Roughly Speaking podcast: Halloween special: Best of horror movie music (episode 168)

Death of Osama bin Laden (2011)

The selling of a hero

The selling of a hero

The Lone Ranger knew what he was doing when he inspired the famous inquiry as he rode off into the sunset: "Who was that masked man?"

The American tradition of mystery and modesty surrounding our heroes, especially those in the military, has well served the notion that anonymous bravery and other self-sacrifice for the nation best suit those who put on the uniform.

That's why the incredibly crass exploitation in a fund-raising scheme involving the Navy Seal said to have shot and killed Osama bin Laden was such a shocker -- not only as a violation of good taste but also of respect for the military.

The shameless caper was advanced by a well-known conservative...