Saturday, April 10, 2010

Heroes and Idols

Yes, I am still researching and reading for the promised post so here is another one in the meantime.

A short while back Thomas and I were ,commenting in a small way, back and forth about John Wayne.
Then today I saw this about the “Duke” in the N.Y. Times. Watch out it is a little bit of a tear jerker.

My Dad was a huge John Wayne fan. Many people were. I still am. Find that strange?
Let me explain a little.

My Dad had John Wayne Syndrome and once my older brother told me many men did. The Duke was the epitome of the strong silent hero. In many of his movies he was a black and white, pun intended, straight forward kind of guy. Most of the time his character met the bad guy or guys head-on and won the day not just for himself but for those who weren't as strong but were more silent. That must be hard to live up to anytime. But I thought we were supposed to outgrow that kind of thing I never thought I would be like June Cleaver. (Though I sometimes think if my spouse would be like Ward, I would be glad to be June. Easier life that.) Guess you had to be a male to get it.

But I got off why I still like John Wayne, the actor. In the late 60's Mr. Wayne went a little too far in his support of the Vietnam War, for me but that was before I worried about actors and politics. I didn't pay much attention to them except for enjoying, or not, movies. For some reason I always understood these were people playing roles . Sometimes the movies had much to say but the actors were just that to me, actors. Here is a pretty good link about the Duke, actor, his movies, and his life.

Some of my favorite Wayne movies: Three Godfathers, The Searchers,The Cowboys, True Grit, and Rooster Cogburn and the Lady, and of course, The Shootist. My list goes on. He sure was a prolific actor.
Here is a great site listing his movies.

and now that I look at the list I see so many I enjoy but hadn't thought about in years.

Here is Wayne quotation from the above wikipedia John Wayne link that I find poetic:
Tomorrow is the most important thing in life. Comes into us at midnight very clean. It's perfect when it arrives and it puts itself in our hands. It hopes we've learned something from yesterday.

(Surprising to me as I didn't expect such wisdom from the Duke. See, I am a reverse snob sometimes.)

In considering my own thoughts about John Wayne and his movies, I am regretting that we do not have such a hero today for folks. It is a confusing world and sometimes we need idols. The problem is in picking the idols. Maybe I should say heroes as idols are of stone and make no mistakes while heroes, as is often seen, are human and make mistakes.

The past few years I had times I felt young folks needed a hero. A black and white, good vs. evil, moral type even if they are the stuff found only in movies or good books. But I was wrong they do, Harry Potter maybe. Someone the media leaves alone to do good while having clay feet would be very nice. Why not leave a little fantasy and enjoyment to the young. A guide along the way of discovery of the society around us. The stage after parents lose their wisdom and no longer know just everything.
(I warned my son that there would be a time that his parents would get a disease. They would suddenly know nothing and it would last for many years. Then one day they would recover and they would be very wise once again.)

Maybe today the problem is many do not grow beyond this stage or something. We have our idols and some of us revel in every lurid tale about them. It is as though part of us wants our idols to be less than we think we are. Why are Entertainment Tonight and Access Hollywood still popular?

I leave you to your answers.

We admire them, we envy them, for great qualities which we ourselves lack. Hero worship consists in just that.
- Mark Twain's Autobiography site link


  1. I sat and contemplated my answers for a long moment after reading this post.. excellent. I wonder what heroes people have these days.. I am not sure if there are any in people's minds like there once was in more innocent times. I am not sure if this is good or bad. And, I wonder if it is because so many things in life are no longer black and white but grey.

    I am interested to know if young people today have heroes. I want to look into this a little more.

    I ran across this while just playing a little search on hero worship on google.

  2. Hello Thomas,
    I just lost my own comment so shall start again.
    I think we always knew things were gray not black and white but liked our heroes to be black and white.
    After writing the post, I thought about Harry Potter. Isn't it interesting that the young have heroes so young. They have no one to depend on but their own.
    I checked out the link you give in your comment. I didn't like it but I read it.
    Einstein is one of my few remaining heroes.
    I can't say I worship him but I sure admire much about him.
    If you can find this book in a library Legends, Lies & Cherished Myths of American History by Richard Shenkman, you will find it a good read.
    I was also thinking while writing about Don Blankenship, CEO of Massey Energy and the video of him talking to the Tea Partiers in that stupid hat and shirt. Just one of the people and they bought it.
    Now how do they feel another of their great heroes bites the dust.

  3. I just got my mood altered.

    Now that I saw the latest post on All The Things I Love I see a way to get away from it all. Just check out the pictures of those "tree houses".
    Link on My Blog List