Quick! I Need A Hero!

When I was a young guy, say, 10 or 12 years old, I had my heroes. Like most kids that age I looked to sports figures when it came to someone I wanted to mold myself after. I grew up in Michigan so I looked up to people like Bo Schembechler, coach of the University of Michigan football team. Dave Bing of the Detroit Pistons was up there, Al Kaline of the Detroit Tigers, and I even dared to include a teacher I had in fourth grade on my short list of heroes. Back then heroes were easy to define because you never had to go back and defend them or make excuses for them because they played by the rules. They didn’t cause controversy, they didn’t get arrested and they never broke the law. What the HELL has happened to our HEROES?
 Even as I grew into my teenage rebellion years I sought out Ted Nugent as my hero. Ted was a wild, guitar slinging maniacal rocker in his day and he was from Detroit, what I consider as my hometown. He was crazy, he was intense, but he was also sober, never did drugs, and wouldn’t tolerate any of his band doing them either. Ted inspired me to pick up a guitar and teach myself how to play. More importantly he taught me some gool ol’ Midwestern values and he taught me to believe in myself and pursue everything I do with passion. These things have stayed with me throughout my life (thanks Ted!).

How can a 10-year-old pick his heroes today? What sort of algorhythm does a kid have to write now to safely choose someone to put up there on that shelf? It’s nearly impossible! Whether your hero is an athlete, an actor, a scientist (it’s documented that even Albert Einstein experimented with LSD), an astronaut or even your Uncle Barney, chances are they have either done something in their past that will one day become common knowledge or they will eventually do something stupid in the future that will bring them down a few notches. No one is safe. People used to be safe, but not anymore.
Why has this whole thing changed so much? What’s the damn problem here? Why do I have to withdraw my faith and trust from A-Rod and deposit it into someone else just to eventually have to withdraw and reinvest in someone else again in the future?
If the answer isn’t obvious to you, it sure should be. What has changed is the MEDIA. You know, the same greedy idiots that killed Princess Diana. The same morons that have turned the news business into an entertainment business. The same buffoons that have reprogrammed your thoughts without you even knowing it.
Babe Ruth was a serious alcoholic. It is a fact that he played many games during his great career in a not-so-sober state. The guy produced, the guy made major league baseball what it is today, and people were fine with his antics. His life wasn’t completely exposed to the press as an athlete’s life is now but what people knew about it certainly added to his lore. It was standard in sports back in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s to go out after the game and tie one on with your mates and break your marriage vows. Not a problem, it was life and it was accepted. It was the norm, didn’t matter what sport you played.
If Babe Ruth were alive and playing baseball today he never would have lasted more than one season. His antics would have been plastered all over the news by the media and the media would make you distrust him. They would make you questionhis ability to play baseball because he wasn’t worthy of being a hero. If he can’t be perfect, then he is a juicy hunk of human flesh for the media Piranha to devour.
Bill Clinton? Okay, yes, a president should know better than to do what he did while in office. He just ruined my argument. But if you’re stupid enough to have a president as your hero, then you got what you deserve. But if I were Michael Phelps and I spent a lot of my life training to be the best swimmer in the world and I went to the Olympics and seriously kicked ass, why can’t can’t I take a little brake and snort on the hookah? The guy hasn’t had a chance to make his first mistake yet! Let him have his turn! Let him screw up…and then have the human-ness to let him learn from it on his own instead of spilling the story all around the world! You’re not hurting him by doing that, you’re hurting all the people that call him their HERO!
Every hero is human, unless you’re some kind of jerk that settles for a comic book character or a president as your hero. Being human is about making mistakes. Making mistakes is about doing things that you may not realize at the time are wrong, but that’s ok because you will eventually learn from those mistakes because, well you are human. Humans are smart enough to learn from their mistakes and they don’t really need the media to expose those mistakes to the rest of the world. Why does the media have the right to ruin someone’s life or career? Who gave them the power to say that it is wrong to make a mistake? Who put them above everyone else in the food chain?

The answer? The MEDIA.

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  1. David Letterman – Role Model Or Scapegoat? « Unknown Quantity

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