As a continuation of an earlier debate yesterday, I still have the question fresh. Who is a hero? Do we have one? What are the criteria for choosing a hero? How does one distinguish between a leader, a hero, an icon, a legend? Is it possible to make the divisions? Is it desirable?
Are heroes needed in the society? If so, why, at all? Do they fill in the same void for folks as religions do in one way (religions enslave feeble people who can’t articulate for themselves, even to distinguish on their own what is contextually correct and what is not)?
Or are heroes actually needed so that people have something good to look back to? We have had worst phases of our inhuman legacies, of causing war and depression, of deliberate perpetuations of exploitative saga and firm refusal to replace existing systems.
At least we had some heroes also to look back at (you want to talk of Bhagat Singh and Malcolm X…. Netajee Subhas and Patrice Lumumba).
Well not anymore. First there was systematic suppression of heroic feats (like they banned Paul Robeson and Mohammad Ali). Next, there was systematic and legalized infiltration of anti-heroic commodifications (like the Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and all the obvious honors including the bob dylans of the times getting the tastes of market). Then there were mortification of heroes where people were made into legends (suddenly the atheist Buddha was made into a God, and Gandhi was a huge statue and a story to be challenged every now and then for anyone who wanted to sound different). Of course lastly there came a time when all these sounded dated and came a new genre of heroes—the television celebrities.
British accused Americans of their obsession with popular vulgar culture of paris hiltons. Americans accused the Brits of their obsession with elite vulgar cultures of a dormant prince-lover cuckoo love in royal kingdoms. As they all fought with each other, they discovered the common minimum factor: the hero-worshipping driven by media zeal. And yes Paris and Prince Charles continue to be the heroes.
And at most times too, teenage girls aspire to become the heroes even if it means they have to become desperate housewives. For apparently the desperate housewives every Sunday night are about heroes too.
Pathetic culmination of human civilizations.
And if this is civilization, I demand barbarism now!