cur-mud-geon: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner
Icon: A person or thing regarded as a representative symbol of something.
The death of John McCullough, formerly of Channel 4 television’s news department, reported yesterday caused me to think about those iconic people in our world.
He was, by all reports, thought of as a “news” icon by other members of his profession in our area of the country. He was no nonsense and always the consummate professional. He never, to my knowledge, misreported a story or tried to create something from nothing just to fill air time.
Are there as many potentially iconic people around today or have we sort of moved beyond the time where one person stood out as the epitome of his or her chosen field? Those whom we might think of probably are in the public eye in one way or another. Maybe there is a politician that seemed to be the class of his or her time; or, a member of the clergy or a renowned jurist or a physician who was the recognized head of his class.
Is it possible for a living person to be an icon? It might be possible but we don’t seem to think about the living in the sense of being an icon. When I think of the human icons in my lifetime I have always thought of someone in the past, and not in the present. Maybe that is a fault in my thought process or maybe it is as it should be. Maybe a person shouldn’t be thought of as an icon while they are still among us. Maybe that positioning ought to properly be reserved for remembering the icon after their passing.
There seem to be similarities in those whom I think of as possible icons. They had achieved in their chosen field, they were not flamboyant “look at me” types, they did good deeds for others without regard to what that would do for themselves, and they were people whom you would like to be around on a personal level.
There is nothing that says an icon has to necessarily be a good person, either. There are certainly “representative symbols” of things that are very bad, but it seems we typically think about those whom we respect as opposed to those whom we abhor when considering their iconic status.