Spiderman came to Hastings this week. More specifically, Tom Holland was in my town shooting a new anthology series for Apple TV.  Throngs of kids lined up in a marked off area to catch a glimpse of him. When he finally arrived, clad in period 70’s garb, they screamed.  Calling out his name, filming his every move, clamoring for him to come by and say hello – which to his credit he did.

Early that same day, I was listening to this interview with the author Michael Lewis on the podcast, Smartless – hosted by three actors, Jason Bateman, Will Arnett and Sean Hayes.

During their conversation, Lewis mentioned the lack of appreciation. or perhaps fame, that is afforded people within public service. Their contributions to society, most would agree, outstrip the enjoyment of a Marvel movie. He referenced the Sammies, an awards program called “the Oscars for government service.”  

One example of a nominee was an oceanographer with the Coast Guard, whose career was spent studying how objects drift in oceans.  An important application of the mathematical model he created is the precision with which we can now find people lost at sea. Of course, Mr. Arthur A. Allen is not famous at all.  As Lewis pointed out, not even the people who were recovered at sea have any idea of the science or the person that led to their being found. 

Fame is not the end all be all. It comes with many downsides that often play out before our eyes. But it does afford a certain platform and a degree of power, that can influence our children and the culture in which they are raised.

I know very little about Tom Holland. He seems like a genuinely good guy from all counts and is a fine actor. The role that brought him into our town is part of a series that brings to light our history of addressing mental health issues.

Which brings me to my last point. Today we released our fifteenth episode of our podcast Attribution. It features perhaps our most famous guest, Daryl McDaniels — one of the founders of the legendary hip hop group, Run DMC. We discuss his struggles with fame and mental health and how he uses the platform one affords to address the important issue of the other. It was an incredible conversation, one I hope you’ll listen to.

In the meantime, sure get excited if Hollywood comes to your town or into your living room. But perhaps also help make someone else more famous.  Spread the word about some unsung hero in your community who is doing something meaningful for others.

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