At some point, some person got it in his head that a Hero was someone who did good things. Maybe sometimes, maybe all the time, but undeniably "good thing." We've been teaching that to children ever since. It's not true. A Hero is not a person who does good things. If it were, people would consider nurses and teachers and mail men as Heroes.
They don't. I know … it’s sad. Don't cry about it. That’s life.
So, what is a Hero, or a Villain for that matter? People who do things that we want to do, either openly or secretly. Take the mythological archetype of the Hero, Herakles (Hercules to the Romans). He was a rampaging, murdering machine. The son of the King of the Gods. No one could stop him. Eventually, it was his own character flaws that did defeat him, but the world itself couldn't touch him.
Superman is a Hero not because he fights evil, but because he flies, and shoots heat rays out of his eyes, and bullets bounce off of his chest. He fights evil to make humans feel better about his obvious superiority and so that they won't be afraid of him. Batman is a Hero not because he fights crime, but because he's a millionaire who dresses up in a weird costume and mask so he can go out and night and beat people up. Wonder Woman is a Hero because she can kick any man's ass anytime she wants. And she's also a princess who looks damn good in a bathing suit.
Even serial killers who fit under the Villain category are in fact Risque Heroes because they kill people, chop them up, and bury their bodies in shallow graves in the woods. Think of the person you hate the most and tell me you haven't had that fantasy once or twice!
Plain Heroes are nice Heroes. Villains are naughty Heroes.
Heroes do things that we want to do that are socially acceptable, or at least justifiable. Villains do things that we want to do that are socially unacceptable, even if it is unjustifiable.
Julia Robert's Pretty Woman character remains a hero to many young women. She was a whore who still ended up with a good-looking rich husband. And she went on a Rodeo Drive shopping spree. Many young guys consider pimps to be Heroes. What man hasn't secretly wanted to "manage his bitch' at least once. Maybe that one time after she made you turn off the TV so you could listen to her talk about her day.
The list of fucked-up nominees for our choice of Heroes is long and shameful. Magneto is my favorite. He never really picks a side. Sometimes he's a hero and sometimes he's a villain. All depends on the situation. He is not handicapped by an alliance to a group or an idea.
So the next time you say, or you hear someone say, "Wow, that guys is my Hero!" consider why that is. Because it has nothing to do with being good, and everything to do with being someone else. Whether that’s good or bad depends entirely on who your Heroes are.