While at the movie theater waiting for the new Star Trek movie to start (Awesome!) I saw a trailer advertising a new reality TV show scheduled to start on TNT on June 6.
It’s called “The Hero”. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson stars as nine contestants endure weekly tests of physical strength, courage and character. In the end, America will decide which one deserves to be named “The Hero.”
Before I begin my rant about this stupid premise, let me give two caveats.
First, I am of the wrong generation to appreciate or understand the Rock. I have never been able to smell what he is cooking.
Second, this show will probably not be any worse than many reality shows, and will certainly be better than Honey Boo-Boo.
My objection to this show is not about how little we need another reality contest show, or about the contest itself. My objection lies solely with the title.
Our heroes are important to us. Our heroes give us courage and inspiration. That most heroes are ordinary people who do extraordinary things reminds us all we are all capable of greatness.
To involve the American public in deciding who “The Hero” will be changes our perception of heroism, and not for the better.
Heroes are not heroes because they expect to be, or try to be. Heroism doesn’t hold auditions. The opportunity to be a hero is not limited to nine people chosen from many. The goal of a hero is not to be recognized as a hero. Many heroes are just people who made a snap decision to do the hard right thing in a difficult circumstance.
If you want to be a hero, don’t waste your time watching mindless television wishing you had the opportunity to compete.
If you want to be a hero, recognize your own potential for greatness.
If you want to be a hero, join the armed forces or the Peace Corps. If you want to be a hero, teach an illiterate person to read. Become a living kidney donor. Pay the rent for a homeless family. Volunteer at a community center. Become a foster parent. Rescue animals. Go to the gym. Grow food. Write an inspiring poem. Overcome your own adversity.
If you find yourself in an emergency situation, think about others before you think about yourself. Value the lives of the people around you, perhaps more than your own.
Remember that courage isn’t the absence of fear. Courage is doing the right thing anyway.
Another problem with the premise of “The Hero” is that the nine candidates are competing against each other. Only one can be named “The Hero”.
Heroism isn’t about competition, it’s about cooperation. And we can all be heroes. There is never a limit to the number of strong, brave, selfless people there can be.
Most heroes don’t do what they do for recognition. Heroes do what they do because it is the right thing to do.
The Rock’s new show might be very entertaining. But let’s not let Dwayne Johnson cheapen our understanding of heroism.