Thursday 25 October 2012


As a society there is nothing we love more than the existence and exultation of a hero – then again, upon second thought, perhaps we love the fall of a hero even more. We are fickle beings aren’t we? Of late there have been many heroes falling to earth in the realm of public figures. Unless you have been living under a rock, the cycling world has lost it’s premier cycling legend in Lance Armstrong – or taken him down in jaw dropping fashion by revealing his seemingly true colors - and the celebrity world over here has discovered that Jimmy Savile, a legendary TV presenter, philanthropist and DJ was leading a very sinister and macabre double life that resulted in the abuse of countless innocent victims.

Funny enough, it is not the lives of these men or their sins for that matter that interest me most. Both rose to fame and were heralded as heroes in their own right: for their talent, their charisma and their presence in the community. Then of course they both abused their position not to mention the the trust of the public in spectacular egotistical fashion and are now being reviled for their very existence. It’s a fabulous cliché really and one that sadly, we see all the time.

But what interests me most about all of this is why we love and need a hero in the first place. Perhaps it is our need for perfection (it must exist damn it!), and desire to hold something up upon high so that we can all can marvel at its supposed magnificence (for the record, the fact that Savile was deemed heroic for giving so much to children, and as it turns out was abusing the very people he was heralded for helping makes me want to dig him up and kill him myself). I mean, it’s no surprise that we as humans always need something to strive for, the far off goal or the lofty dream that gives us hope. Especially in a world where most likely the jeans will never fit, the miles won’t be run, and the basket we will never make in our wildest dreams without a step ladder. It's a tad jaded, but let's be honest, as we age, we have to adjust our dreams just a little bit. 

I don’t really have a hero. Actually scratch that, my mother who is still sane after raising five kids, count them FIVE, and always looked gorgeous and gracious doing it, is my hero. I’ve got one and I often contemplate leaving the house wearing a pillowcase with a paper bag over my head because my hair looks like a birds nest and my eye bags are darker than my coffee.

But as far as athletes or actors or politicians (ha ha ha haaaa!) go, I’ve never subscribed to the hero idolatry. For me these so called 'heroes' were just humans with a great work ethic or an admirable drive to succeed and ideals to go along with it. For me the simple label of hero has always been a dangerous thing. It connotes a flawlessness that in real life just doesn’t exist; a comic book veneer if you will where this chosen one may have a dark and dangerous past, but it is somehow overlooked or even embraced cause they are just so damn heroic in their actions and intentions. Let’s face it, in real life it doesn’t really work that way. Batman would be considered a social misfit with a serious dark streak and I don’t think people would kindly take to him showing up in a rubber suit and a scary ass car that breaks the speed limit and causes massive property destruction.

Hero or not, I suppose for many people this week, it comes down to the simple fact that they learned another athlete or public figure was not what they said they were. Another human being showed that they were just that. Human. Then again, when you put a Lance Armstrong next to a Jimmy Savile, somehow Lance doesn’t come off as looking so bad, now does he? Hell, I’d need a boatload of drugs too to get me up a steep hill for six hours on a saddle the size of a banana. 

Happy Friday.

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