The disparity in coverage causes National icons to gain a certain image—a celebrity image—which generates their distinction from local, small-town heroes (Skola, 2005). We have allowed the media to change the true meaning of the word hero. We have made it easy to give the title of hero to celebrities, athletes, and music icons. Now, the heroes that we focus on are the ones, who scored the winning touchdown at the super bowl or hit the number one spot on the music charts.
We have always looked toward these media made heroes for generations. The earliest recollection would be Babe Ruth. He set the slugging percentage and smacked 29 balls out of the park. The focus of these heroes last longer than the focus of what was the American hero. Some even think that modern American heroes have been displaced by celebrity superstars because of their media presence (Skola, 2005).
Not only has the media created celebrity heroes they have made then seem untouchable.
For example, Ray Lewis superstar linebacker of the champion ship team Baltimore Ravens. Lewis portrayed as a staunch, Christian, and an example for other to follow. This stands in contrast to the same person who was charged with homicide in 2000 after a club brawl in Atlanta left two men dead (Bisciotti,S 2013). The charges against Lewis were ultimately reduces as part of a plea deal. Families of the victims received over one million dollars in compensation from Lewis. Lewis has been a role model since this incident. It goes to prove that although everyone can change their lives, the label of hero, is too readily dished out to athletes and sports figures.
The media influence has glorified and immortalized these heroes. We have relied on the media to portray as such. Do not get me wrong, their good deeds do not go unnoticed but because of the media’s stance on our heroes, these have become more important. The patterns of these heroes are media made and not a result of true heroic endeavors. Our children today are idolizing these media portrayed heroes along with their flaws. The media has glorified the popularity of pop/rap stars and actors. Our children want to become more like these icons in every way possible. They are easily influenced by the type of music they sing and by the type of clothes that they wear.
Youth want to act just like these celebrities. It does not matter if they advocate criminal behavior or flaunt all moral and ethical conduct. Some of these performers openly put down women and refer to them in degrading and demeaning terms. Not the kind of behaviors our children should idolize or put on a pedestal. In the mid 1980’s to the1990’s there were rap icons who were climbing the charts at a fast pace. Let us take Dr. Dre, Easy E, Snoop Dogg, Tuepac, and Ice-T for example. These rap icons have depicted and romanticized a gang life style, which includes drugs, criminal behavior, wonton sexual gratification, and degradation of women. The nature of gangster rap influenced society in a negative fashion, yet there was nothing that could legally be done to stop this (Giovacchini, 1999).
From 1990 to 2000 rap music followed suit with upcoming artists Eminem and Fifty Cent. Whom do our children look up to in society? If you were to ask a child who they consider their hero, they would more than likely respond Spiderman. Due to the media influence, our children consider Spiderman, Captain America, and Iron Man as heroes. Having these types of heroes gives a positive image to youth. These heroes have been in society for decades. Our youth look up to the heroes they watch on the big screen for different reasons. Some may say it is because they are good and that they fight bad people. Some may look up to these types of heroes because they have no one else.
In today’s society, we need heroes that are heroes due to selfless acts and ones we would be proud for our children to look up to. Where can we find these heroes? Well, if we just look they are all around us, in our communities. In my findings Philip Zimbardo states,” The heroic act is extraordinary, the heroic actor is an ordinary person—until he or she becomes a heroic special individual.” He goes on to say,” Today’s generation, perhaps more than any preceding one, has grown up without a distinct vision of what constitutes heroism, or, worse, has grown up with a flawed vision of the hero as sports figure, rock star, gang leader, or fantastic super hero”(2012). The media has served as an influence in society for many years. Due to this influence, the media is a powerful tool. One cannot argue the fact that the media has the power of persuasion and that it plays a big role in society. At some point in time, we have all considered media influenced heroes as our true heroes. Just because the media plays a huge part on whom we may consider a hero, does not mean we have lost the ability to make our own decisions. Could we leave it up to the media to tell us who our heroes are?
The answer would be yes. There was a time that we looked up to our parents as a hero and paid no attention to the heroes of the media. The point is it is not up to the media to show the younger society who and what a hero is. Patricia Harned, Ph.D., director of Character Development and Research for the non-profit Ethics Resource Center (Ethics.org) in Washington D.C., believes parents and teachers need to show children that heroes are often complex people with less than flattering attributes (Able, 2000). Have you ever asked yourself why it is important to have heroes? When we have heroes, they help to define who we want to become and what it is we want to accomplish.
When we choose the heroes of the media they help define us but only to a certain age. As we go from adolescences into adulthood, the need for a hero does not change. In today’s world, it is up to us as a society to change whom we consider heroes. It would be easy to idolize heroes the media has glorified. However, if push came to shove would they stand on front lines to protect us? I would have to say no. Without altered DNA, super powers, and titanium made suits these glorified heroes would be ordinary people. If all of our heroes had media, backing everyone would know about the heroic acts that take place in our community. As crazy as it may seem, decades ago the media was not involved in advertising heroic deeds. Instead, we heard about these heroic deeds and about the heroes themselves from the witnesses that observed these heroic acts. These witnesses would tell of these events as if they were a story.
The heroes behind these tales did not have a hidden agenda, did not have the need for money and they were not inspired or motivated by publicity. In fact, these individuals are a hero in the true sense of the word. A true hero is not motivated or influenced by anything else except by something greater than themselves and it is this desire that transforms the everyday person into a true hero. Even though we give our heroes Medals of Honor, our true heroes do not ask or require them for their heroic deeds. A true hero does not boast about the great heroics they have done. These acts set them apart from the glorified heroes the media creates.
The heroics that the media creates can come and go in a blink of an eye. However, it is because of this the word hero has become commonly used and has lost much of the validity. Why has this happened? Well, it is because we no longer use the word exclusively for those who are involved in a true heroic act. The media has used the word to define a hero who truly is not one. This may seem that anyone can become a hero without committing a heroic act. In conclusion, we look towards the media to decide which heroes are the great ones. However, a true hero will fight for what is right and asks for nothing in return. There are heroes who receive no recognition but there are also those heroes that have been made larger than life with the influence of the media. We as a society need to remember the definition of a hero and remember the makeup of what a true hero is. There is nothing wrong in holding the glorified heroes the media creates as a role model but there are fines lines that separate the two types of heroes. Heroism is not a word that should be use loosely and demands respect.
Cite this Heroes in Today’s Media, Have They Changed?
Heroes in Today’s Media, Have They Changed?. (2017, Jul 22). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/heroes-todays-media-changed-99/