Whatever Became of Character

Charlie Austin, WBZ-TV 1944-2018 (Credit: WBZ-TV)

Charlie Austin, WBZ-TV 1944-2018 (Credit: WBZ-TV)

BOSTON, MA (WBZ-AM) --  Perhaps you’ve heard by now of the passing of Charlie Austin, the longtime WBZ-TV reporter, who left behind many, many friends and admirers. 

One of them, former WBZ photojournalist Nat Whittemore, referred to Charlie in the obituary that  was aired Tuesday on WBZ-TV as a “man of high character.”

And it struck me that you don’t hear that word – character – being used much anymore.

When I think of character, I picture someone with strong moral standards and positive, appealing personal characteristics – someone like Charlie Austin, a warm, intelligent man with a strong commitment to family, faith and high professional standards.

And by that definition, we as a culture don’t put as much emphasis on character as we used to.

Popular culture doesn’t have much use for it – even the heroes you see in movies and on TV are often riddled with character flaws. That’s what makes them “interesting,” you see.

I don’t know when character stopped mattering in politics; even before Bill Clinton shattered the myth that voters cared about it, we had top political leaders with questionable character; we just didn’t know all the sordid details like we do today.

And on the internet, where abusiveness, vulgarity and hate reign supreme, character is a punch line at best.

But Charlie Austin’s life reminds us that character remains a focus for many of us.

And you have to ask yourself – what am I doing to ensure I’ll be remembered as someone of “high character” when I pass on?

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. Listen to his previous podcasts on iHeartRadio. 

Listen to Jon's commentary:

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