To Be A Hero

I enjoy DeviantArt. I’ll not lie.

A lot of my characters start out on DeviantArt when I go searching through some of the awesome artists on the website. It is a lot of fun to build a history around an image. I’ve also made no secret of the fact that I love webcomics. I was searching Ian Sampson’s gallery when I cam across a Legend of Zelda comic.

Being a BIG Zelda fan, I went ahead and read through it. One comic in particular caught my eye:

link63comic0006_by_tran4of3-d6tjx50

Yes, Link’s a woman. We’re looking at Rule 63 as a source of THAT particular element. For once, though, it is tastfully done and not horribly over-boobed (which tends to happen with such Memes).

Anyhow, I got to reading the comic and Page 6 really stood out. It’s an interesting statement, and one that I thought I would share thoughts on. Link’s speech is pretty straight forward:

“Legend says that only the Legendary Hero can wield the Sword of Evil’s Bane. But the truth is anyone can wield it. Anyone can fight evil. But everyone is so afraid. Everyone wants a hero, but no one wants to rise up to be one.”

The more I think about it, the more I tend to agree with that. Earlier this week I worked on how we are giving traditionally villanous characters heroic traits. And perhaps this is one of the reason.

I mean, consider this: We now villainize our heroes – both in real life and in fiction.

Look at most of our new broadcasts. I’ve grabbed some headlines off of a local news site to take a look:

• Dangerously cold temperatures expected in Kalamazoo this weekend and well into next week

• WMU men’s basketball team wins at Kent State for first time since 1996 with 75-59 victory

• Report: Runner seriously hurt after being struck by pickup truck near Battle Creek
• Kalamazoo-area schools canceling Friday classes because of winter storm
• Report: Mary J. Blige’s father critically hurt in Battle Creek stabbing

• Police find Kalamazoo man with dementia who walked away from Winchell neighborhood home

• Man stabbed by ex-girlfriend in Battle Creek in critical condition
• Traffic alert: Eastbound I-94 closed for several miles in Berrien County
• Westbound I-94 backed up at M-66 due to crash

 

Of those 9 articles, 7 of them focus on the negatives. The content of the articles is even better. For being ‘neutral’ reporting, there is a great deal of negativity in the majority of the articles – especially the stabbing one. Even the one about finding the demented man has 4 other articles linked within it dealing with the same incident that focus on blaming different parties for the problem.

The same thing holds true for our heroes both fictional and not.

I liked the Christopher Nolan Batman movies, but I don’t really agree that the Batman we see there is the kind of Batman that I have always pictured. I’ve read some of the Batman comics and in very few of them (Pre New 52 at least. I haven’t read much of the more recent stuff) would I see Batman moving immediately to his fists as a solution to a problem. Nolan’s Batman seems to be much more about shoving his fist in someone’s face than he is about solving dilemmas and out thinking his opponent. We see some glimpses of that, but isn’t really a focus of the character, nor is it a significant part of him. It does make for some amazing choreography and some excellent music, but it just doesn’t feel like I imagine Batman to feel.

On our real life front, we see far more articles attacking those we are supposed to admire than we see praising them. Do a quick search for ‘U.S. Congress, President Obama, (Insert Sports Name), (Insert Military Branch), (Insert Local Police Units)’ and you’ll find that those who are supposed to be our helpers and our heroes spend far more time in the press being bullied and biased than they do being admired or non-judgmentally discussed. I have no problem with criticism of our public officials and support, but there is a difference between being criticized and being demonized and we are definitely more on the demonize side of things in most of our major press.

So, is it really any wonder that no one wants to step forward and be a hero. Given how our society treats heroes, why would anyone want to pull that sword from the pedestal and declare for all their intent to slay evil and stop the bad guy? Doing so would be painting a target on your chest – and not only for the villain and their posse. It would also be an open invitation for the hatred and ridicule of the masses. We don’t have room for heroes in a society that focuses on the evils and negativity of itself. The notion that we can rise above that is so foreign and/or so difficult that we just abandon it.

It’s easier this way. Really, it is. That doesn’t make it right and it is part of why I work in the classroom that I do, but it is a constant uphill battle.

No wonder we don’t want to be a hero.

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