David Bowie Was Wrong

Posted: December 22, 2014 in Politics

We all want to be heroes. It’s an urge in us only one step removed from fucking, which is only about one step away from eating, and only an additional stutter step away from our urge to kill. The number of steps between the urge to be a hero and the essential drive to survive as a single celled organism is well within the NBA’s definition of traveling, It has 3 steps to spare if the protozoa in question has amazing court awareness, or a major market hinging on his success.

We want to be heroes. If you’ve learned to ignore or control that drive, that’s terrific, but it’s not not there. It’s a fundamental asset to our nature and denying its existence does a disservice to your understanding of how you behave. Acknowledging a desire is not succumbing to it, and knowledge of who pressures effect you provides insight into how to handle future situations better. Too many people deny their natures. I won’t. I wish I was the only man on the planet. I wish I was fucking every girl. I wish I was a giant bullfrog who fucked or ate everything it ever encountered in its existence. I wish I was a giant cave monkey who smashed you other lesser monkeys’ heads and babies against the rocks while your cave monkey women lined up for my seed. I do not want to or chose to behave that way… but I do, somewhere deep inside of me, have that desire.

I can’t meet that desire reasonably, but it influences my actions, at least indirectly. We, as monkeys, or cavemen if you won’t allow for that, learned to live together, and now need to, so some of our drives adapt like mighty rivers through the periods and eras of Earth’s Crust’s development. Our generations of living together has altered that drive into something I identify as nobler, but still problematic if not understood. We look for acceptance and admiration from our fellow indigestible primates as a viable means to secure our survival. We’ve agreed, for the most part, that a lot of us ought to survive. There are few better ways to make certain you’ll make it, than by getting all of us to agree you need to. Being a hero secures that. I hope most of us have progressed in manors, both for my benefit and yours, enough to know that hero is subjective, and “hopefully” altered some since the times of rewarding ballsiest monkey or loudest screamer with head of the group… but sometimes I wonder.

I mention this, because of the murders in NY this week. It’s not okay, and it’s because of Hero Worship, and misrepresenting our values. I’m blaming society, and admitting that I’m part of society, and as such, it’s my fault. I like fighting too much. I perpetuate it and foster it and love it in ways that have sunk into my eyes and stained straight through to the back of my head. I’ve glutted on violence and macho expectations for so many years I can no longer discern the flavors from comedy and even romance. I think that needs to change. I think it can start by saying hero less. (unless it’s sarcastically to prove a point, which I refuse to give up with fiery determination.)

America has fallen into a glossy world of self-promotion where it promotes itself, or rather, the folks who foster its ideals the loudest, as heroes, and forces the notion into everyone’s view so much that it becomes inescapable. U.S. Troops are referred to as heroes so often that not referring to them as such becomes almost insulting, like not referring to a king as “your grace.” “You’re Majesty” is not a good analogue here, because majesty is official… but grace? Grace is a trait one has, and having it prescribed as your address implies to much. A leader can and should most certainly be gracious, but I hope there’s still enough anti-monarchy sentiment left in our American DNA to readily identify that a lineage connected to the throne does not guarantee graciousness. That glossy world, is unsustainable, and I think it’s starting to stain.

Our constant reiteration of “hero” cheapens the term, and uglies up the discourse. If all troops are heroes, and some troops are rapists, then some heroes are rapists. That is tacitly untrue, by my definition of hero. But if I was to open this sentence with, “not all troops are heroes,” I’m being horribly antagonistic. Apply the same to cops. We can all agree, some cops are bad. There are crooked hateful cops. There are crooked hateful writers. There have been crooked hateful popes. If we’re not allowed to discuss that, it allows for brutal manipulation by those in positions of power.

There’s an easy saying; “one man’s freedom fighter is another’s terrorist.” I’m willing to say I always believe in Freedom over Terror. I think few characters prefer to look at themselves as villainous, and those that do tend to only after being forcibly ostracized from society. And, even in those circles, there tends to be a similar hierarchy that establishes itself with loyalty inside that small group. It’s the reason people in prison murder child molesters. It’s the reason people who go through horrible ordeals are often so intimately linked. I am pushed to believing that people Want to be good. Regardless of their capacity, and by placing people Necessary to maintaining order in positions of idolization… you’re putting them in positions to be criticized, and worse, hated.

If a side you see as opposed to you, in this very simplified version let’s use dubiously punctuated “Law and Order” as that side, is treated as an ideal, then you begin to see yourself as something oppositional to the ideal. You’ll internalize that conflict, and you’ll fight it. In an increasingly dichotic America, in a culture where even news is divided, you’re courting conflict.

That asshole that shot two cops in Brooklyn wanted to be a hero. He wanted to spark a revolution he saw as glorious. Because, “heroes” fight and murder and solve conflicts with guns. And he, as an angry, and probably stupid person, acted on it. He wasn’t. Clearly, but he could paint himself as that, because he was delusional, about both what he was, and how points are made. But, I think all of us could stand to be smarter, and choose our words. And how we behave.

Maybe all of us, myself included, should tone down violence in all forms.

I don’t know how to do that either, but saying words we mean instead of words we’ve heard, or we know will get reactions is a way to start.

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