ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Who Needs a Hero?

Updated on September 28, 2010

Heroes in Pop Culture

It's been about 25 years now since Tina Turner told us that we don't need another hero. Why, then, do we still see imaginative spaces today filled with the heroes we wish we could find in real life? Why have Superman, Spiderman, Batman, and the whole gang not yet retired? Why are they still out busily saving the day (and always bringing along new heroes to work with them)?

While the face of the hero might have changed rather dramatically today (just take a look at this article for an exploration — a nice companion to Turner and Mad Max), we still seem to find ourselves drawn to the idea of the hero.



Thoreau's Thoughts on Heroism

Henry David Thoreau, in his Civil Disobedience , was already bemoaning the lack of heroes — or, as he puts it, "men" (I'm just going to have to take a deep breath and ignore the gendering of it for now) — in his day. As he says, thousands were then opposed to slavery and/or the Mexican War, but they sat back doing nothing about it. For this reason, he describes Americans in his day as "gregarious, but with no intellect." Ouch. I wonder what he would say about us today, so many years later? It seems to me that the situation, if anything, has gotten much worse.

Thoreau calls us to an idea of the hero that is liveable. He calls for each individual to go as far as peaceful civil disobedience in any situation where an injustice is met. And for Thoreau, this sort of heroism can be a response to a big or a small injustice. What really matters is that we act and not just sit back idly complaining about the injustice. We shouldn't just buy into the system. Our lives, he says, should be a source of friction against the smooth running of the Great Machine of oppression.

His call comes with a warning — Thoreau is at least fair to his readers. It will, he says, all come with a cost. Heroes are labeled rebels, and Christs are crucified. So, the road to heroism is not an easy one.

But then, as Thoreau reminds, the cost is so much higher if we don't fight injustice. Incurring the cost of a life of friction is, ultimately, the much more economical route to go. After all, "You can trace the effects of a dollar, but not of allegiance."



© 2010 Shelly Bryant
 
 
 
 
 
...
 
 
 

Note

This is reprinted from a post at my original blog, which was kept at a site that is now (sadly) defunct. — SB

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)