Tuesday, March 8, 2016

'Hero'? I Hardly Think So

Why is this man called a "hero" for doing what comes naturally?
The word "hero" may be the most overused descriptive in American English. You are automatically a hero if you are in the military, a member of fire and rescue, a cop, a teacher, a football player, and on and on. Most of those people would be out front in saying they are not heroes; they are simply doing a job. Some others--like a number of cops of late--are anything but heroic. They are criminals, but that's another blog post.

Here, we have a great example of the word's overuse. The Huffington Post headline blares: "Real American Hero Saves Kid from Getting a Bat to the Face." The man, probably the computer-involved boy's father, is making a quick--and laudable--reaction to a threat to the child. Even if the kid is not his, there are few of us who would do anything different than he is doing, if we were sitting where he is sitting. You will note that the man in front of our "hero" is doing the same thing, but he missed the bat.

A few of the people are shying away, but they obviously have no dog in the fight and don't care if the kid gets brained. Or maybe they are cowards.

In any case, the man stopping the bat is not a hero ... except maybe to the kid.

My suggestion is that if we reserve strong words like "hero" to appropriate situations--say protesting at a Donald Trump rally where you know you are going to be clobbered by a private army--then it regains its power.

1 comment:

  1. I think it goes too far to call the people not protecting the kid "cowards." A bat flying into the stands is lightning-quick event and people are just reacting by instinct, not conscious thought or moral judgment. Blessedly, the one man's instinct was to protect the child.