a-z challenge: h

H is for …

H is for heroes

I always liked the Joseph Campbell quote, “A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself,” and it took me years to think hang on … by that definition, a hero is somebody who works for a soulless corporation, gets the gold watch and then beetles off to have a heart attack on a golf course. And even though one of his works inspired Star Wars, I really can’t get behind someone who’s best known legacy is, “follow your bliss.”

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To the batmobile dictionary!

hero {‘ hɪərəʊ}
noun: hero; plural noun: heroes; noun: hero sandwich; plural noun: hero sandwiches
1. a person, typically a man, who is admired for their courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities. “a war hero”
synonyms: brave man, champion, man of courage, great man, man of the hour, conquering hero, victor, winner, conqueror, lionheart, warrior, paladin, knight, white hat;
antonyms: coward, loser
the chief male character in a book, play, or film, who is typically identified with good qualities, and with whom the reader is expected to sympathize.
“the hero of Kipling’s story”
synonyms: male protagonist, principal male character;
antonyms: villain
(in mythology and folklore) a person of superhuman qualities and often semi-divine origin, in particular one whose exploits were the subject of ancient Greek myths.
2. NORTH AMERICAN – another term for hoagie.
Origin – Middle English (with mythological reference): via Latin from Greek hērōs .

Okaaay don’t let’s get all hung up on all the man male maleness of the definition. I’m sure I could find you a Birkenstock Dictionary of Lentil Correctness or something, but instead let us simply remember that some people still say hero and heroine, tattoo and tattooine, coca and cocaine and so forth.* Let’s get cerebrally advanced here and just think mankind or human. Instead, let’s get hung up on the fact that heroes are defined as white hat as opposed to black hat, without mentioning who the arbitrator of good and evil is.

(Too many italics spoil the paragraph. Too much digression is just another day on the blahpolar blog.)

So my post today is all about sandwiches. I keeed, I keeed. Heroes. I’m going to introduce you to whichever of mine my swisscheesebrain can remember. And I am not freaking well having it audited for sexual gender ethnic abled fat thin microbe equality. They don’t fit neatly on the good-evil axis and they’re often far from exemplary characters. What they are to me, are memorable characters, who taught me something and/or mean/t something to me and/or made me laugh deeply anytime during the past four decades. I cba to research and factcheck, so this one comes directly off the top of my head. There are plenty more, I’m a born follower.

*WALL OF TEXT KLAXON!*

Lord of the Rings rep-re-sent!
Éomer: I said more than enough in the E post of this meme.
Èowyn: Sister of the above. Slashed through the coolest loophole ever, to kill the Witch King of Angmar.
Aragorn: I had LOTR read to me from the age of three and read it myself at some point towards eleven. Strider was my hero, above all others. He made me feel safe when I really wasn’t safe at all.
Gandalf: The most reassuring character ever and the only wizard I shall ever truly love (lol). When I’m lonely and need a hug, I read Gandalf dialogue.
Gwaihir: Gandalf, imprisoned in the Orthanc Tower by Saruman the Knobhead, catches a white moth, whispers to it and releases it. The moth flaps off, has a quick word with the Lord of the Eagles and in two shakes of a dead lamb’s tail, Gandalf is free and the job’s a good ‘un. The answer to the eagle controversy meme is right there in the top right hand box:

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Now shut the fuck up about eagles, noob. The problems on the surface of Middle Earth didn’t interest them one iota.

Tank Girl: Punk haired Mad Maxine with a tank, a kangaroo boyfriend and an in yer face fuck you attitude.
Alexander the Great: The toughest faggot to ever pwn the world.
Genghiz Khan: From a prophetic blood spot on his hand to leader of one of the biggest empires ever. A right royal bastard of a warlord.
Marco Polo: Off he toddled up and down the Silk Road, only to wind up in gaol when he returned to Italy, because nobody believed a word he said. Wrote a book that’s still in print. ?…years later.
Boudicca: Ancient Briton who took on the Romans after seeing them rape her daughters. Spent too long being portrayed as a Victorian marble twat called Boadiccea. Pffft.
Alison Bechdel: Delicious dyke comic artist, graphic novelist and originator of the Bechdel scale. Quietly four megatonnes more interesting than Ellen.
Leonard Peltier: American Indian imprisoned since the year dot, despite a dedicated liberation movement.
Jan Palach: The USSR rolled into Prague with tanks and Jan Palach became yet another victim of self immolation in the face of completely overwhelming odds. Considering that Buddhist monks still do it, I wouldn’t call it a successful form of protest, but these days, what is?
Desmond Tutu: Ageing gracefully and giggling; one of the rare South African dignitaries prepared to leap laughing upon his soapbox and stand up for humanity in all its forms. One seriously cool dude. The only person with any clout at all to call bs on both times the ANC here refused the Dalai Lama a visa.

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The Dalai Lama: Far more pragmatic and realistic than any of the fuckenhippies who are allegedly inspired by him to drift wistfully around India irritating the locals. All of a sudden half of Ealing has Tibetan names and claims to be a reincarnated lama. TDL says Westerners would be better off doing good in their own countries. Ha.
Odin: One eye, two ravens and a horse with eight legs. Badass of the Norse pantheon.
Rān: Norse goddess of the sea, who runs the female version of Valhalla. Rawr.
Susan Travers: The only woman to join the French Foreign Legion. And a socialite to boot. Oh yeh. English.

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Amelia Earhardt: Lost and pretty in a leather flying helmet and goggles, and something about flying and so forth. Did I mention pretty?
Georgia O’Keeffe: My favourite artist and yet another badass. Steiglitz made her (especially her hands) iconic, she buggered off to New Mexico, painted the fuck out of it and was still awesomely beautiful at age 90.

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Leonard Cohen: Poet, songsmith, gentleman. Singer Laureate of my family of three-minus-one. I can’t even…
Kurt Cobain: The tragic hero of Generation X grunge slackers (holla). Sex, drugs, rock ‘n roll, more drugs, evil wife, suicide … ripped jeans, obscure tshirts, flannel shirts, blue converse … a primal scream and broken guitars that echo through the years. Heartbreak. Byron 3.0
Osip Mandelstam and all of the other poets that Stalin threw into Siberian gulags.
Butch Cassidy: Brave, sweet, funny, disreputable romantic and beautiful. Ultimately tragic. Also one of my favourite films ever.

*it’s possible that I was talking bollocks for two thirds of those examples.

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