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my hero!

I just dropped this post on resonate, a list-serve looking at postmodern church issues that I have been enjoying over the last couple of months.

I have recently been thinking about the distinct Canadian voice.

I was just part of a 3 day conversation with the author Leonard Sweet, and he was asked that question … what is one of the negative or limiting Canadian distinctives.

Although the conversation began to range widely, at one point he suggested that Canadians need more heroes. We have a bit of an apathy issue, that could be solved by emulating the others who are larger than life. He suggested that this was a bit of the tallest poppy syndrome – chinese metaphor – meaning that we do not want to separate ourselves from the herd.

Perhaps he was right, because I found myself rankled at this suggestion. It was my counter-argument that, like all people, we too have our heroes. They simply do not look like American heroes. From the cowboy mentality of Dirty Harry, Rambo, Schwarzenegger and Bush. To the teen-idol mania of 50 cent, Tom Cruise and Hillary Duff (or whoever he is dating this week) even the feel-good thoughts of Oprah, her husband Dr. Phil and Deepak. These people are not the larger than life heroes that I am interested in.

I am not sure that I speak for others when I say that as a Canadian, I love the anti-hero. Terry Fox and his run (in essence the same story as Lance Armstrong – but so much more approachable). Tommy Douglas, the father of healthcare. The beloved Ralph, with his drinking problem only matched by his maverick and often loveable ego thumbing his nose at Ottawa.

I even find guilty pleasure in the image of our former prime-minister, Chretien choking a protestor, or tackling the drunk Newfoundlander who broke into his house with a screwdriver (God forbid, for an anti-globalist Calgary boy born in Newfoundland, listening to the Gomary report on the sponsorship scandal this morning – Chretien, a bit of a hero? I shake my own head at the irony)

All to say, I am not sure if the typical ‘hero’ image is what we lack up here. I love my anti-heroes.

November 1, 2005

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