March 2017
Vol. VII, No. 294

March 2017

Heroes, Heroics & Heroism

From Elizabeth Boleman-Herring: This March, nine Weekly Hubris columnists consider . . . the hero. Having entered, one and all, the labyrinth that is incarnation, our little gaggle of thinkers recall the balls of twine held out to us by the labyrinth-busters, our heroes and heroines; those rare Ariadnes whose tools may extricate human beings from all and sundry mazes. That great Western ponderer of myths, and myth, Joseph Campbell, writes, “It is . . . those who know neither an inner call nor an outer doctrine whose plight is truly desperate; that is to say, most of us today, in this labyrinth without and within the heart. Alas, where is the guide, that fond virgin, Ariadne, to supply the simple clue that will give us the courage to face the Minotaur, and the means to find our way to freedom when the monster has been met and slain?” Of Ariadne and Theseus, then, this week we sing (or not), in our various keys. (March Contributors weighing in on heroism and heroes comprise: Dr. Skip Eisiminger, Diana Farr Louis, William A. Balk, Jr., Helen Noakes, Dr. Guy McPherson, Alexander Billinis, Dr. William Ramp, Elizabeth Boleman-Herring, and Tim Bayer.)

The hero and the goddess with feet of clay.

The hero and the goddess with feet of clay.

Skip the B.S.

“Bemedaling the Drone Pilots: Heroes & Role Models,” By Skip Eisiminger

CLEMSON South Carolina—(Weekly Hubris)—March 2017—Though Bette Midler sings, “You’re my hero . . . the wind beneath my wings,” anyone who’s taken high-school physics should know that planes and birds acquire their lift from the current flowing over the wing, not under. Though heroes do provide lift, they are often misrepresented. Samuel Johnson thought they must drink brandy, Emerson thought eventually they become bores, and Scott Fitzgerald thought their lives must end tragically. I suspect these gentlemen are mistaken, but I’ve yet to find a thoroughly unblemished hero outside of fiction. From Beowulf to Jesus, literature teems with ideals life cannot provide. (Read more . . .)

What is a hero? Poster from the Khora workshop.

What is a hero? Poster from the Khora workshop.

Eating Well Is The Best Revenge

“Heroes For Our Time,” By Diana Farr Louis

ATHENS Greece—(Weekly Hubris)—March 2017—In January, eight people gathered in a corner of the sometimes packed café at Khora Community Center for refugees in Athens to talk about heroes. There were four volunteers and four guests (they are never referred to as refugees) of both sexes, almost as many nationalities as participants, and from a very diverse range of backgrounds. As Martha Myers-Lowe, the young woman who organized the workshop, told me, “The aim was to remember the people who have helped our lives be better, the unsung heroes.” (Read more . . .)

Hoppy returns.

Hoppy returns.

Epicurus’ Porch

“Spare Me the Heroics,” By William A. Balk, Jr.

ELKO South Carolina—(Weekly Hubris)—March 2017—I gave up on heroes a long time ago, the first time probably when I discovered that Hopalong Cassidy was really somebody named William Boyd, and that the apparently brave deeds and kind words which made him an object of admiration for me were written down by others and given to him to act out. I was only five or six years old, and Hoppy had become, via our first black and white television set, my habitual afternoon immersion in the lessons for becoming a good human being, for being a man. (Read more . . .)

The enduring hero in our midst.

The enduring hero in our midst.

Waking Point

“Heroes for a New World,” By Helen Noakes

SAN FRANCISCO California—(Weekly Hubris)—March 2017—It’s time to rewrite our stories, if we are serious about seeing change in our world. It’s time to redefine our heroes from beings—whether invested with superpowers or not—who settle all ills with violence, to beings who settle these ills through intelligent, non-violent means. In The Hero With a Thousand Faces, Joseph Campbell writes: “The hero of yesterday becomes the tyrant of tomorrow . . . .” The old methods of “Get them before they get you,” of “Bomb the hell out of them,” are certain to not only resolve nothing, but to set us on a ruinous path we’ve trod before—scorched and heaped with the bodies of the innocent and the guilty. (Read more . . .)

The omnicidal mainstream.

The omnicidal mainstream.

Going Dark

“No Surrender,” By Guy McPherson

SAN ANTONIO Belize—(Weekly Hubris)—March 2017—I’m routinely accused of giving up. Worse, it is often written that the message of near-term human extinction encourages people to give up. As the primary messenger of this devastating message, I’m often at the receiving end of messages fueled by ignorance and its frequent companion, hatred. For what it’s worth—and I suspect my two cents is overpriced this time—this essay serves as a correction to my detractors. I’m neither giving up on the living planet nor encouraging others to do the same. (Read more . . .)

Lakota elder Leonard Crow Dog and Wesley Clark, Jr. during a forgiveness ceremony for veterans. (Photo: Josh Morgan/The Huffington Post)

Lakota elder Leonard Crow Dog and Wesley Clark, Jr.

Roaming East Roman

“On Bended Knee at Standing Rock,” By Alexander Billinis

CHICAGO Illinois (Weekly Hubris)—March 2017—My hero is a friend from my university days, a year younger than I, who pledged my fraternity the year after I did. The only child of a scholarly and politically powerful general, Wes would eventually follow his father into the military. But, when I knew him, he was just another undergraduate at our prestigious, internationally-oriented university. Like me, after the fall of the Iron Curtain, Wes went off to study in Eastern Europe; he in Czechoslovakia; I in Hungary. (We also haunted The Grateful Dead in the Bay Area, rode scooters around Jamaica, and sometimes took an interest in the same women.) (Read more . . .)

Publicity photo of Clint Eastwood from “A Fistful of Dollars,” 1964.

Publicity photo of Clint Eastwood from “A Fistful of Dollars,” 1964.

Small Things Recollected

“Heroes, Archetypes & Politics,” By William Ramp

LETHBRIDGE, ALBERTA Canada—(Weekly Hubris)—March 2017— He stands at a crossroads in the midst of desolate mulberry fields; squints at the sky, picks up a stick and tosses it into the air. The direction it points when it falls into the dust at his feet gives him the path he takes. Silhouetted against an empty horizon, his robe flapping in the wind, he is a lone figure striding through a minimalist, empty landscape. I will follow him, in search of some archetypal and ordinary heroes and their political meanings. The scene described above opens Akira Kurosawa’s 1961 classic, Yojimbo, a film that inspired a whole series of emulations, including the Westerns A Fistful of Dollars (1964) and Django (1966), the planetary fantasy The Warrior and the Sorceress (1984), and the crime thriller, Last Man Standing (1996). (Read more . . .)

"The Moonlighters," by Robert Bissell.

“The Moonlighters,” by Robert Bissell.

By Way of Being

“Blown Away: Boats within Boats,” By Elizabeth Boleman-Herring

PETIT TRIANON Florida—(Weekly Hubris)—March 2017—There are times when words are the last things on my mind. These times are rare (and rarefied), as immersed as I have been, since the age of three, in language. But, on occasion, things come to me clothed in dream or vision and, I must say, these visitations of image never fail to stop me in my verbal tracks. Recently, I had a vision—of three rowboats—which, to my mind, explained my place on earth (and yours), as well as the past, and the future of all living beings on Planet Earth. In a reverie as brief and fleeting as a momentary breeze against my cheek, I had a small-case revelation. Eventually, here (just wait a bit), I will try to recreate it for you, though it may lose some or all in translation: it was a vision; not a message. (Read more . . .)

Those injured and those helping after the Boston Marathon bombing.

Won Over By Reality

“Running Headlong Into Danger,” By Tim Bayer

BRIGHTON New York—(Weekly Hubris)—March 2017—The first bomb explodes and then a second. There are hundreds of people running. Most are running away from the danger, but there are those who are running straight into the danger, as well. I don’t have sports heroes and I don’t collect autographs. The people who are on my list of heroes are those who run into danger, risking their lives to save and protect others. Many are in the armed forces, the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard and National Guard—as well as those we call our “first responders”—police, firemen and EMTs. These are my heroes. (Read more . . .)

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