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Hero Worship & Being Uncool

When I first started to write this, it was to be a tribute to Phillip Seymour Hoffman and why it almost killed me when I found out that he overdosed. Instead, it became about the good and bad of hero worship.

Heroes are a special breed. We see in them, something great that represents what we believe is virtuous and true.  In our hearts and minds we secretly aspire to be just like them. A parent, brother or sister, best friend or a public figure – in them we see something that we wish we could have. For me, it’s my wife’s love and generosity, humanity - her  candor & almost brutal honesty. I’m only half of that.

You don’t have to look far to find your heroes

News of Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s tragic passing devastated me – another fallen hero. What a waste. He was one of those guys I looked up to. All day long, a Hoffman highlight reel has been playing in my head. What makes him a hero to me and so many actors and movie fans was the way he seemed to occupy the characters he played as if to transform himself and become the characters he would play. I will always admire this guy who threw himself into his work with such passion and conviction. Such commitment!

Rock has its heroes. They are the artists and songwriters that somehow cut through and tell us the truth with song. They can raise us up, tear-out our heart, kick in our guts and make our brains explode. My rock heroes leave me exhausted. When they finish there’s nothing left to say.

It seems almost ironic that one of my rock idols put this idol-worship is to an end in one of his songs, telling us that  we are destined to be who we are:

Remember all the movies we'd go see

Trying to learn how to walk like heroes we thought we had to be

And after all this time to find we're just like all the rest

Stranded in the park and forced to confess

 

Hoffman, in the role of a legendary rock critic in the movie Almost Famous expands on this, finding solace in it.

 “.We are uncool. Women will always be a problem for guys like us. Most of the great art in this world is about that very problem. Good looking people, they have no spine - their art never lasts..the only currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you’re uncool...”

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