Monday, September 21, 2009

While we were jerking off.

While we were lamenting the loss of a variety of third-rate talents, posting endless Facebook comments about nobody putting baby in the corner, mooning over our loss of youth, a genuine hero died in North Carolina last week.

Horace Carter died last Wednesday at 88 in Wilmington, North Carolina. While still in his 20s, Carter started a weekly newspaper in Tabor City, NC. The Ku Klux Klan was ascendant in that town and staged numerous recruitment rallies. Carter publicly opposed them. Over the course of three years he wrote and ran over 100 articles reporting on Klan activities. This in the face of threats to himself, his family and advertisers who pulled ads from his paper.

For his work, Carter won a Pulitzer Prize for public service.

I know I watched too many Henry Fonda movies growing up, so I am infected with more than a small dose of idealism. But it seems to me that we in the industry do have a choice. We can pander to the lowest common denominator and produce work like Bud's "I like it in the can," or we try to do a little better.

I realize we are beholden to our clients. I know we are pushing the rock up the hill. And maybe, in fact, there's nothing we can do. Except personally. I think we can think a bit less about Patrick Swayze. And a bit more about W. Horace Carter.


Unknown said...

The real heroes often die unnoticed.

Kelly said...

Lovely. Thanks, George.