There are heroes in both real life and fiction who we all root for and admire but there could be instances when heroism is a tricky thing. Sure most heroes aren’t perfect but by the end of the day, they are the ones who save us, protect us, and inspire us. However, sometimes we tend to heroize people we really shouldn’t not because they’re flawed individuals (for even flawed individuals can achieve heroic deeds) but because their heroic deeds are either fraudulent, could easily become disastrous, or weren’t at all heroic in the first place. A good example of such would be Lance Armstrong who though it’s heroic he managed to overcome testicular cancer and win the Tour de France seven times, the fact he won on steroids is the main reason why he doesn’t deserve to be on a pedestal. Here are a list of fictional heroes who we may admire but don’t really deserve their fame.
From: Comic books, movies, and other media
Why we admire them: Well, they save everyone from total annihilation from some crazed super villain all for the greater good and with awesome super powers (or really cool gadgets) that really come in handy. Also, many of them tend to be fairly safe and accessible role models for kids and adults of alike who can be destined for nerdom compared to many of today’s professional athletes.
Why we probably shouldn’t look up to them: Sure superheroes may be pretty awesome but except when there’s a dangerous super villain who needs to be vanquished, their heroism might have the potential of inflicting more harm than good in other. For one, superheroes have a terrible habit of inflicting collateral damage that might cost not only dollars but perhaps lives. This may not mean much if faced against a notorious super villain but in the realm of day to day crimes, using superpowers might be a little overkill to bring those crooks to justice. Not to mention, many of these superheroes don’t take any responsibility for the damage they may have inadvertently caused either because they can’t afford to (like Spiderman) or just choose not to (like Batman). I mean many of these guys have secret identities for a reason and certainly don’t want their deeds traced to them (of course, Tony Stark is an exception since everyone knows he’s Iron Man and certainly takes responsibility for the damage he causes). Second, most of them tend to be the poster children of vigilantism who usually take the law in their own hands whether the authorities authorize it or not. Sure some authorities in the DC and Marvel universe may be perfectly fine with superhero vigilantism especially if it’s against a super villain but no authority would allow a normal person get away with all that. Third, some superheroes tend to be a magnet for danger since many of their loved ones tend to get into bad situations a lot and some super villains may have a personal vendetta against a superhero as well.
2. John Wayne characters
From: John Wayne movies, of course, usually westerns and war movies
Why we admire them: Since they’re the ones who usually save the day in the end and are the only people who know how as far as his fans are concerned. Also, tend to be the leaders many American men once saw as an All-American hero who embodies the best aspects of American values, patriotism, and masculinity.
Why we probably shouldn’t look up to them: Because most of John Wayne’s characters are really full of crap and tend to be assholes at best who don’t listen to anybody else’s idea of the situation, always insist that they’re right, and whine as well as bully everyone else all the more tomorrow until he gets his way. He’s not considerate for other people nor seems to think of the consequences of his own actions. Meanwhile, the townspeople are totally lost on what to do while the bad guys are making preparations to strike because John Wayne won’t shut the hell up. Oh, but since John Wayne is always the hero, he could do no wrong usually gets away with it, too mostly by luck. And how does John Wayne get rid of the bad guys? Usually through violence, which really isn’t the best solution, especially if the bad guys are Indians who just want to remain on their land like their ancestors had for thousands of years but keep getting driven off to reservations by white settlers who don’t wish to share with them or the U. S. government. Not to mention, most of John Wayne’s characters aren’t nice to women, especially if they’re played by Maureen O’Hara. Definitely not guys you want to have around.
3. James Bond
From: The Ian Fleming novel series and the movie franchise
Why we admire him: He’s a spy and makes working in an intelligence agency seem classy. Not to mention, he’s a gentleman who attracts pretty women and drinks martinis. Also, he’s willing save the world from hostile takeover from treacherous selfish men who will stop at nothing for power, revenge, or other selfish whims.
Why we probably shouldn’t look up to him: For one, he’s not really a spy, he’s more of an assassin who doesn’t seem to be very covert about his activities (I mean you can’t really cover up an explosion, car chase, or anything that consists of a climatic action scene). Also, tends to cause collateral damage which spies and assassins usually try to avoid at all times. Not to mention, he smokes and drinks as well as screws with any beautiful woman there (even if they’re affiliated with the enemy which isn’t a good idea) and gets all the glory. Then there’s the fact he lives an extravagant lifestyle everywhere he goes with all expenses paid by MI6. Meanwhile, there are countless secret agents who are doing the actual spy work from 9 to 5 at the office who don’t get to travel, don’t get the pretty women (or men in Money Penny’s case), and don’t get the credit when a Bond villain is taken down John le Carre has to write about. Also, most Bond villains are pretty much idiots to begin with and intelligence work usually tends to be a group effort anyway. 007 may be a brave and loyal spy but he’s not the only one trying to take down Goldfinger.
4. Indiana Jones
From: The Indiana Jones movies
Why we admire him: He’s a badass archaeologist who tackles Nazis with his whip to protect precious artifacts despite his fear of snakes. He’s a great adventure hero to boys despite being a horn dog. I mean what boy doesn’t want to be Indy? Not to mention, he’s a very likeable guy despite his flaws that we don’t care how much of a jerk he is at times.
Why we probably shouldn’t look up to him: Bad habits aside, Indy is probably not an accurate depiction of the adventurer archaeologist even by 1930s standards. I mean he’s a professor who obviously doesn’t take some of his grad students with him to the places he’s at. Not to mention, he’s rarely seen doing what an archaeologist normally does which is looking for artifacts from a archaeological dig. Sure this may be boring and the artifacts might not be that valuable or interesting (like pottery bits) but still, that’s what archaeologists do. Not to mention, he unintentionally destroys ruins when fighting the bad guys and doesn’t seem to authenticate his findings (like a crystal skull perhaps). He may kick Nazi butt, but he’s hardly a good archaeologist. Also, slept with the enemy on one occasion.
5. White Saviors
From: Any kind of media that takes place in history which may or may not have happened that usually deals with the relationships between white people and minority groups and natives.
Why we admire them: Because many of them are actual historic figures known for helping minority groups or natives and they usually make most white people feel good about themselves. Also, we know their hearts are usually in the right place and they always seem to do the right thing despite what everyone else may think.
Why we probably shouldn’t look up to them (or at least some of them): Well, this is more of a mixed bag since many of them are genuine heroes who either helped save them or even allowed them to save themselves. However, they do have a tendency to cause unintentional racism like the notion that these people are incapable of saving themselves or need a white person from the outside to help them and complaints among ethnic minorities. Not to mention, fiction dealing with white saviors tends to be sentimentalized a great deal. Also, some of the scenarios are pretty unrealistic in themselves as well. Whites living as Indians? Pretty plausible as in Dancing with Wolves, Last of the Mohicans, and Little Big Man. An American samurai warrior? Oh, hell no. Sure white savior movies might be entertaining but perhaps we can have a little more diversity, Hollywood?
6. Private Eyes
From: Pulp fiction novels, film noir, and similar media.
Why we admire them: They dress nice, have a cool head, and stick to their principles no matter how much they clash with the cops or their own flaws. Not to mention, they’re the smartest guys in the room who solve the crimes and are willing to show the bad guy who’s boss. We always love these tough guys and loveable rogues.
Why we probably shouldn’t look up to them: Because even though they do get the bad guy and solve the case it’s usually when the perp has already left a trail of bodies in the mean time. Also, they tend to drink and smoke a lot as well as sleep with a great many women who may seem helpless at first but then usually end up being their worst nightmares. Not only that, but they also tend to make their own job seem like a glamorous profession when it really isn’t. Most private eyes don’t really solve murders unless upon request by the victim’s family or police (and many of their cases don’t really involve murder at all, initially). But what kind of cases do private eyes mostly investigate? Well, background checks, dirt digging, and spying mostly. Many of them tend to spy on people who are suspected of cheating on their spouses. Also, many of them tend to be disgraced former cops who may not be the nicest people in the world.