View Full Version : Heroes and their pedestals

16th Feb 2013, 05:59
Isn't it weird people need someone 'up there', and being 'up' needs some characteristics that are bound to bring many down. As Mr. D reminded us in the astronauts-thread, one should never meet one's heroes.
In some fields it's "easier" - if you're the first one on the Moon, there's no way to beat you, or land on the Hudson river, or have the brain for science.
But if you have to prove you're the best again and again...
I am aware of the dangers of putting sports stars on a pedestal. I know that they are human beings, subject to human foibles, like the rest of us. That, like the rest of us, they are imperfect, flawed. In fact some of those flaws are often bigger when it comes to sports stars. Itís one thing to have the talent, quite another to have the dedication to turn it into championships and medals. It calls for a certain ruthlessness, a certain selfishness, an obsessive drive. Oscar Pistorius: The more we hear of Reeva Steenkamp's tragic death, the more a hero falls - Comment - Voices - The Independent (http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/oscar-pistorius-the-more-we-hear-of-reeva-steenkamps-tragic-death-the-more-a-hero-falls-8497287.html) Somehow it's more puzzling for Pistorius than for L.Armstrong, as Pistorius seemed to have it all - the makings of a legend, and then one minute it's all gone. Made worse by having been paid to be an inspiration -
John Taylor, director of a sports sponsorship company and a veteran of the industry, told the BBC: "Even if Pistorius is found innocent, he is damaged goods. Brands need to act quickly and distance themselves from him; they cannot afford to wait until the case is heard.
"It's not like rats deserting a sinking ship, it's just the sensible thing to do."
Nigel Currie, director of sports marketing agency Brand Rapport, agrees, saying: "This is very different to the Tiger Woods and Lance Armstrong cases; this is life and death. There's no coming back from this." BBC News - Pistorius fall-out: Nike moves to limit brand damage (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-21472843)

16th Feb 2013, 06:06
Before getting too downhearted, let's return to our humble selves - non-heroic perhaps and not famous, but still accurately described by Shakespeare:

"What a piece of work is a man, how noble in reason, how
infinite in faculties, in form and moving how express and
admirable, in action how like an angel, in apprehension how like
a god! the beauty of the world, the paragon of animals..."


16th Feb 2013, 06:09
... the beauty of the world, oh my :p!
(that's the man as a man, of course, right, RJM?)

16th Feb 2013, 07:21
I have been reading the news about Pistorius this days as everybody else.
Yes this story deserve a thread. In addition you bring up the subject very nicely, Probes.

Heroes... There is so much to say about it... For me it sounds like idolatry. I don't see "hero" as a positive word. Heros are mostly anonymous (Berny LaPlante, HERO, as a reference ;) ), having fame spoils it. A hero could be you mother for example. Going to the moon, this is a chance millions of people would have taken, some would have even given a part of their body probabely to participate. No hero there that I can see and did something selfless. I am not against, but I have no idolatry for somebody who has the chance to be there at the right time at the right place (because let's be frank: that's not much more than that) but stands on the shoulder of humanity and evolution, society, nothing else. In the case of the moon, the hardest was to send people there, and a former nazi SS officer did the job. Most people in the world could have done the cosmonaut part, probabely 75% of the adult population (including women) could have done it with the same training. However building the rocket to get there at that time? Only one human on earth was able, our cherished former nazi SS officer (Wernher Von Braun). "Hero" is a very relative idea. Nowadays a hero seems to be somebody full of himself, lucky, who enjoys to play the humble guy with a smile when speaking, but actully still full of himself. If the guy says something stupid, like: "I could see how small is the world" or "I could have never done it without the help of (and put here the name of somebody rather not very important, out of the fame competition)", everybody think how smart, wise and humble is the "hero". Idolatry. Nonsense. Comedy show.
Alright that was for the moon and/or hero part you mentioned, now let's get to the point.

Our society has lost its map like I said before.
We have it too easy. Despite the economical crisis, we never had such an easy life in thousands years.
So we become arrogant. We think we are god on earth. We give rights, we want equality everywhere, we want some new stuff, change obvious definitions, change reality, yes we are bored. Social progress gave way to politically correct, itself giving way to the stupid "I am more open minded than you" game. That's initially a good intention, but it got lost at some point.
We don't even realize everything could end tomorrow morning. If we believe the scientists, we were not even supposed to be here, dinausors should have leaded on the earth, only an accident gave way to us monkeys, smart monkeys.
So we believe everything belongs to us. Even logic, we decide what is logic or not, what makes sense or not.
This is how we ended up having people without legs being sprint champion. Arrogant people like ourselves. Nonsense.
Any elephant is stronger than any of us, any dolphin swims faster than any of us, any cheetah runs faster than any of us, but we keep watching ourselves, the center of the world. We found nothing better to give olympic medals to people unable to move themselves or live without help of some kind, or without the others creativity. There is no special glory in being able to move around by yourself like most of us, but giving olympic medals to desabled people who would never have survived without the modern society shows the politically correct and open mind exercice is corrupting everything everywhere. The most important part of us is the brain, and those people don't even care (or are encouraged) to use it. No need to have legs to get a PhD or something. But you sure need legs to run. A rabbit can run.
Pistorius is the symptom of our sickness. I am not saying it: you do with the hero idolatry. This guy was not even the fastest disabled person, somebody else (without leg too) actually beat him up, but corruption, arrogance, idolatry made him what we wanted him to be: the symbol that anybody can have what he wants, because everybody is the center of the world and deserves whatever he wants whatever the nonsense. This is like a right we would give "him" because we are so generous (actually arrogant without limit). This is our new religion.
[email protected]

You think I am not tolerant right? You think I am not open minded right? You think that no, everything is fine, this is not nonsense like I wrongly clame right?
Do you know wrestling, this olympic sport that has thousands years, one of the foundation of the olympic activities in antic Rome up to nowadays?
While the disabled people are becoming the new olympic trend, the olympic commitee just said wrestling won't be part of the olympic game anymore: out. They said it was not an olympic sport. Because nowadays we decide what name, what definition we give to everything. We are better than anything else. We are better than the future and the past.

Now tell me in the eyes our society is not all nonsense, tell me our society is not getting lost. Tell me this is just me: I am not open minded.

16th Feb 2013, 07:26
... the beauty of the world, oh my !
(that's the man as a man, of course, right, RJM?)

Shakespere's all approved poetic stuff, probes. Certainly not girly. :=

16th Feb 2013, 09:30
Interesting comment no 'the modern sensibility', KAG.

Humanism puts humans, not some god, or tree or mountain etc at the centre of things. Our societry, the one whose shortcomings you describe, is basically humanistic. It has been since at least the Enlightenment, and in patches well before that.

Are you saying that we've simply taken the us/me centrism idea too far, or are you questioning the value of the whole humanist idea?

If it's the first, the remedy - to 'pull back', looks unlikely. We're not good at retreating in that way.

If you're no fan of humanism, what's the alternative? You haven't provided one, and I'm open minded, and interested.

I agree with a lot of what yu say, by the way, but perhaps you have the wrong culprit. Might it not be our humanist philosophy, but the needs of the media that are responsible for putting on pedestals 'sporting heroes' who are not up to the 'job'?

I've refrained from mentioning feet of clay in connectiun with Mr Pistorious.

16th Feb 2013, 11:49
Modern society appears incapable of distinguishing between 'heroes' and 'celebrities' on many occasions.

16th Feb 2013, 12:11
Does anyone know why millions of people are fascinated by the private lives of "movie stars"?

These folks are admittedly very good at pretending on screen to be someone they're not. So what?

Yet hundreds of magazines concentrate on almost nothing else.

I don't get it.

16th Feb 2013, 12:42
Police said a police driver has been suspended after a car crash involving Manchester United winger Nani.

An unmarked police car responding to an emergency call ... collided with the 26-year-old player's Bentley Continental.

16th Feb 2013, 12:52
I don't get it.

Aviation, whatever your involvement in it, involves taking responsibility and making things happen. Reality is our judge, and a harsh one sometimes.

Being interested in what people who pretend to be other people are wearing today has nothing whatsoever to do with the above qualities, so I suspect nobody on Pprune "gets it".

Our heroes, as KAG and others have pointed out, are the ones who have really done something and don't seek the limelight.

If it's any consolation, almost nobody in my little rural bit of the world has the least interest in those the mainstream media says are 'heroes'.

17th Feb 2013, 07:49
yep, it should have been 'Heroes, "heroes" and their pedestals', I guess.
Our heroes, as KAG and others have pointed out, are the ones who have really done something and don't seek the limelight.In sport that's not even an option, though, if you're top-good.
Interesting this morning:

Welcome to Year Zero. It is prudent to believe in nothing and trust no one. Sporting icons in whom so much has been invested, emotionally and materially, appear to be as reliable as a ready meal which purports to be beef but contains traces of an also-ran from a novice hurdle.

http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/general/others/the-last-word-will-oscar-pistorius-mark-passing-of-the-sporting-role-model-8498220.html (http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/general/others/the-last-word-will-oscar-pistorius-mark-passing-of-the-sporting-role-model-8498220.html)

P.S KAG, wow! And some things are kind of unexpected for me, but generally I agree, btw.

Lon More
17th Feb 2013, 07:55
I always put my women on a pedestal ....

... best way to look at their legs

17th Feb 2013, 09:37
Many, many years ago I had the "pleasure" to meet and talk with a couple of astronauts. I asked one of them a question to do with the effects of reduced, unbalanced gravity on laser ring gyros (based on the sagnac effect). I was given a somewhat rude put down by one of the astronauts.

That certainly made me change my mind about heroes.

17th Feb 2013, 09:37
given the context, Lon... http://mail.yimg.com/ok/u/assets/img/emoticons/emo28.gif

Cornish Jack
17th Feb 2013, 12:07
Lon - As I recall, extract from Nicholas Montserrat's "Cruel Sea"?

17th Feb 2013, 12:33
Might it not be our humanist philosophy, but the needs of the media that are responsible for putting on pedestals 'sporting heroes' who are not up to the 'job'?

While the accomplishments of individuals and teams participating in sports may occasionally rank as heroic - for a moment or two - the commercial exaggeration of the importance and frequency of real heroism in Sports is far out of proportion to actual fact.

Sports, collectively, have become a massive global enterprise that makes other forms of organized crime seem paltry by comparison.

Sports buzz is built out of single events of transient importance, exaggerated far beyond the realities of the merit such accomplishments possess, and small indeed to most of that which is truly meaningful in life.

Sports as business are mostly about gambling, seat fees, kickbacks and commercial hype and hypocrisy, in my view, and done always and entirely for the profit of folks who certainly do not come close to any sort of heroism.

Rather like some manifestations of Government -- very little in Sports is actually connected with the ''reality'' that is advertised.

Solid Rust Twotter
17th Feb 2013, 17:32
What he said. Our perceptions are shaped by a supposedly impartial media.

Yeah, fcukin' right...!:rolleyes:

Edited for mong spollung.

Mike X
17th Feb 2013, 18:03
If I may.

In my youth, I was in formal (private) training to become a concert pianist. At the same time I was forced to play sports (rugby, cricket, tennis). Nobody was forced into the arts.

If only money was thrown behind REAL ability.

I remember a Thursday evening after a Prokofiev piano concerto at the Cape Town City Hall. After the performance, us smokers were outside on the pavement and the soloist (a Russian) walked by with his suit slung over his shoulder on the way to his hotel.

No fancy anything and a (probably) minimum performance fee.

F**k sport and the increasing dumbing down of the masses that enrich the unedified few.

17th Feb 2013, 18:41
There are real heroes and heroines. I count amongst them Kate Shelley of Iowa, Stewardess E. M. Owen, GC, Lloyds War Medal, then Grace Darling, Edith Cavell, Driver B. Gimbert, GC of the LNER and Fireman J.W. Nightall, GC of the LNER. Anybody with a VC.

Plus the nursery nurse who got a GC defending her pupils from a mad axeman. But definitely not anyone connected with sport.

18th Feb 2013, 14:23
Someone not so happy up there:

Cameron Russell: Looks aren't everything. Believe me, I'm a model. - YouTube

20th Feb 2013, 13:09
toffeez wrote:

Does anyone know why millions of people are fascinated by the private lives of "movie stars"?

Um, because millions of people are vapid? Because millions of people have the intelligence of a gnat or the mind of a tsetse fly?

20th Feb 2013, 13:19
Heroes and their Pedestals
What it would take to convince Cameron Russell to mount my pedestal? :E I'd consider her my hero were she to do so.