Editorials and Opinions

Heroes fight the test of time

By Denebola
Published: October 2008

By Kyle Remy

As I flipped through the pages of a recent Wonder Woman comic book, I admired the drawn character but at the same time wondered, Can you really look up to an invented person on a piece of paper? It made me wonder who my leaders are, my heroes, the heroes of our generation? The people we look up to are much different than those our parents did’€they’ve changed more than ever.

Every boy, every girl, every kid needs a hero growing up. Not just to fill their time gazing at pictures or finding stories but to recognize characteristics worth emulating: bravery, selflessness, kindness, and an uncanny ability to kick bad-guy tail. Although time may change our heroes, the search and purpose for personal heroes will be a constant part of each generation.

I asked my dad whom he looked up to in high school. “Robert Clemente, for his humanitarian contributions and incredible athletic skill, he answered. I had no idea who he was, and I’m willing to bet that a lot of other teenagers don’t either. Apparently he was a really amazing man, but with time, leaders fade out of view.

Now, leaders are the people oscillating out of our HDTVs and YouTube videos. These “figureheads can often be misleading. The people on most reality TV shows are “People you want to believe and have faith in, junior Abby Shuster said. But, “when it comes down to it, you know they’re not real. They’re faking.

In a world with so many advancements in technology and easy media access, viewers often face a dilemma: weeding out the artificial personalities and selecting the genuine heroes and leaders.

Junior Hallie Boviard looks up to Reese Witherspoon, who plays Elle Woods in Legally Blond, because she can “play the funny roles and the serious ones. She has also won an Oscar’€one of my own personal goals. Reese is down to earth¦she has kids, so she’s maternal but still cool.

The people we marvel at regularly come from behind our television screens. We should know enough about them to decide for ourselves if they are real leaders and role models.

One thing that hasn’t changed about our personal heroes is that they are people we can relate to and share similar passions with.

Junior baseball player Sam Hyun said that after his mom, his biggest hero is Jon Lester, one of the pitchers for the Red Sox. “Lester was one of the best starting pitchers, but he was diagnosed with cancer, and no one thought he would be able to play again, Hyun said. “That was when he really started working hard. Now, when I see him on TV and all the hard work he put into becoming a better player, it motivates me. I remember that anything is possible.

Today’s leaders and heroes still possess those down-to-earth qualities that allow their followers to relate to them.

The Wonder Woman comic I read is called Wonder Woman, Love & Murder. It’s a lengthy comic written by Jodi Picoult, deemed one of the modern heroes of fiction writing. Picoult’s challenge with the comic was trying to take the dated and fading heroine, Wonder Woman, and make her appeal to a younger, fresher audience.

Picoult reflects on the tricky task of reviving the old heroine as a new leader and inspiration in the changed teen world: “I had to¦create a storyline that captured¦young women looking for a role model. Wonder Woman’s ‘Ëœhuman’ identities have been underdeveloped. It was easy for people to admire her, and hard for them to relate to her. I began to think about today’s term, ‘Ëœwonder women,’ and¦universal battles that transcend across age barriers.

Our heroes and leaders are the people we can relate to and admire for their accomplishments’€that will never change. The role models of today, however, are taking on new personas, and their achievements are unlike what our parents’ generation probably had in mind.

Nevertheless, these people, broadcasted on our TVs and the Internet as actors, athletes, and reality show contestants, hold our highest appreciation. From Wonder Woman to Elle Woods, the heroes of the past and present stand divided by one unchangeable force: time.

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