We Need More Armstrongs, Fewer Jackos

Apollo astronauts exemplify what US celebs should be
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 21, 2009 9:52 AM CDT
We Need More Armstrongs, Fewer Jackos
Apollo 11 astronauts stand next to their spacecraft in this 1969 photo. From left: Col. Edwin E. Aldrin, Neil Armstrong, and Lt. Michael Collins.   (AP Photo)

It’s unfortunate that American celebrity typically comes in the form of “uninteresting, detestable, loud, or unaccomplished people” like Michael Jackson and Paris Hilton, writes Bret Stephens in the Wall Street Journal. What society needs is more heroes like the Apollo astronauts—celebrities with “the right stuff,” which includes courage and patriotism, but whose “essential ingredient is personal modesty.”

Take Neil Armstrong: He barely talks to the media, “never fails” to give credit to those who helped put him on the moon, and keeps his politics and personal matters to himself. “This is not the way we live now. Modern culture has severed many of the remaining links between merit and celebrity,” Stephens notes. “A century from now, who will be remembered as the early 21st century’s Neil Armstrong?” (Read more celebrity stories.)

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