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HEROES, HEROINES
AND THE MODERN AGE
by Rick Doble


Ideas for students, women, and other thoughtful people.

NOTE: This is not meant to be a complete or finished essay, but rather a suggestion of ideas that need to be explored and why they need to be explored.

NOTE TO WOMEN: Before I can talk about the heroes and heroines of the future, I must talk about the heroes and heroines of the past. In the old view women played a vital but supporting role. In the next 100 years I believe women will redefine heroism in terms of feminine ideals and reshape the culture and perhaps the world. And while it may seem odd, that a man would want to talk about woman as heroic figures, I welcome this evolution in the culture and the human race.




Let us return to a time when a man was a man and a woman was all woman. When honor and pride lead us to glorious victories. When a man and woman knew why they were put on this earth...

HOLD THE PHONE!
Let's take a deep breath and step back for a minute.

Civilizations have been driven, shaped and guided by their own particular myth of the hero. The future of a culture may depend on the culture's heroic ideals. The hero's story is one of wars and battles. He slays all enemies, passes all the heroic tests and the culture flourishes, rewarding him with riches, position and the woman he loves.

"From the Halls of Montezuma...we will fight our country's
battle on the land and on the sea."

Even after the cynicism of the last century, with movies like "All Quiet on the Western Front" and "Mash" the conquering vanquishing hero is alive and well. Action movies make the most money at home and abroad, and we are talking about billions of dollars.

The myth of the hero seems to be a part of the human psyche. It may lead the young to self-sacrifice so that the culture can try to accomplish its goals. My father, who was a gentle sensitive man, found himself swept up in war fever in 1917 and went to Europe to "make the world safe for democracy." What he found was murder and carnage on a scale that is still hard to understand. When I asked him why, he said that he was young and looking for danger and adventure. "When you are young you welcome it," he told me.

Bob Hope introduced a beautiful young female singer
to war weary troops with these words (paraphrase):
"I thought you boys would just like to see what you are fighting for." The men yelled and hollered.

In the old myth women played only a supporting role, but were often the reason for the hero's actions. He goes through his trials so that he can win the hand of the woman he loves. The french have a saying, if you want to understand a man then "find the woman." Many a soldier in World War II could not have survived without letters from his "girl back home."

While we will still need heroes and heroines more than ever, the ideals must be changed, but they cannot just be reprogrammed. A new ideal of heroism will have to grow out of the old.

The anti-hero is one attempt to find a new mold for the hero. Anti-heroes are a modern twist. They range from Mafia bosses to vigilantes to policemen who bend the law to fit their idea of justice. The anti-hero is an individualist who is willing to take a stand against his or her culture for what he or she thinks is right. Since everyone has some major gripe about the society in which they live, most can sympathize with the anti-hero who finds an identity opposing it.

While a new kind of hero or heroine will probably have elements of the anti-hero, I do not believe that they will be anti-heroes. But I not sure what shape the new mythology should take. This is something that thinkers, artists, writers, film makers, story tellers, song writers should explore for many years to come.

Here are some of my ideas about how to give birth to a new kind of hero:



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© Copyright 2000 by Richard deGaris Doble
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