Our society needs its antiheroes

Depending from which angle they are viewed, society’s antiheroes appear either as creepy persons who induce society’s decay or they are hailed as superheroes who dare to be different.
Obviously rebellious against stereotyped thinking modes, society’s dictatorships, sometimes politically engaged, antiheroes seem to be the reflection of a reality conventional people would like to bury into the deepest graves of society’s collective memory.

Robin Hood appeared as the worst outlaw to the privileged . He was nevertheless poor people’s Santa Claus in many people s mind.

While some all in pink dressed Barbie girls dream would like to attract an unrealistic bad boy prince, one can consider that the antihero with an outlaw spirit is the person who dares to break society s dictatorship and, thus, can powerfully catalyze some determinant changes.
When those changes occur, people are suddenly cured from their usual blindness. One word, one different view of our world will have a domino effect on groups of individuals.

It is James Brown’s powerful « Say it loud, I’m Black and proud » that allowed black people to regain confidence and self pride after years of racial discrimination from the white community in particular.

It is NWA’s controversial introduction of the N word, its offensive attitude against police s discrimination that allowed black folks to view their condition in American ghettos differently. Powerful weapon, better than submission, many Blacks knew they could oppose a real attitude in front of the police.

It is indeed Malcolm X with his Afro centrist views, who created more unity among his folks.

The apparent harshness, the sharpness of antiheroes’ rough discourses is a solid consciences awakener. Without it, society would die a slow death. Too many people are the submissive instruments of their government or society.
Within years of sleepiness, somebody needs to wake up and raise his voice with a powerful no.

The antihero character fascinates me more than the so predictable hero a la Schwarzenegger. The antihero is merely the representative of the weak and the voiceless. He doesn’t want to raise your sympathy, nor does he claim to be your role model. The antihero acts the way he does, because he thinks it is right to do so.

No matter what you think about them, many antiheroes actions have made history.

Copyright 2007 by Isabelle Esling
All Rights Reserved

5 thoughts on “Our society needs its antiheroes”

  1. As you stated first: “Depending from which angle they are viewed”.

    The angle you focus almost makes hero an anti-hero. Now wonder: what does the society admire? speaking about the entertainment field: isn’t it the trend to polemic and eccentricity what makes a real point? Who would be an hero from that point of view?

    Am telling this, be cause obviously Eminem is related to the subject, and since your perspective the guy (and his alikes) seems to be the heroic anti hero. But… isn’t after all this rapper, who like the rest of them grabs you know what speaking about you know who, a hero for the young society? His clothes wouldn’t sell, or his songs wouldn’t be a hit if the trend weren’t nothing but being controversial. Just as Schwarzenegger, the boy’s trend is quite predictable.

    Don’t get me wrong, am not saying Eminem is an idiot. His lyrics are sticky, I have some of his music, and you need a good brain to make that. But being honest and having a critic point, he isn’t making any difference. Robin Hood, was a Santa be cause he made a solution in some other people’s life.

    What is this guy doing? You start getting sick and tired of people who comes and pukes about dysfunctional family issues, drugs or poverty, and not giving a real light to help out. So, giving you a third perspective, not the heros, nor this kind of anti-heroes do any point. People keeps the same blindfold, be cause this keeps on being a business.

  2. Well, you are entitled to your opinion.

    As an adult Eminem fan, all I can say is that he is not only speaking out for the youths…I can relate to some of his songs, i have been through similar situations…and to those who would be tempted to attack me through their usual vicious attacks…no, i am not a drug addict, yes i do live a 100% alcohol free life and i have not been physically abused in my childhood…yet some of Eminem’s songs helped me to get out of painful, sometimes self inflicted situations…

    I don’t care who Em is helping or not…matter of fact: a lot of people from other backgrounds can relate to his music…maybe other people will find some solace in Santa Claus or whoever…as long as they can help themselves, isn’t that the most important?

  3. I don’t think it is, but some stuff becomes clear… Then:

    1 – He is not going ‘anti-hero’ but doing what everyone else does,

    2- Your words meaning to anti heroes like people that “can powerfully catalyze some determinant changes” loose a sense of meaning when we face them to effects like: “I don’t care who Em is helping or not”, and realize the only ‘help’ is: “people […] can relate to his music” (which far from being heroic is just a pop trend and again is doing what everyone does)

    3- You might be an adult fan, and you can choose what goes with you or what is not related. But as a journalist, you obviously know that it influences people’s mind. And people like you and I, adult audience are not the ones who made Eminem a celebrity. It’s youth market. What are our children learning? Everything might be dark, and “help themselves” is just knowing that there is a bunch of people out there suffering similar situations? Is that help? Is that the most important? Is influencing kids in this way a solution? How much benefit of it we get?

    Am not making you change your mind. You obviously won’t change years of loyalty as an adult, for 2 comments of an unknown person. I don’t mean to. But one of the things I would reclaim to any media-related person, is that a long time ago the world faces problems. And no one has improved the quality life by knowing there are some more. Unfortunately, some real talented artists have tried to provoke real thoughts on people beyond victimizing to make a difference before those situations are not too heard (Stevie Wonder, Lauryn Hill for instance). Maybe those might go a bit against the rules and have a bit of anti heroes. They decided to trade fame for meaning and sense of value.

    Someone said in a movie “what we do in life, echoes in eternity”. And frankly, a long time ago it isn’t true that ‘art reflects society’, indeed its quite the opposite. Ask yourself how heroic is an artist that knowing that, and knowing that the majority of his fans are vulnerable minds, are being affected in their perception of reality and are learning from this to solve or not to solve tribulation.

    Am not blaming the guy. He has asked in some of his songs ‘but where were the parents at?’ But we are adults, and and parents. You must know that no matter how much effort you put in having good basics for your children education, there will always be an influence from the outside. And if the outside is not helping your kids to face life but to see there is pain (what a novelty!) with no possible solution, that is not only the standard, but it really makes no difference in no one’s life’s. Am sorry I just can’t clap that.

    Finally, I must apologize to you for leaving my comment here. For a moment I was trying to discuss in a deep way (you seemed to be deep in your post), and then I tried to give a deeper look. As my comment says: I was giving “a third perspective”. I felt compelled to speak be cause you seemed to be global with your perspective, doing an historic review, weighting valuable stuff and seemed to be checking ‘society’ and then picking from that a solution.

    But then you said “As an adult Eminem fan, all I can say”, and again “I don’t care who Em is helping or not” reveal it was not that widespread point of view, but only using certain facts to promote your idea. And am not interested in discussing that (maybe Em does… it works for him). Don’t worry, I won’t anymore.

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