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rampant unneeded 'heroism'

Know what I dislike? Something bad happens to someone, and then suddenly they are a hero.

Take this girl Yes, she was raped, yes it's horrible, no, I'm not insensitive. She didn't do anything extraordinary. ALL THAT HAPPENED was that she was raped for years. Congratulations, now you're a hero! WHAT?

Child has leukemia. She lives. That's wonderful. Still not a hero.

Boy gets stuck in a tree for days. Hero? No. Dumbass.

Fire in someone's home. Not a hero. Just stupid for leaving her curling iron on.

Even a child whose parents are going through a divorce will probably be called "brave" or even "heroic..." But WHY? She isn't. They aren't. It's tragic that bad things happened to them but simply living your life through bad things isn't the stuff of heroism.


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 2nd, 2005 05:18 am (UTC)
I disagree. I think that living your life through bad things can be the stuff of heroism, or at least bravery. (Heroism I would say requires helping someone else). It's not heroism when something happens TO you, that is true. But people can have many different types of reactions to these things and some reactions I would consider heroic. Some people might crumble, retreat into themselves if something like this happened to them. This girl is speaking out about her ordeal in hopes of helping other people in that situation. I can see why they called her heroic.
Dec. 2nd, 2005 05:36 am (UTC)
I see your point. To be a hero, you not only have to undergo great struggle, suffering, or risk, you have to do it for the purpose of helping other people. If you do it to save your own skin, it's not heroism.

I'd argue that the raped girl showed heroism, not by enduring the rapes, but by telling her story publically to the news media. To do so she's reliving what are probably nastily traumatic memories, and perhaps risking making herself an object of shame and pity to her new classmates and friends. For a teenager, that's darn brave. And it's reasonable to say that she's doing it in order to help clean up the business of international adoption and maybe help other orphaned kids.

So yeah, she might be a hero. (Or maybe she's doing it for a freaking big interview fee. I wouldn't blame her for that.)

You can certainly be a dumbass and a hero. Leave your curling iron on, start a fire, run back in to save your ailing grandmother.

At some point, I'd say bad things are bad enough that merely surviving them counts as bravery. If you're in a situation where many people would commit suicide (either deliberately or by just giving up), and you decide to go on living, then you're "brave" (though not "heroic"). Hard to define examples; maybe becoming a quadriplegic, living through a death camp like Auschwitz, or suffering from AIDS or cancer would qualify.

Dec. 2nd, 2005 01:33 pm (UTC)
I agree with your second point.

This is one of those touchy subjects for me and I should probably not comment at all but whatever.

The girl was tortured for five years. That part is sad. It does not make her a hero. The pedophile also raped another girl (his daughter). That girl knew he adopted a female child and was probably raping her. She said nothing. She is not a hero. The fact that the russian girl told her story and got the disgusting animal jailed (and hopefully with a wellhung guy named Snake)- that makes her a hero.

By providing information that put the bastard in jail and keeping the guy from destroying the lives of who knows how many little girls, (as pedophiles and abuses almost never strike only once, but numerous times)- she's as heroic as they come in my book.

If it were you or I who were saved because this poor kid talked to the authorities, you may then think she's pretty darn heroic.

Everyone else you mentioned- not heroic.
Dec. 2nd, 2005 05:37 am (UTC)
I agree with you. The woman in the article was brave, yes. But not a hero.
None of those other fictional cases were either.
Terrible, awful things can happen to good people. Surviving them doesn't make one a hero though. It makes them a victim, and a survivor.
Dec. 2nd, 2005 01:25 pm (UTC)
Heroism lies in one's actions in response to adversity, especially in regard to helping others. Her going on the air like that, she gave up some of her privacy to warn people by getting them to think about situations they might have noticed but not comprehended. In that sense, her action was heroic.

There was a quote I saw once on the back of someone's SCA shield: "Heroes aren't born, they're cornered." :-)
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )


Much like pineapples, I am hardcore.

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