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Exploring the Boundaries of Heroes, Celebrities and Role Models after 9/11: Lessons from Shanksville
Unformatted Document Text:  Lessons from Shanksville p. 15 passenger and crew as heroes were more likely to visit the Shanksville memorial site to be inspired (R 2 = .41, p < .001) and/or to bring closure to this tragedy (R 2 = .35, p < .001). Discussion Social critics have derided the rise of a celebrity culture in the United States, a culture where the boundary between entertainment and reality and the boundary between celebrity role models and heroes are blurred. In this study, we provide evidence that the 9/11 terrorist attacks might have shifted these boundaries. Our results indicate that people strongly identified with the passengers and crew who thwarted the goals of the terrorists on board United Airlines Flight 93. Most of our respondents saw the passengers and crew as heroes, prompting them to come to Shanksville to pay tribute to them for their heroism. Results also indicate that people changed the kind of people they looked to as role models. Before 9/11, more of the respondents looked to celebrities as legitimate role models. After the attack, there was a strong shift to elevating fire fighters, police officers, and military personnel as role models, no doubt a consequence of the heroism shown by these three groups in fighting against terrorism at the risk of their own lives. However, our results do not indicate that the celebrity culture of the U.S. is necessarily weakened by 9/11. Viewing the passengers and crew on board UA Flight 93 as heroes did not preclude people from also viewing celebrities as heroes and important role models. Thus, although celebrities may have to take a back seat to others who are currently more important role models for people given the current political and social climate, their great social influence may not be diminished.

Authors: Brown, William. and Fraser, Benson.
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Lessons from Shanksville
p. 15
passenger and crew as heroes were more likely to visit the Shanksville memorial site to
be inspired (R
2
= .41, p < .001) and/or to bring closure to this tragedy (R
2
= .35, p < .001).
Discussion
Social critics have derided the rise of a celebrity culture in the United States, a
culture where the boundary between entertainment and reality and the boundary between
celebrity role models and heroes are blurred. In this study, we provide evidence that the
9/11 terrorist attacks might have shifted these boundaries. Our results indicate that people
strongly identified with the passengers and crew who thwarted the goals of the terrorists
on board United Airlines Flight 93. Most of our respondents saw the passengers and crew
as heroes, prompting them to come to Shanksville to pay tribute to them for their
heroism.
Results also indicate that people changed the kind of people they looked to as role
models. Before 9/11, more of the respondents looked to celebrities as legitimate role
models. After the attack, there was a strong shift to elevating fire fighters, police officers,
and military personnel as role models, no doubt a consequence of the heroism shown by
these three groups in fighting against terrorism at the risk of their own lives.
However, our results do not indicate that the celebrity culture of the U.S. is
necessarily weakened by 9/11. Viewing the passengers and crew on board UA Flight 93
as heroes did not preclude people from also viewing celebrities as heroes and important
role models. Thus, although celebrities may have to take a back seat to others who are
currently more important role models for people given the current political and social
climate, their great social influence may not be diminished.


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