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Who’s your hero?

Please forgive the downtime between this post and my previous post. I’ll try my hardest not to have such a thing happen again. Working strange hours in my day jobs, split shifts, and taking on some outside projects has taken me away from here. I apologize.

Before I get started, I want to give a shout out to a great blog about traveling in the Pacific Northwest. I met the blogger through a mutual friend, and she delighted me with a mention in her blog. It’s a really fun read. Eastern Weekend

One other thing I’ve done during my absence was to read A Princess of Mars and attend a book group discussion of it. And, I went to see the new “John Carter” movie. Several of the people in the book group had seen the film adaptation as well. It was a wonderful group full of spirited conversation, and one in particular got my attention.

In the novels, John Carter is a decorated veteran of the Civil War. He’s good at most everything he attempts, and shows no evidence of ever having been in trouble, or disciplined for anything. This was published in 1917.  Ninety-five years later, in 2012, John Carter is recast as a misfit and an outcast during his life on earth, rebelling against the social order, and landing himself in jail. This struck me as interesting.

Which one is a better hero? Someone who is part of an establishment that protects people who are  part of the status quo from people who a threat to the established order of things? Or someone who exists outside of the establishment, defending people against social injustice brought about by an oppressive status quo?

And, which one are readers more likely to identify with and accept as a hero?

Clearly, the people who adapted the Edgar Rice Burroughs books for film felt the need to take their hero from the former to the latter. They felt their viewers would be more comfortable with a “rebel” than with someone who was part of the established authority. Is this a throwback to the youth rebellion of the 1960s? Or does the rise of individualism and “I’m ok you’re ok” culture mean we’re no longer able to accept a hero who’s not an outsider fighting for other outsiders.

So, I’ll ask for feedback. Which do you prefer to read about? To write about?

I realize this isn’t really informative; just what I hope will be food for thought. Still, I’m interested in what people will have to say on the subject.

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3 thoughts on “Who’s your hero?

  1. This seems fairly typical of our culture. I’d prefer a hero that is clean, if only because so many heroes are troubled. It’s become a prerequisite in the last couple of decades for a hero to be as dirty as possible, as if this irony is necessary for good fiction. *Shrugs*

    • To show my geek tendencies, I usually illustrate this with the example of Marvel comics, and the difference between Cyclops and Wolverine. Cyclops is without a doubt the better hero, but Wolverine is infinitely more popular. In fact, for the sake of the box office all three x-men movies were pretty much all about Wolverine, and he got the first spin off movie. Cyclops took the backseat and was killed off with no fanfare. It’s kind of disappointing but it proves a point, society wants their “Good Guys” to be “Bad Boys.”

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