Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The rant about the hero thing

For those of you not in the U.S., today has brought North Americans the edifying spectacle of baseball star Mark McGuire weeping in an interview in which he bemoans his use of steroids. Sheldon Kopp said (in If you meet the Buddha on the Road, kill him) "If you have a hero, look again; you have diminished yourself in some way". All human relations start in projection, a feeling of recognition of something in oneself in another. If taken to an extreme, though, projection not only elides power from the hero worshipper, but also from the person being made to fit the mold of the needs and expectations of that worshipper. Perhaps it's a need for something solid in a world that changes? But solid people...they would have to be statues, wouldn't they?

No, neither of these two look much like Mark McGwire –nor much like me, although I've been both characters at different times.

17 comments:

Tom said...

no statues for cheaters, penance is to be done for one's own soul, not for reward. Nifty illustration!

Cláudia said...

I see a puppet in the worshipper's hand.

I am amazed by how powerfully you illustrated the pain of losing oneself's identity over the process of trying to fit the mold (the blurring effect).

To worship and to love - these two verbs never walk together. Never.

Charles Gramlich said...

The only heroes I respect are fictional ones.

Jasmine said...

A very good illustration. I like the spectre on the right.

ArtSparker said...

Charles - That's it, isn't it,, Charles - heroes are by nature to some extent fictional, embodying ideal characteristics and not subject to change.

ArtSparker said...

Cláudia - I was also thinking of the real person fading away behind the ideal, but blurring could work also.

steve said...

Wow, yes, very good point Susan, and I'm sure we've all been in one position or the other at different times. Wonderfully rendered!

ger said...

Those two remind me of The imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus... (saw it yesterday, didn´t like it much...)

Tammie Lee said...

good rant ms. Susan

Fresca said...

This reminds me of the "Kill Bill" T-shirts made in the same yellow-and-black design of the Quentin Tarantino films, except the T-shirt had added a line reading "Shatner."
Of course I cannot condone killing Bill, even if he is a Bodhisattva of sorts.

I agree that heroes are fictional, and I'm all for fiction. At their best, they serve to show us sides of ourselves, if we care to look closely.

Poet in Residence said...

The word 'hero' is much abused. One often reads of the 'hero' who scores the winning goal in a game. It's totally absurd.

But there are heroes. You can find them in the street. In Haiti today I saw a man (on TV) in rolled-up shirt sleeves, perhaps an office worker, crawling under a building which looked certain to collapse.

I'm no hero. But I'm no coward either. I'm just an ordinary guy with 30 years police service at the sharp end now thankfully behind me.
Nearly every day of my working life I've seen the heroes. And they weren't on the playing fields.

ArtSparker said...

PR = My point is not to disrespect people who do extraodinary things, some of those people every day - It's about how the expectations of other people of those they idealize may limit human interaction.

donny* said...

ooh! i love this illustration.

Harnett-Hargrove said...

It's too true, sometimes you have to let the shadows be shadows. -J

Poet in Residence said...

Susan, Your observation is right. As a matter of interest I saw some of the 'confession' interview on one of the 24hr news channels. My immediate reaction was: Well, at least he didn't kill anybody.
Yes, he killed expectations, his own and those of other people. But then what was his true crime? Was it being found out? Thou shall not get caught or found out, being one of the first commandments.
this brings us to the particular problem of sporting heroes and that is: there is too much money sloshing around, dirty money being laundered often, in too many sports. No good can come of it.

Clowncar said...

Athletes, and movie stars, and even writers and artists are not role models. Their accomplishments, on the other hand, can be worthy of adulation.

Not his, though. I'm a huge baseball fan, and even at the time I thought he was a one-dimensional player. No base-running, no situational hitting, just home runs.

Titus said...

Insightful, thought-provoking and wonderful image.