Saturday, November 1, 2014


Heroes get by on the illusion of having willed themselves to success, having earned it, having gotten there by some indescribable "it factor," having "really wanted it." "He wouldn't be denied," they say, on those occasions when the hero doesn't happen to have been denied. But the hero is a speck in a vast universe with conscious access to a fraction of a percent of its brain. The hero is chemicals, mainly, without access to or understanding of or control over that. Everyone tries fairly hard, but the ones who succeed, post hoc, are said to have succeeded by virtue of effort, character, etc., because that's how human brains generally interpret such things.


d.mantis said...

I think another aspect of the discourse is who is allowed to become a 'hero' and what groups benefit from this. An obvious example would be our obsession with soldiers-as-heros regardless of war, deeds or ways served.

Another example: Edward Snowden. He is often referred to as a hero because of the whistle-blower situation. However, this obfuscates the fact that he may or may not have done a courageous act, yet holds and has expressed some truly awful perspectives about empire and the state. He is a reprehensible creature who is a 'hero' for the completely wrong motivations. Furthermore, the disclosure itself ended up entrenching numerous tactics and systems of surveillance as ex post facto fine and dandy.

All this while Chelsea Manning is rotting in prison for disclosing a glimpse into the horrible death and destruction caused by empire.

Show me a hero and I'll show you someone who has no doubt served power in one way or another.

Devin Lenda said...

The first counterpoint that comes to mind is MLK, so I'm thinking "except if they're dead and no longer dangerous," but he's a hero who unwittingly serves state power as we speak, which supports your point. He served power, then he stopped and threatened it, then he was taken out. The Saddam Hussein story except with a decent dude and eventual hero mythologization.

d.mantis said...

Exactly, the ability to co-opt any and all noise in the system is a feature, not a bug. If the message cannot be co-opted during an individuals lifetime, it is certainly done so after death through white-washing, dilution and ample "historical perspectives".