Zimbardo’s Followup to the Colbert Report

zimcolbert1.jpgPhil just put a comment on the Colbert post from earlier in the week and I thought I’d repost it here to make it easier to find.

Dear fans of the Hero Workshop

I was hoping to lead Colbert around to the subject of everyday, or ordinary heroes, and how our society desperately needs to be building a nation of young heroes ready to take on evil and conquer or prevent it.

He got too hung up on the Lucifer “myth” and at the end was really agitated when I said maybe God was wrong and Lucifer was right in not honoring Adam given he ended up as so easily corruptible by a snake in the garden. When I chided him as likely doing well in Sunday School, his retort was, “I TEACH SUNDAY SCHOOL, MOTHER (***edited out for the kids in the audience)!” Partially blipped but it is there, and hardly becoming of a Catholic lay Sunday School Teacher, for sure.

I am in synch with the work that Matt Langdon is doing and support and encourage its dissemination, hoping to interest rich people to fund it so it can spread.

Visitors to this site might want to check out chp 16 in my new book, THE LUCIFER EFFECT, really cheap paperback edition on Amazon.com, and also my web site http://www.LuciferEffect.com where there is a section celebrating heroism.

To be an ordinary hero requires only 3 things, a situation of evil or danger, an action to remedy it when others are passive or perpetrators, and a socio-centric focus on others and surrenderng our usual ego-centric focus for a while in that particular situation.

Think you are a hero-in-waiting, and be ready to act when your moment calls you to action.
Phil Z.

Update: This post has been picked up by No Fact Zone and Television Without Pity thanks to Ms. Interpreted. You can follow the comments there. Also to those visiting from there, feel free to comment here. Phil reads the blog so may be able to answer your questions.

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4 Responses to Zimbardo’s Followup to the Colbert Report

  1. siobhan February 16, 2008 at 8:21 pm #

    Dear Dr Zimbardo,
    You came off quite well on the show. I hope you can let go of the offense you took.
    Yes Colbert was funny and funnier than you. But that is at it should be. It is a comedy show that uses serious topics, but in point of fact, you did know that you were appearing on a COMEDY show on a comedy channel, so I think you should try to lighten up. I actually think that the fact that Colbert is a Sunday school teacher in real life yet can make jokes and swear, points to his flexibility and humanness…he uses satire and irony to make a point. He does on-camera work day in and day out so he is relaxed and funny, but you held your own quite well. You got a lot of the major points across well before the Lucifer conversation began and after all the title of your book is “The Lucifer Effect”
    You went on the show to get publicity. You got lots and lots of that, so mission accomplished, be happy! You are a hero! You put yourself out there and that is
    your whole point. So enjoy and don’t be sad! Wishing you all the best. Siobhan aka Lightbearer P.S. Maybe you will consider changing your followup
    comment. It comes across as a little bitter and sheepish – Think about rewriting it from a hero’s viewpoint!

  2. Steph February 18, 2008 at 12:29 am #

    Thanks for sending me this link! That’s a very interesting response and I’m glad to have read it! I agree with Zimbardo completely that we need more heroes, more people willing to stand up against evil in the world rather than becoming part of it.

  3. Kit February 18, 2008 at 9:26 am #


    I do agree with you partly , but I think you have missed the point as to what is being done here, by your comment that: “You went on the show to get publicity. You got lots and lots of that, so mission accomplished, be happy! You are a hero!” Dr. Zimbardo I am sure would agree as well, his act of going on the Colbert Report was not heroic in any shape or form…but his message was important, it’s quite possible to have the two work in tandem, an act of heroism is a rare thing and should not be trivialized, that is the whole issue of our culture today and our attempts to encourage heroism in children.


  1. “I *teach* Sunday School, motherf*#ker!” - February 14, 2008

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