The Lunatick's Ravings
Where have all the heroes gone?
Who are the heroes of our generation? The ones that 30 years from now we will be reading about in the history books. If you are like most of the people I spoke to in the past 3 weeks you answer will be, "I can't think of anyone". Why? Because we have no heroes. We are Generation X, called so because we stand for nothing. We also have nothing to stand for.
In our lifetime we have had no great wars, no depression, no great threats. While some might argue with me over this, it essentially is the truth. Vietnam was ending as we were being born. The Gulf War wasn't even long enough to hold our short attention. Communism and the Russian threat ended while we were in grade school and couldn't even begin to fathom what a threat to out way of life they might have been. We had a slight recession lasting maybe 4 years once again while we were in grade school.
What few heroes we might have had have been taken care of but the mighty weapon of the pen and camera. Welcome to the information age where news is transmitted all over the world at the speed of light. Where one wrong decision is broadcast in seconds. Heroes aren't perfect, but we seem to think they should be. The first chance to tear them down and we gobble it up like sharks at a feeding frenzy. Look at what we did to Thomas Jefferson. He was/is a hero to the nation, our third president and author of the declaration of independence, but wait he fathered a child through a slave. This will not do. Someone spent probably thousands of dollars to trace his DNA to prove this over 300 years later. Was it that important? We all know the first three words of the Preamble to the US constitution (or I hope we all do), "We The PEOPLE", written larger than the rest. We also should all realize that that isn't what it meant when it was written. At the time their were slaves, and poll taxes (yes you had to pay to vote), or you had too own a certain amount of land to vote, and women couldn't vote either. We are an imperfect people with high ideals that to this day we are still trying to live up to. But Have we sunken so low that 300 years later we have to drag our heroes through the mud for being human? We wonder why shows like Jerry Springer thrive, we hunger for the slime that shows like that bring forth. President Clintion and Clarence Thomas, these men are no heroes, but do we have to drag their past through the mud? Miss Hill, Miss Jones, why didn't you say something when the alleged events took place instead of waiting for them to become someone important. Oh wait I know, there was nothing in it for you then, but there sure was after they became important. I think People may now be afraid of being heroes because of indiscretions in the past that may be drug up, just look at political campaigns. They are not about issues but who can sling mud the best. The worst part is we, as a society are responsible for it, because we suck it up and ask for more.
We are a pessimistic society. We seem to have great difficulty believing in the good in people. Everyone has skeletons buried in their closets. We seem to have the need to dig them out. How many times have we heard the words uttered "it seems too good to be true they must be hiding something". So we take what heroes we may have and tear them down. We are more concerned with tragedy than hope. This is in part why the only hero our generation had died.
Princess Diana is arguably a hero of our generation. She did much good while she was alive, and was the only name that came up more than once (actually the only name that did come up) in my little survey. She died among a crowd of people who thought it more important to get pictures of a tragedy to let the word that hungers for it know, than to prevent it. So because no one called for help until it was too late, we lost the only hero we may have had. But boy did we hear about it. Breaking news reports all over the place, fights, and bidding wars over the pictures, exclusive interviews, who cares. Why was it the details of her death were more important than the accomplishments of her life? Because it's tragedy and pessimism, and even now the tell all books are on their way to the printers. To paraphrase Shakespeare, "the evil that men do live on, the good oft interred with their bones"
So what does that leave us, fake heroes, and a facade of something to believe in. What am I talking about, movie stars and sports figures. Ever wonder how they can command 7 to 9 figure salaries for a few years that we can never hope to achieve in our lifetime? Because we worship them like heroes. They are incredibly imperfect, they get arrested, they beat up their family and strangers, they do drugs, everything that is the antithesis of hero. That however is not who we see. We see the parts they play the feats they accomplish that we can only dream of doing. It is easy for us to ignore who they really are because we believe in the façade that they create when doing their job. Real heroes don't exist anymore.
Or do they? Perhaps the simple acts of kindness that we all perform need to be taken just a little further. Maybe all it takes is the belief in ourselves, and the courage to see our dreams become reality. We all want to make a difference, to be somebody. This is my challenge to you fellow members of Generation X, become a hero to others. Have the courage of your convictions. Tina Turner I fear you are very wrong, we do need another hero, we need many of them to lead the next generation. Then again this could just be the ravings of The Lunatick.
Copyright ©1998 The Lunatick