Out Of The Mouths Of Babes

Burgeoning journalist Damon Weaver doesn't mince words: in a no-holds-barred MSNBC interview earlier this afternoon, the 11-year-old gives his...unvarnished take on role models.

While we kind of like that Weaver refuses to be told how to conduct an interview, if this is actually a look into the average smart kid's mind, well, huh. (Although, we gotta say, we're kinda feeling for the kid: I mean, where do you go from interviewing the president? It's gotta be a letdown.)



Why does he say that she can't be his role model because she's a woman? I find that disappointing and, at another level, disturbing. First, role models don't necessarily need to fit your gender, anymore than they have to fit your religion or race. A role model shouldn't be a person you want to BE, because shouldn't we want to be ourselves? Instead, a role model could be a person whose situation (job, personality...) you admire and wish to perhaps emulate. I would count Frank McCourt, Jon Stewart, and Ryan Murphy among my role models. Also, Nora Ephron, Mindy Kaling, JK Rowling....Also, people often count actors as role models as well. I mean, I don't want to be an actor or celebrity, but there's definitely a quality about them or the characters they play that I connect to. Like Meryl Streep's exuberance in every character she plays (I don't really care for her much in interviews), or Tim Gunn's (and my old art teacher's!) incredible balance of stern and care in his teaching.

But I find it disturbing because perhaps Damon Weaver feels that having a female role model is ridiculous not because he isn't female, but because their being female prevents him from connecting with them or from achieving as much as he or any male role model could.