It’s Hard Being A Hero

Being a hero can be tough for many reasons. Sometimes the heroic thing to do is not the most popular or the safest. Sometimes it can put you at odds with those around you. I’ve noticed with the last couple of heroes I’ve added to the Gallery that being a famous hero often results in you becoming quite unpopular and your character being called into question.

Dian Fossey dedicated her life to protecting gorillas and their habitat. She has contributed much to the world’s knowledge of the animals. She was killed for her work – many think by money hungry tourist promoters due to the suspicious nature of the clues left behind at her murder scene. However, she is spoken of as a crazy woman in some circles. Some say she conducted a war against poachers in which she hanged them, burned their camps, and other warlike activities.

Bill Gates is the reason I am able to type this on my lap. He brought software to the small computer and committed himself to making it easier and easier to use. Since acquiring a staggering amount of money he’s taken interest in donating it to promoting worldwide education and health. He’s often depicted as a dirty businessman and a screaming boss. Many computer people despise Windows and Microsoft and thus him because of them.

I’ve just read that Sir Robert Scott, the polar explorer, is thought of as a flawed man, not a hero. If there’s a perfect man (or woman) let me hear about it. Clint Eastwood said, “heroes a lot of times are disturbed people.” He chooses to play heroes that are “slightly flawed, slightly haunted” because of this.

There is a practice in Australia called cutting down the tall poppies. It is about reminding the successful that they are no better than the rest of us. When someone becomes too famous (especially when coupled with arrogance) the public often starts cutting them down with derogative comments or digging for flaws. What is so sad about this practice is that the public is often responsible for making the person famous in the first place. I don’t think it only happens in Australia – we just have a term for it.

So, think about that next time you have something bad to say about someone famous. Do you really know what you’re talking about or is it simply a rumour? Remember, it’s hard being a famous hero.


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    […] wrote about the difficulty in being a hero and the tall poppy effect a while ago.  So many of our heroes these […]

  2. Hero or Fake? « The Hero Workshop - August 7, 2007

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