Ideally, a hero is someone who rises above adversity or faces dangerous situations with valor and courage. In the face of danger and adversity, the courageous actor is willing to be self-sacrificing for the greater good. In this regard, the true meaning of the term hero is one who is distinguished by bravado and near superhuman will to help others in distress at his or her own expense. In the late 19th century Carlyle provides a common understanding of what makes a hero. He writes:
Contemporary heroes however, challenge the true meaning of the term hero. Quite often we canonize people for athleticism, beauty, celebrity status, wealth and a number of other qualities that have little or nothing to do with valor, courage, strength or sacrifice. In this regard, today’s hero rarely possesses any of the qualities and strengths associated with heroism in its true form. One of the most endearing attractions to heroes is the thought that the individual can believe that heroism resides in each of us and we might, if we try, successfully emulate our heroes. However, with today’s assignations of heroism it is entirely impossible to be inspired.
It is impossible to emulate wealth, beauty, athleticism or celebrity. On the other hand it is possible to emulate bravado, valor, courage and strength. So to this end, today’s heroes, rather than inspire positive feelings, discourage individuals and leave them feeling inadequate and entirely unsuccessful. The truth of the matter is that today, it simply enough to be famous or popular to attain the status of heroism. It has been argued by media observers that today’s youth culture is greatly influenced by media images and representations of heroes. For the most part many of these token heroes are not worthy role models. Essentially, that the media’s representation of heroism leaves an impression on young people. It is hardly surprising that in light of the