Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Thinking About Heroes

I saw the movie STRANGER THAN FICTION today. It was very unusual. It's a comedy and by that I mean that it's a comedy as opposed to being the only other thing it could be; a tragedy. There are some funny parts, but it's not slapstick. The plot is very surreal. It made me think and I enjoyed it.

One of the things it made me think about is heroes. I've been thinking about heroes and the nature of a hero and what it means to be a hero a lot lately (I'm working on a more formal essay about heroes that will probably be by next published column which I'll post here, too). Traditionally, in most great stories from BEOWULF to Gilgamesh to many Biblical stories to THE LORD OF THE RINGS to KING KONG to Batman, a hero is someone who does something extraordinary at great danger to themselves in order to save someone else. Usually, a hero doesn't get the woman he loves (or if they're female they don't get the man they love) or they die and the greatest of heroes give up both the girl and their lives. I've always argued that in order to truly be a hero, the guy would either loose the woman he loved or end up loosing his life. Part of the reason for this is that to truly be a hero a person must experience great suffering and the loss of love or the loss of one's life are usually considered the two greatest sacrifices that can be afflicted upon a person. Sidekicks are the ones who can both get the girl and not get killed. Because of some thoughts that a certain television show airing on Monday nights on NBC has caused me to be thinking and now the movie, STRANGER THAN FICTION, I'm beginning to think that maybe that isn't the case.

I don't know exactly why I've become so preoccupied with this subject lately, but it's something I've found myself wrestling with in my head. I'm curious as to what other people think. So, What do you think? To truly be a hero does one have to sacrifice love or lose his life? Or can one be a hero and still get the girl and not loose his life?

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