Heroes may not be braver than anyone else. They’re just braver five minutes longer.
Billie Holliday and Mickey Mantle were fallen by the bottle, Tiger by lust, Judy Garland her doubts, Ernest Hemingway his demons. Far from perfect, we continued to believe in them, not for their weaknesses but for the brilliance of their light. For the challenges they rose above so we might be witness to the talents that lay inside each of them. Heroes were once an integral part of who we were, the people who resonated with our hearts and gave us a reason to try harder – to keep on trying.
It seems we no longer want them though. We’ve become self-indulgent, cynics who believe the reflections we think we see in our mirrors. Thin and wanting for heroes, we’ve empowered bureaucrats to dissect the very core of those who fall… with a fervour that only a salaried, bitter, failure can. Like parasites, their motivation is to tear us down, not elevate us. They leave nothing unturned. Like locusts, every last leaf is consumed, every stone overturned, each trail scrutinized. Witnesses are coerced or bought, information is wrung like dirty water from an old rag.
The perfect man or woman is not. Each of us harbours our own vices and obsessions behind well-maintained, politically correct facades; yet we demand a price from those who achieve greatness, far beyond anything we would be willing to pay ourselves. Not only do we want their physical sacrifices, we want their souls.
And did they get you to trade your heroes for ghosts?
Hot ashes for trees?
Hot air for a cool breeze?
Cold comfort for change?
And did you exchange a walk on part in the war for a lead role in a cage?
-Pink Floyd, Wish You Were Here