CAs and Heroism

Watched George Stroumboulopoulos’s The Hour last night. He did an interview with Canada’s Auditor General Sheila Fraser who is widely known for her role in unveiling the sponshorship scandal which rocked Canadian politics during the past few years.

Not sure what other people’s reaction has been but, the first time I saw Fraser, her approach and behaviour impressed me as heroic. I don’t tend to have heroes, idols, or even role models (apart from my mother, my paternal grand-mother, and my wife). But I’m touched by people’s sense of duty and Fraser seems to have exactly that.

This isn’t to say that Fraser is a better person than anybody else. But there’s something truly glorious about her work. Maybe there’s something in her attitude which oozes both self-confidence and selflessness. At any rate, I get the feeling that we need more people like her. And I wish she won’t go into partisan politics.

What’s interesting here is that, in her interview with Stroumboulopoulos, Fraser addressed the issue of how chartered accountants (CAs) are perceived. Typically, accountants are thought to be boring, uncool people. Currently, there’s a campaign in Quebec to fight this perception. Some ad agency (Cossette, most likely) has been putting posters in metro cars with actual CAs pictured as glamourous Stars on the covers of fake gossip magazines. There’s also a TV show about CAs (haven’t watched it but it seems to approach the same idea of glamour).

Can glamour backfire on the definition of what a CA should be?

In anthropology, we often have the “Indiana Jones Effect” as people take anthropology to be all about a sense of adventure. There’s also the “CSI Effect” about forensics, which influences the way some people interpret forensic evidence.

Mass media may tend to produce heroes of a specific kind. Is this process detrimental to the type of heroism displayed by Sheila Fraser and, say, Louise Arbour?

Is heroism defined by the epic genre or is the epic genre defined by heroic characters?

2 thoughts on “CAs and Heroism”

  1. Just want to say when I was home in Toronto over Christmas we were lucky enough to see The Hour live!! It was great and I have to say George Stroumboulopoulos is a fantastic host – he was so relaxed and an amazing speaker.

    I wonder if your question re: hero or genre is a bit like the chicken or egg story? Is there a CSI effect for new media researchers?

  2. I quite like Stroumboulopoulos’s style. I kind of see my own presentation style (say, in-call) in the same frame. A bit quirky, no razzle-dazzle…
    As for the chicken and egg (solved by a Chinese researcher, recently), my questions were about the direction of causality so I could get feedback. But we can think about scenarios in a holistic perspective. Instead of effects, we could think of links and implications. If we’re proposing a heroic model, what does this model go with? Is it necessarily in an epic framework? Is the epic necessarily constructing heroes?
    In other words, do we really need heroes?
    As for new media researchers, I personally don’t know enough about them to tell whether or not there’s a CSI Effect involving those new media researchers. It wouldn’t surprise me at all, though, because new media researchers seem in fact pretty much connected with participants in the world of “traditional media.”
    So… You tell me!

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