Drawing by Brian Degraw
Put down your tube of BedHead and tell me how many people throughout history can you consider true “heroes”? A hundred? A thousand? Wrong. Science has proven that there have been literally millions of heroes throughout time and space. But of course the concept of what is heroic depends completely on the worshippers’ values. To many, Martin Luther was a hero, as was Martin Luther King. But to others the guy who shot Martin Luther King was a hero. And then to even others the guy who shot Martin Luther King: The Movie was a hero (I could go on and on if my editors weren’t such humorless pricks). One man’s hero is another man’s garbage.
It was many a warm summer’s night that found Mother and I listing gently on the veranda, leisurely sipping on gin, nibbling on biscuits, and debating who was the truer hero, a real retarded manboy or Cuba Gooding Jr. as Radio, the fake retarded manboy. We never came to any satisfying answer, and we’ll just have to wait and see what the Academy thinks come Oscar® time. But the “hero” debate continues to rage across this vast and innocent land of ours, stretching into the sea and back. Will we ever lay down our arms and see eye to eye? No. Not as long as there is some lonely, overweight woman down in the basement heading up the Accounts Receivable office blubbering on and on about the late, great Laci Peterson. However, we can at least agree to severely narrow down the criteria for being a hero. Three types of people have to be quickly and violently omitted from the list before we can go any further:
1. Nobody should make it onto the hero list solely by virtue of the fact that they are rich. This means that anyone who has ever said or even thought to himself, “Dude, that guy who came up with Girls Gone Wild is my hero. He’s got his own helicopter and he gets to see drunk tits all the time!” cannot participate in this discussion that is not really a discussion because it is a column (although you’re welcome to go online and “discuss” how wrong/cranky/unfunny it is).
2. Being pretty does not make you a hero. What kind of pathetic turd thinks of a supermodel as qualifying for hero worship just because she’s a supermodel? Answer: either monumentally ugly people or other very attractive people, that’s it. Just because you manage to have sex does not mean you deserve the mantle of hero (unless you live in a car and smell like the third day of the Burning Man Festival yet still managed to fuck all of the Donnas, in which case you actually are a hero, and I raise a Coors Light to you right now).
3. Athletes also do not count. There is not now, nor will there ever be, a “hero of the gridiron.” Nobody should give a fuck about some well-padded millionaire with the reading level of a twelve-year-old home-schooled by Kip Winger, just because he tackled another well-padded millionaire (I was going to make “fuckers” a category, too, but it was too hard).
So agreed, these three groups are out. Especially if you consider the billions of people who have quietly, with no expectations of earthly or heavenly glory, sacrificed their lives for others. Whether the sacrifice was literally their life, or just a given life of leisure, these are the only people who should be considered heroes. Yeah, it’s time to retire the word hero outside of the aforementioned use. Let’s save it for the truly self-sacrificing. Firemen? Heroes, sure. Lenny Bruce? No. An important, groundbreaking cultural icon to be sure, but hero? Too egotistical. Joan of Arc? Hero. Joan Jett? No. In fact there is only one artist in the history of time that can be considered a true hero and that is Whoopi Goldberg. Man, is she funny! (CONTINUED IN NEXT MONTH’S COLUMN, “Whoopi: All-American Hero.”)