I have to admit, I wasn’t surprised to hear that Britney Spears’ younger sister, Jamie Lynn, announced that she was pregnant. However, what DID surprise me was that Jessie was aware of it, and seemed unphased by it. The young Spears is the leading actress in one of the shows Jessie watches on Nickelodeon, “Zoey 101.”
Why is anyone else really surprised by this?
We’ve already had the discussion several times with Jessie, explaining the difference between fantasy and real life. She’s never been big on Britney Spears and made the comment once that she was “a bad girl who made bad choices.” But now I feel a little sorry for Jessie because I know she liked Jamie Lynn Spears because of the show … and she’s now lost (what she considered) a role model.
Honestly, I don’t like her looking up to most anyone in Hollywood. There are of course a few exceptional people who I think would make good role models, but obviously they aren’t starring in the latest kid shows and movies.
Where are our role models?
I’ve always thought that the best role models aren’t someone that you see in the movies, or on TV. They should be everyday people. I was wandering around The Terminal this morning and ran across a post from a couple months back about a Birmingham native who was a fine example of what I thought a role model should be: Willie J. Perry.
Each night during the early 1980s, a pimped-out, maroon and white 1971 Ford Thunderbird with six antennas and fluorescent neon lights that illuminated over-sized tailfins cruised the streets of Birmingham. The contraption was customized to resemble the Batmobile, complete with the Caped Crusader’s bat-shaped logo. A sign on each door read: “Rescue Ship . . . Will Help Anyone In Distress.”
…The driver of this vehicle was Willie Perry, a Good Samaritan who proudly cast himself as “Batman.” Perry spent evenings and weekends (by day he was general manager of window distributor J.F. Day & Co.) cruising streets and highways for stranded motorists in need of roadside assistance. Perry would also pick up drunks and whisk them straight home (or to other bars) without accepting so much as a dollar in compensation.
(quote courtesy of Ed Reynolds’ article in Black & White)
I’ve read several things about Mr. Perry over the last few years, and he’s always stood out in my mind as “one of the good guys,” someone you would WANT your children to look up to, the kind of person that would make you want to be a better person yourself. That’s the kind of person I want my child to look up to.
So where are our role models? If you ask me, most people need open their eyes and take a good look around. Chances are, you have a superhero in your midst already.
Resources and Credits
- “Take a Moment: Remembering the original Batman of Birmingham“, The Terminal
- Willie Perry entry in the BhamWiki
- “The Batman of Birmingham” (Parts one and two), Lou Anders
- “Runaway Bridegroom,” Black & White
- Photos of the Batmobile, So It Goes Photography
- “Sad Days for Batmobile,” “Birmingham’s Batman Helped Those in Need; His ‘Rescue Ship’ Still Survives,” The Birmingham News