Monday, August 24, 2009

Provisional hero worship: looking up to folks the responsible way

Folksinger Jill Sobule once asked, "Why are all our heroes so imperfect? / Why do they always let me down?" Of course, this was before she went nuttier than squirrel poop and let herself be quoted as saying, "Fuck you, Katy Perry," proving once again that even the people who should know better usually don't.

The sentiment behind her song remains true, even as its singer is tarnished. Heroes, man! What gives? Why, on closer inspection, are they so often fuck ups and losers?

In the spirit of good will & optimism, I am celebrating my temporary heroes, the people who haven't lost my trust yet, screwed prostitutes with socks on, or turned out to be health-care-opposing libertarians.

But, to hedge my bets for the long term, I will try to keep my worship in check.

PROVISIONAL HERO #1: DAVID REES ("Get Your War On"). In addition to humorous diversions during the Bush years, he's given us this new Anne-Frank-via-David-Mamet quote:
"Stupid anti-semitic seig-heiling cunt. You know what it takes to live in an attic for two years? It takes BRASS BALLS. ... Send me to whatever camp you want. I'll die of typhus and still wind up on top."
Gotta admire his verve, right? At least until we find out Rees poisoned his funnier twin sister when they were five.

PROVISIONAL HERO #2: MERYL STREEP (most recently, Julie and Julia). So classy, so talented, that she makes me consider getting Mamma Mia! from Netflix. Her rendition of Julia Child had me giggling and beaming at the screen for a full two hours. Sadly, rumor has it that she will be outed as a major internet troll who spends her nights starting flame wars.

PROVISIONAL HERO #3: DAN SAVAGE ("Savage Love"). He's smart and funny and may be getting his own show on HBO:
I'm hoping to bring a new kind of conversation to TV about sex--an honest conversation, one that's informed without being (too) wonky, funny without being (too) cruel, sexy without being (too) cheesy. Basically, my sex-advice column--but on the teevee!
No, he's not always sensitive; he has rightly pissed off numerous folks with flip answers about serious problems. Will he turn out to be a cannibal? Only time will tell!

PROVISIONAL HERO #4: ANNE LAMOTT (Operating Instructions). Would there be mommy blogs, or any kind of blogs for that matter, without brave, frank, wry writers like Lamott who've been letting it all hang out for almost twenty years? Too bad she delights in eating animals while they're still alive, just to watch them squirm, right? Or so we'll discover eventually.

PROVISIONAL HERO #5: MY BROTHER JUDAH. The boy watched the entirety of the Wire, from Season 1, ep 1, through the end of Season 5 in less than a week. I call that dedication of monastic proportions. Of course, it helps that his school year hasn't started yet and he doesn't really, you know, date.

More, more! Nominate your own Provisional Heros to round out the list.


Kate said...

Don't get Mamma Mia... that alone might be enough to knock Meryl off of the list. That's not really true— part of her awesomeness is that she emerges from that movie relatively unscathed. But still don't get Mamma Mia.

Rebecca said...

When you think of the top two reasons why your heroes disappoint you the first one is that they fuck sex workers? Really? There are so many worse, desperately disappointing things that people do.

ester said...

To me, a married governor should know better than to assume he can have sex with anyone he wants. He no longer has that privilege. That was my problem with Spitzer -- that and leaving the socks on, which added an element of the ridiculous to an already stupid situation.

Of course there are worse things that people do. The two I listed were merely the first two examples that came to mind of people I had respected (or assumed I could respect) making asses of themselves.

sorelle said...

I second the thought about Mamma Mia. I haven't seen the movie version, but the live show was awful. Truly horrible. No one who cares about musicals or, well, plot should ever have to watch it.

Britta said...

Don't listen to them!! Mama Mia the movie is excellent and amazing. Meryl Streep is a goddess in that movie! It helps though if you a) already like ABBA and b) are slightly drunk.

When I was a little girl I wanted to be the next Thor Heyerdahl. I wanted to be an archaeologist, and he was the coolest one I'd ever heard of (and Norwegian!). I read his books and learned everything I could about Easter Island and building rafts. Then, I found out he was a huge jackass, and a Nazi sympathizer to boot. He also apparently treated his Chilean collaborators like crap.