My brother once had an illustration in his bedroom that said “Have Heroes”.
However, time and time again our heroes disappoint us.
Today, society “creates” heroes through the power of media. Whether it be television, radio, or the various social media tools on the interwebs we have created heroes to look up to.
We had heroes on the baseball field. We looked up to A-Rob and Sammy Sosa and Roger Clemons. Then we tore them down for taking performance enhancing drugs and “cheating”.
We had heroes on television. Then we threw them on the curb when we found they were cheating on their spouse.
We even had heroes on the radio. But when he said something off colour we branded him a racist.
The latest hero. He used to be a Tiger – the most powerful brand in the world and maybe the most recognized face globally. Now, we can’t wait to forget about him.
Why do we do this? Why do we build up heroes and then destroy them when they reveal themselves to be less than perfect?
The easy response would be to suggest that we shouldn’t create these heroes. We should look up to our teachers, fire-fighters and people we actually know. We should have our dad, mom or brother or sister as our heroes. I’m not disagreeing. But to suggest that we never emotionally invest ourselves into a personality may not be realistic.
I’m a BIG fan of Neil Young. If, for example, I were to find out that he was involved in anything shady. Yes. Initially. But over the long term, I’m not so sure. I’ll give you an example.
Chris Benoit. you remember him? One of the greatest in-ring professional wrestlers of all time. He also killed his son, wife and committed suicide a few years ago. I had a Chris Benoit DVD. some of the greatest performances you’ll ever see. It took me a few years before I could watch it again. But I did.
Why? Because I wasn’t “in love” with the person. I enjoyed the “performance”.
You might like the service you get from a waitress or waiter at a restaurant. Are you interested in what they do outside of work? No. You care about what they are giving to you at that moment. You are thankful for their outstanding service. And you tip them.
Why is it different when that same person is now performing in the “public”? Is it because we choose to fall in love? We can change the channel or leave the stadium whenever we want to. But we choose to stay.
And cheer. Or jeer.