Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Heroes and Anti-Heroes

I've been looking at some of the hot movies for this year, and once again got annoyed. At least two of these acclaimed films feature anti-heroes. Quoth Wikipedia:

In fiction, an anti-hero is a protagonist who is lacking the traditional heroic attributes and qualities, and instead possesses character traits that are antithetical to heroism.

Okay, so I'm a traditionalist. Heroes are supposed to be "good guys," right? Wrong. Somewhere not so long ago (again, in the 1960s), people decided that evil was more intriguing than good. Screw this role model business, nobody's perfect so nobody is completely good. And thus we are now treated to film after film about mass murderers, serial killers, drug dealers, hit men, and for all I know, "hookers with a heart." This is the new redemption. Rather than a good man or woman overcoming some terrific odds to make sure that civilization is kept secure or made better, we now must accept, at best, a man or woman who is often at odds with civilization and who, by the end, might have made it a little better or a lower level of evil or more likely, even a little worse. Gosh, those are the sort of people I'd like to look up to!

The media and Hollywood love to talk about athletes as role models while ignoring the characters created on TV or in movies, not understanding that kids really absorb that stuff and take it into their hearts. My heroes while growing up, for better or worse, were Han Solo, Indiana Jones, Captain Kirk, Hawkeye Pierce, and later Captain Jean-Luc Picard. Not all of them are exactly squeaky clean, but you at least knew they were on the side of the angels. Who do people have now? Dexter? Yuck. More on this later.

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