Dowd was writing of the overall decline in our moral standards, our societal loss of values and character. Here's the paragraph that struck me. It's a quotation from James Davison Hunter, a professor of religion, culture and social theory at the University of Virginia and the author of “The Death of Character.
“We’ve moved from a culture of character to a culture of personality. The etymology of the word character is that it’s deeply etched, not changeable in all sorts of circumstances. We don’t want to think of ourselves as transgressive or bad, but we tend to personalize our understanding of the good.”
Too often, I think, we in the ad industry create personalities for brands rather than helping brands uncover their character (that is if they have any.) We also fall for agencies and agency leaders who are personalities, rather than people of character.
Character, as Hunter writes, endures. It does not blow with the wind. It is resolute. It makes tough decisions.
Not long ago, Cory Booker, the mayor of Newark, NJ and future president ran into a burning house to save a neighbor. His security team had told him not to.
Booker sums life up pretty well: “We have to fight the dangerous streams in culture, the consumerism and narcissism and me-ism that erode the borders of our moral culture.We can’t put shallow celebrity before core decency. We have to have a deeper faith in the human spirit. As they say, he who has the heart to help has the right to complain.”