Monday, June 20, 2011

Today's Rant: I Know What a Hero Really Is

So today a comedian killed himself and murdered his friend.

I’ve read a plethora of tweets saying what a “hero” Ryan Dunn was.

Yes, a “hero.”

I knew little of Dunn as one of the very few clips I’ve seen of him involved a sequence of his placement of a toy car into a condom and having said trinket placed up his rectum for laughs which were really made at the expense of the physician who x-rayed him.

He got those laughs to be sure. I don’t deny it. He made millions of people laugh at his amazingly crude humor. At times I laughed myself – mainly at the idiocy shown by him and his fellow “Jackass” compatriots.

But really – is that all it takes to make “hero” nowadays? Making people laugh for being, well, a jackass?

Hero: he•ro  [heer-oh]
–noun, plural -roes; for 5 also -ros
1. a man of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his brave deeds and noble qualities.
2. a person who, in the opinion of others, has heroic qualities or has performed a heroic act and is regarded as a model or ideal

So, there’s the definition of “hero.” Unless people were tweeting that they thought Ryan Dunn was a sandwich – this is the definition to which they are equating him. Seems a lot of people felt that Mr. Dunn lived a “life of distinguished courage” and was “admired for his brave deeds and noble qualities” and was “regarded as a model” and an “ideal.”

Wow – yep, making people laugh automatically makes you brave and noble and I should try to aspire to be like you, especially when you are able to make them laugh by being physically violent with others and oneself.

Sure, I get the joke. Dunn WAS breaking rules that I personally find outrageously puritanical – the ridiculous fa├žade of our American psyche. He challenged those ideals by spitting in directly into the face of them. For that, I will happily admit, I appreciated him.

He also appears to have gotten himself so drunk he drove his Porsche into a forest, slamming into a tree so hard that it burst into flames – killing himself and murdering his passenger.

Yep – that make a hero alright.

I admit I got angry when I read the mountain of tweets from people calling him a hero. And I got slammed on my own facebook account for calling those idiots out for being, well, idiots.

I can sympathize with people when a favorite entertainment personality passes. I was bummed out when Clarence Clemons died from a stroke a few days ago. I was bummed when James Arness passed away. I was bummed when Jeff Conaway died. I was saddened when Elizabeth Taylor died.

And for the most part, with the exception of the late Ms. Taylor (whose constant philanthropic work I have more knowledge of than any of the others), the rest I never would have considered “heroes.”

All those people made people laugh, cry and feel something meaningful about their work. And yes, I wholeheartedly admit that Ryan Dunn obviously made people feel something about his work – but did his work really reach the point of “heroic” stature?

Should there be statues of Ryan Dunn in his hometown?

Should little children watch re-runs of his shows and have their parents hope they will aspire to be more like him?

Or should the minute, scorched carcass of his Porsche be set on the corner of his hometown’s major intersection with the sign that says “Drunk Driving Kills?”

I’m reminded on a daily basis that there are young men and women who are in our armed forces and serve in our fire departments and police departments who are losing their lives every day to make our lives safer and defending our right to laugh at people who shove toy cars up their asses.

I can’t and I won’t apologize for refusing to say that Dunn was a hero.

I can’t and I won’t apologize to people who think I shouldn’t be angry at people who think Dunn was a hero.

But I will always thank those people who really do meet the definition listed above.