In a recent NY Times blog, Stanley Fish (renown Postmodern scholar) reflects on his childhood and adulthood heroes: Ted Williams and Frank Sinatra. Interestingly, he points out that both men were, at times, quite unheroic in their treatment of women and in their violent public outbursts. After offering some interesting anecdotes, Fish comments on why Ted Williams and Frank Sinatra are so exemplary–-both were zealously committed to their art. He admires their commitment to their crafts, hitting baseballs and singing songs.
The science of hitting and the singing of songs by Ted Williams and Frank Sinatra have impressed Fish and countless others. Dismissing their personal vices and virtues, Fish glories in his heroes’ excellent craftsmanship. He writes: "But it is neither their vices nor their virtues that appeal to me. It is their single-minded dedication to craft…" To be sure, Sinatra and Williams are legends in their vocations, but should we so easily dismiss character from craftsmanship?
It is arguable that both Sinatra and Williams lacked in character because they were so committed so music and baseball. In their zeal for excellence and fame, friends and family suffered. Nothing could trump the craft. Character took a backseat to vocational glory. Often, it is precisely because we are so committed to a thing, to a vocation, that our character crumbles. We make an ordinary thing extraordinary instead of worshiping the extraordinary Creator with character and craft.
Jonathan Dodson (c)