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UCC Express W/C 27th Oct - Heroes

Last week as I lounged at home browsing the web, one of my most beloved David Bowie tracks, “Heroes”, started to play. As is customary with all my favourites, the volume was notched up, and the smile on my face widened content that my neighbours would appreciate the beauty of the artist. As I sat there, aimlessly scanning web pages, scarcely paying heed to what I was reading or watching, something suddenly caught my attention, instantly rousing me from my Bowie induced music-coma. Flashing sirens, cops with guns taking aim, and a man with his arms in the air are usually enough to catch anyones attention, but what made this more significant was who it was that was surrendering in the video clip. It was none other than Dan Bilzerian, a poker player and actor, not to mention a modern day “hero” in the eyes of many, a coincidental irony given the title of the Bowie masterpiece, that until now had absorbed me.

I have no qualms in admitting that I am ashamed to share the same sex, let alone species, with Dan Bilzerian. I find his constant attention seeking, through the use of scantily clad women, gun toting and general idiotic behaviour indicative of a man with the mental age of a ten year old and an even worse level of intelligence. And no, I’m not a begrudger, jealous of his imbecilic ways or filled with any other negative quality, which usually forms the basis of the diatribe that gets thrown the way of anyone who questions his social standing. I just think he is an idiot who belongs in the stone age, where natural selection, perhaps, would not be so kind to his ego.

So I won’t lie, I was thrilled to see him get hauled in, allegedly for doing doughnuts in a police car he “borrowed”. This of course would not be surprising, given the same individual recently threw a female friend of his off a roof “for a laugh”. Such heroics eh? My delight was soon snatched though, as in truly idiotic fashion, as is common with Dan, he revealed how it was all a big “joke”. Hilarious Dan, truly side splitting stuff. To think this guy is so widely admired is quite disturbing. What encourages people to follow “stars” like Dan and hold them in such high regard, bearing in mind that the concept of the idiot hero is not limited to him? 

Only recently, the abomination that is “College Times” brought the ex convict Jordan Belfort to Dublin, to give a “pep talk” to the eagerly awaiting crowd of, it must be said, mostly male students. Here is a man who would rip off his own mother, a man who was convicted of fraud on a mind boggling level, a man who robbed people of their entire life savings, being provided with a platform to endow his “skills” to Ireland’s next generation. Unlike his victims, there are no concerns for Jordans financial security, as his fame off the back of a film which depicts this sordid past, has gifted him with a new means of earning, an aspect of reality that seemed to escape the brainboxes at College Times and indeed his contingent of fans. Also, let’s not forget it is the likes of Jordan that has brought this very country and it’s people to it’s knees. It truly beggars belief. 

But why do people elect con-men and chauvinistic idiots as personal heroes? Seeing words like “legend” thrown about to describe individuals like these makes me somewhat depressed for the future of humanity, it must be said. Many people seem to know more about the Kardashian’s shallow existence and idiots like Dan Bilzerian than they do about real heroes both living and dead, heroes that are responsible for their freedom, heroes that still fight for the freedom of others. Are sex tapes, childish antics by rich people or the past crimes of a con man enough to earn you cult status in modern society? Heroes admittedly are hugely subjective figures; they can be the person next door or on a different continent. They can be instigators of significant societal change or a family member who held your hand through a difficult time. But surely no matter what the desires and aspirations of an individual, Dan, Jordan and those like them are individuals people would hate to emulate? Or am I wrong? And so as Bowie’s lyrics still echo through my brain, I implore you to not give sexists and con men the company of your respect, they do not deserve it, nor do their victims or playthings.

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