This post was prompted by a certain early 90s alt-rock icon, who, last week, devolved into a transphobic 12-year-old internet troll. (Watch the video in that last link for a sincere and thoughtful response to it all by an incredibly brave woman. FYI: she makes amazing guitar and bass effects, which I thoroughly encourage you to check out, regardless of it all.)
I know a couple of people who really look up to that guy for a number of different reasons. I suspect there are people out there who consider him a personal hero of theirs.
Well, I think the idea of having a hero is bullshit.
There is no human being on this planet worthy of being a hero to someone else. Every great person has done something terrible in their life. To allow someone to be a hero to you, opens you up to you wanting to be that person. Being that person, if even possible, means making the same mistakes as that person. That’s bullshit.
I’d rather have inspirations.
For a while, I almost considered Eric Clapton a here of mine. This is a man who had a terrible heroin addiction, stole one of his best friend’s wives, and, while drunk, made racist comments about how England should be kept white. What the hell kind of hero is that?
Having Eric Clapton as an inspiration, though, I can handle. The way he plays guitar touches something deep in my soul. I would love to be able to play like him. That is something I can strive for, without having to deal with any of the other bullshit that would go along with living a life like Eric Clapton’s.
People are amazing in their ability to be terrible and mess up their own lives. If you’re going to look up to someone, let the great things they’ve done inspire great things in you. Don’t try to be them. Cut out all of the shit they did that disgusts you, and never repeat it. Never forget they did it. Forgive them, if they seem worthy of forgiveness, sure. But in your own life, let them only inspire good things.
Forget having a hero, make them an inspiration.