working people. I believe they are beginning to understand, though.

Faramond, I wouldn't say that FDR "persecuted" Japanese-Americans. Not sure what word I'd use, but persecution isn't it.

Like ax, I am gobsmacked by the "sidecar for Ronald Reagan" remark!!! How apt and how funny and how offended Dame Thatcher would be, I'm sure she thought Ronnie was riding in the sidecar while she steered . . . . :D

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 02, 2007 11:32 pm 
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That was very interesting, Mahima! It's sad that Bill Gates should be more admired, but considering they asked managers etc, it's probably not surprising.
Because I think that uncritical admiration is usually a bit dangerous, and because I'm convinced that Gandhi comes out as highly admirable even after critical scrutiny, I think it would not do any harm if an approach that allowed for critical questioning was taught at schools, for example. But being critical because it is fashionable isn't very clever, either, of course.

Faramond, I like what you've done with the list. :)

Quote:
6. Franklin D. Roosevelt

Should the persecution of Japanese Americans and his refusal to integrate the military count against him?


I didn't know what you mean about the latter, but the first is interesting. Would you say he's to blame for this persecution?


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9. Eleanor Roosevelt

Why is she so admired? I am sure she did more than Jackie, a lot more, but I find Jackie's inclusion on this list a lot more understandable from a psycological perspective.


It seems that, like her husband, humans rights were a question close to her heart.
She worked for the UN in composing the Declaration of Human Rights and was also outspoken against MacCarthy.

I find her admirable for that, though it's not a lot of knowledge, and there's room for finding a good many less admirable things. ;)

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5. Helen Keller

I'm betting many people aren't thinking of the radical socialist Helen Keller when they vote yes on her.


Sounds like I might admire her even more. :D ;)

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 02, 2007 11:42 pm 
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Hobby, I was glad to see Willy Brandt appear on your list. While thinking of all the heads of state that I admire, I think he's probably the only one that would go on my list of "most" admired.

I was unfamiliar with the career of Pearson until you explained, Ath. Without knowing anything about him personally, he sounds as if he might fall into a category similar to that of FDR, whom I do admire, though I'm not sure he would make my list of the 18 most admired people of the last century.

Golda Meir would not be on my list of most admired people. I know too much about here. :( Yitzak Rabin perhaps ... but seriously, is there any such thing as a politician without a closetful of skeletons?

This topic is from earlier, but I think the reason that Jackie Onassis is on the list is because of her superhuman grace and courage following her husband's assassination. She was the strenght of the nation in many ways from his death to his funeral. And then, once her children were grown she continued with her original journalistic profession and I think people admired her for that as well.

Of that list, who would be likely to turn up on my own list of most admired? MLK for sure and Gandhi ... possibly FDR, Billy Graham and Winston Churchhill. My list would include lesser-known lights and some unpopular figures ;) -- Tomás Borge, Raoul Wallenberg, Gamel Abdel Nasser, Ang Sang Suu Kyi ...

Jn

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 02, 2007 11:59 pm 
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Yeah! Jn is here! :love:

Nasser, eh? That is certainly a controversial choice (but one I would agree with). Or possibly Anwar al-Sadat, instead (Sadat was certainly a mixed bag, but so was Nasser). Wallenberg would definitely be on my list, as would Ang Sang Suu Kyi. I had to look up Borge, I'm afraid; I still don't know enough about him to form a real opinion.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 03, 2007 1:31 am 
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I doubt that anyone on anyone's list is going to be fault-free. The "greater" the person, the greater their faults, perhaps. Jnyusa is right, no politician is going to have a skeleton-free closet.

Churchill, who will always be on my list, was far from perfect. But he was the right man for the time, and embodied the bulldog English spirit when it was desperately - a matter of life and death - needed. He was brilliant, passionate, and born to lead Great Britain during the war. His faults are immaterial now, at least to me.

I admired Golda Meir, although I know enough about her to know she was not completely admirable. Yet, I look at that face, and those eyes, and I think I have to admire her strength, and her toughness. A woman like that doesn't come along very often. She was pretty savage. Well, I think she had to be savage, given the times.

Yet Indira Gandhi does not awaken the same depth of admiration in me. She was her father's daughter, which is not a fault, but it leaves me wondering, surely in a nation of 800 million people there can be another ruling family? A lot of bad things were done while she was in power, and some of them were very bad indeed.

Wallenberg, yes, I had forgotten him. And Oskar Schindler.

Ang Sang Suu Kyi is certainly on my list! I can't believe I didn't think of her before. I wonder how many people know who she is?

Athrabeth mentioned Tommy Douglas, and yes, I'd include him on my list. One of our homegrown evangelical socialists, of a kind they don't make any more!

I know Martin Luther King is important to Americans, but he, truthfully, means little to me. As for Billy Graham, well, I don't get it. An American thing, I guess.

When it comes to Eleanor Roosevelt, I am reminded of Hillary Clinton: Mrs. Roosevelt was loathed at least as much as Mrs. Clinton, in her day. Added to that, she had the nerve to be NOT beautiful, not even as pretty as Mrs. Clinton (who does the most with what she has, lookswise) and that made her a figure of ridicule, added to her habit of having opinions and trying to "do good". She had one hell of a time, drawing the fire of those who hated her husband (and he WAS hated) and who thought she was an ugly, interfering old bat. She did what she could.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 03, 2007 2:19 am 
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For those who might not be familiar with some of these individuals.

Raoul Gustav Wallenberg was a Swedish diplomat. In the later stages of World War II, he worked at great personal risk to save thousands of Hungarian Jews from the Holocaust by issuing them protective passports from the Swedish embassy. The passports, identified people as Swedish nationals awaiting repatriation. As Budapest was liberated by the Russians, he was arrested on direct order from Stalin. Officially, he died in the Lubyanka prison in Moscow in 1947, but there were uncomfirmed sightings of him as late as 1987 (when he would have been 75).

Aung San Suu Kyi is a nonviolent pro-democracy activist and leader of the National League for Democracy in Myanmar (Burma), and a noted prisoner of conscience. A devout Buddhist, Suu Kyi won the Rafto Prize and the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought in 1990 and in 1991 was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her peaceful and non-violent struggle under a repressive military dictatorship.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 03, 2007 3:48 am 
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vison wrote:
I doubt that anyone on anyone's list is going to be fault-free. The "greater" the person, the greater their faults, perhaps.


I've been thinking along these same lines myself. Admiring anybody can be pretty problematic. One the one hand, it's unrealistic to expect them to be faultless. But on the other hand, it can get kinda dicey when you try to separate the parts of a person you admire from the parts you dislike. People are really complicated creatures, and our greatest faults usually sprout from the same place as our greatest strengths.

Getting back to Mother Theresa, for example. Most of us applaud her dedication to caring for the poor, but condemn her working against making birth control available to those same poor people. And sure, it's easy for us to see those as two separate, and maybe even incompatible, issues. But I'm sure MT didn't see it that way. Her dedication to helping the poor was a direct result of the strength of her faith in the teachings of the Catholic Church. So was her staunch opposition to birth control. For her, it was all one big issue of whether or not you live out what the Church teaches.

To get a little more complicated, let's look at Bill Clinton. Now I'm not sure if I admire Bill Clinton, but I do find him to be a fascinating figure; a character study in the usefulness of codependancy. (Note that this is all just one amateur pop-psychologist's observation and not meant to be definitive.) His behavior exhibits a deep need for what is often termed "validation"; a need for approval or love or affection. These personal demons eventually drove him to improper (and rather stupid) sexual indiscretions, and then to avoid confronting the inevitable scandal honestly. But demons are just fallen angels after all. That same need for validation is almost certainly what drove a "poor white trash" kid from an alcoholic abusive home in Arkansas to achieve all the positive things he did. He had no familial connections or money, but on the strength of his hard work, brains and political skills he went from poor white trash to the White House. And once he got there, he got most of his goals implemented. I admire those accomplishments. But knowing what I know about the man, I'm not sure if I can admire Bill Clinton himself.

It's a whole lot easier to have heroes if we keep them at a distance. Like maybe up on a pedestal or something. You know, somewhere where we can see them so clearly.

BTW, I come from a poor white trash background myself, so I'm allowed to use the term with impunity.
But don't the rest of y'all try it.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 03, 2007 4:43 am 
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Because I think that uncritical admiration is usually a bit dangerous, and because I'm convinced that Gandhi comes out as highly admirable even after critical scrutiny, I think it would not do any harm if an approach that allowed for critical questioning was taught at schools, for example. But being critical because it is fashionable isn't very clever, either, of course.


Am yet to come across any figure in Indian history who is "uncritically admired". We Indians are argumentative by nature and culture - will not take anything as a "given". :D But yes, I get your point - its just that I think its because of lack of knowledge and the fact that he is talked about only in Textbooks, and in a very non-interesting way. I cannot say I admired him the amount I do now until I read his book "My experiments with Truth".

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Yet Indira Gandhi does not awaken the same depth of admiration in me. She was her father's daughter, which is not a fault, but it leaves me wondering, surely in a nation of 800 million people there can be another ruling family? A lot of bad things were done while she was in power, and some of them were very bad indeed.


Its interesting that you can admire Golda Meir and not Indira Gandhi... the reason could be that a lot of things Indira did were not really "needed". I have very mixed feelings about her too. As for the "ruling family" thing, it has been over and done with for quite a few years. It took a while for other political figures to develop in India, we are after all only a few years old as an Independent Republic.

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Ang Sang Suu Kyi is certainly on my list! I can't believe I didn't think of her before.

DITTO!!!

Jn, :hug:

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 03, 2007 4:46 am 
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It's a whole lot easier to have heroes if we keep them at a distance. Like maybe up on a pedestal or something. You know, somewhere where we can see them so clearly.


Yeah, thats true. And also very sad, I feel. Why can't we be less judgmental and more forgiving humans?

Edited: As I had somehow quoted my earlier post again in this one!!

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Last edited by Inanna on Sat Feb 03, 2007 11:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 03, 2007 5:50 pm 
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Hello Jny! :)

Jny wrote:
Hobby, I was glad to see Willy Brandt appear on your list.


I'm thrilled to see someone knows any of my German names. :D

Mahima wrote:
Am yet to come across any figure in Indian history who is "uncritically admired". We Indians are argumentative by nature and culture - will not take anything as a "given".


That sounds like excellent tradition. :D
Yes, I was thinking of the title "father of the nation" that you had mentioned, and my worry is that once someone is referred to in such a way, the only response that people are encouraged to have would be :bow:
But you are right about the textbook effect. Last week I was talking with some people about some literature classics and while a few people said "but that's great stuff", others only said "we read that at school - eeewwwww".

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 03, 2007 6:55 pm 
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Angbasdil wrote:
It's a whole lot easier to have heroes if we keep them at a distance. Like maybe up on a pedestal or something. You know, somewhere where we can see them so clearly.


I honestly believe that people are too imperfect to be elevated to the level of "heroes" - if we think otherwise about a given person, it's probably because we just don't know enough about them yet.

To me, "hero" is too high a standard for a human to live up to. It's better left to ancient mythology and modern storybooks. I find it safer to look for discrete aspects of people that I can admire. Anything else is setting myself up for disappointment when the hero inevitably fails to live up to his or her impossible burden.

Perhaps one of the greatest disappointments of growing up is accepting that every human is fallible, even the ones we especially place on a pedestal growing up - parents, priests, rabbis, doctors, teachers, and so on. Why relive that disappointment with this adult-designation of "hero"? Even though "hero" may not imply "infallible," it does connote an expectation that the "hero" is well-roundedly worthy of praise, IMO.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 03, 2007 7:30 pm 
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There are heroes, and there are saints. One is found primarily in myth and legend, the other in haggiography, but both are more common in libraries than anywhere else. ;)

Seriously though, it is easy to conflate the larger-than-life quality that some people possess with being admirable. After all, if you never notice someone, how is one to admire them? But just as when you inflate the balloon, the wrinkles all seemingly disappear, so too the risk of it bursting runs higher.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 03, 2007 9:43 pm 
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Just wanna say that I've never heard of Ang Sang Suu Kyi, but her name starts with "Ang" so she must be awesome. :D


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 03, 2007 9:44 pm 
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Hmmm. Odd, I'd assumed that monkeys weren't eligible for the list.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 03, 2007 9:59 pm 
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yovargas wrote:
Hmmm. Odd, I'd assumed that monkeys weren't eligible for the list.


That's not at all funny, yov. In fact, I find it quite offensive.

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