The Cultural Archtype Hero

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The Cultural Archtype Hero

Postby hive_king » Wed Jan 31, 2007 9:38 pm

So an online British friend, Tom, and I were talking and we got on the topic of what he referred to as the "cultural hero". That is, the type of figure, usually from national history, that people of that country look up to and try emulate, so to speak. I know I might have not explained it the best, so if anyone gets what I mean and can explain it any better than I, go for it.

Anyways, Tom was saying how the English cultural archtypal hero is The Gentleman, and how the French have The Knight and the Spanish have The Conquistador (Jota, I'd love to get your thoughts on this.) Well, this got me to thinking about what America's might be. I think it is The Cowboy. Anyone else have any other thoughts on what they think it might be? And for our friends in the Frigid North, what do you think the Canadian Hero would be?
The Makeout Hobo is real, and does indeed travel around the country in his van and make out with ladies... If you meet him, it is customary to greet him with a shot of whiskey and a high five (if you are a dude) or passionate makeouts (if you are a lady).

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Postby Eaquae Legit » Wed Jan 31, 2007 9:48 pm

The Voyageur.

edit: Better yet, the Committee Member.
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Postby hive_king » Wed Jan 31, 2007 9:51 pm

You'll have to explain to me exactly what those are... I think I'm missing your historical/cultural point AND your joke.
The Makeout Hobo is real, and does indeed travel around the country in his van and make out with ladies... If you meet him, it is customary to greet him with a shot of whiskey and a high five (if you are a dude) or passionate makeouts (if you are a lady).

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Postby eriador » Wed Jan 31, 2007 9:52 pm

I think that the cowboy really is the American hero. America has been, and still is defined by the west, by the frontier. Even the first european settlers in what is currently the US were driven by the frontier spirit: they were coming to explore unknow lands and use them to their advantage. The whole image of the cowboy represents the frontier: the lonely self-reliance, the adventurous spirit, the tough spirit. It's this rough-and-ready image that has characterized America all the way through its expansion, and into the present day. The cowboy is truly the American hero.

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Postby Eaquae Legit » Wed Jan 31, 2007 9:59 pm

The Voyageur Most Canadian schoolkids learn about Him early on.
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Postby Matty » Wed Jan 31, 2007 10:04 pm

I'm thinking that America's cultural hero is the Soldier. The young, fresh-faced kid defending freedom in a foreign land, with nothing to rely on but his buddies and the best military training in the world, kicking ass against hordes of bad guys and passing out chocolate bars to the shell-shocked locals. Wars might or might not be wrong, officers and politicians might be stupid and corrupt, but the soldier can do no wrong.

The cowboy is definitely a major American myth. But I think the stereotypical characteristics of soldiers, such as discipline, honor, and loyalty, are more often held up as general virtues for all of us. The cowboy is more of a symbol of nostalgia for the "Old West," and even a tragic figure.

Depends on what you mean by "cultural hero," I guess.

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Postby hive_king » Wed Jan 31, 2007 10:07 pm

Sorry for being so dense and so American, but whats so noble about a fur trader?
The Makeout Hobo is real, and does indeed travel around the country in his van and make out with ladies... If you meet him, it is customary to greet him with a shot of whiskey and a high five (if you are a dude) or passionate makeouts (if you are a lady).

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Postby VelvetElvis » Wed Jan 31, 2007 10:09 pm

It's cold up there in America-with-frenchies. Keep warm is dang noble.
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Postby Jayelle » Wed Jan 31, 2007 11:17 pm

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Postby hive_king » Wed Jan 31, 2007 11:26 pm

Nah, superman is all-american, but he's different because he's more of a messianic figure superhero than a cultural archtype.
The Makeout Hobo is real, and does indeed travel around the country in his van and make out with ladies... If you meet him, it is customary to greet him with a shot of whiskey and a high five (if you are a dude) or passionate makeouts (if you are a lady).

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Postby Eaquae Legit » Wed Jan 31, 2007 11:27 pm

These guys were tough. Their routes could take half a year to travel. I think the number is something like half of them died during the grueling portages. They were explorers.

YOU try canoeing 1600km in a month with a 250kg canoe to carry during portages (up to 10km, I believe) plus the 90lb bundle of trade goods. For six months or so. Every year.

What's so noble about a cowboy?
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Postby Guest » Thu Feb 01, 2007 12:12 am

The "cultural hero" of America (at least, regionally in the United States) was or ought to be the Minuteman - no, not some jackass from Arizona patrolling the border, the historical version. The patriots of the American revolution didn't fight or struggle for nobility and honor, like The Gentleman, nor for land and gold like The Conquistador, nor for title and rank, as The Knight. They fought for freedom; from tyranny, from government, from the auspices of the power-hungry. They fought to be left alone, to live as they willed. This is echoed in the way we hold The Cowboy in our imagination - someone who wants the peace and quiet of an empty plain, to live as they want, but who stands ready at any time to draw their six-shooter to defend themselves or what they've worked for. Just my thought on the subject.

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Postby starlooker » Thu Feb 01, 2007 10:14 am

The cultural hero of the American shifts from context to context. However, there is one characteristic that remains.

The Hero is the Underdog. All odds are against him/her. There was some barrier that might have prevented him/her from his goal, but hard work and persistance and perseverence and strength of will paid off and s/he fought through and won.

This is a kind of cognitive dissonance for us, because we also admire power. So, even if we're admiring the most privileged of people who have wealth/happiness/etc., if we're going to be interested in his/her story, there has to be some aspect of the struggle, the reason they might not have made it after all. We're fascinated by wealth and privilege, but the HERO is the person we put into the position of Underdog. If they're big and strong and tough, the enemy is bigger and stronger and tougher, but not smarter or better.

Seabiscuit.

Rocky.

Our founding fathers and our story of the American Revolution.

Lincoln in his loghouse cabin.

This is why, while we are all(?) glad that the North won the Civil War, we romanticize the underdogs -- either the Southerners or the slaves.

The Little Engine that Could

The browncoats in Firefly and the crew of Serenity.

Etc.
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Postby VelvetElvis » Thu Feb 01, 2007 10:30 am

The "cultural hero" of America (at least, regionally in the United States) was or ought to be the Minuteman - no, not some jackass from Arizona patrolling the border, the historical version. The patriots of the American revolution didn't fight or struggle for nobility and honor, like The Gentleman, nor for land and gold like The Conquistador, nor for title and rank, as The Knight. They fought for freedom; from tyranny, from government, from the auspices of the power-hungry. They fought to be left alone, to live as they willed. This is echoed in the way we hold The Cowboy in our imagination - someone who wants the peace and quiet of an empty plain, to live as they want, but who stands ready at any time to draw their six-shooter to defend themselves or what they've worked for. Just my thought on the subject.
The Revolution was about money, too.
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Postby jotabe » Thu Feb 01, 2007 11:57 am

We really don't have, currently, a national hero, so to speak. There is not for us a kind of figure that gets such consensual support.
Spain is not a land of heroes... more like anti-heroes.
The Conquistadores were characters not at all exempt of virtues, of course. They were brave, loyal, strong. But these virtues were ultimately frustrated by moral corruption: either their own, or the corruption of their superiors.

Also, Spain has never been a kind land to their heroes. People with the strategic vision and courage of Pizarro or Hernan Cortés (they conquered empires with a handful of men, using their cunning to exploit their weak points... talk about blitzkrieg), never saw their efforts rewarded by the King, and died in poverty (even Columbus died that way, since the King found a way not to pay what they had agreed). Even nowadays, they barely deserved more than a few paragraphs in History textbooks.
Ask any English person who was Nelson. And now ask any Spaniard who was Gravina, or Churruca.

So, no heroes for Spain.

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Postby hive_king » Thu Feb 01, 2007 12:31 pm

Jota, what about El Cid?

And Guest, I think that while people respect the minutemen, I don't think they're quite "cultural heros". Certain aspects of them carried into the cowboys and others, but you don't often hear people describe people as a modern minuteman, or hear people say things like "all my heroes have always been minutemen." Maybe its different in the northeast, but not here at least.
The Makeout Hobo is real, and does indeed travel around the country in his van and make out with ladies... If you meet him, it is customary to greet him with a shot of whiskey and a high five (if you are a dude) or passionate makeouts (if you are a lady).

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Postby jotabe » Thu Feb 01, 2007 12:53 pm

Oh yes, we have El Cid. That's a Spanish archetype of hero alright. The strength and cunning of the Conquistadores, the idealism of Don Quijote.

Peculiar... i had completely forgot about him.

It's true his figure was tainted by the dictatorship, but well, by now that has worn off.

Maybe not so peculiar that i forgot about him: personally i dislike him. Not because of having a moral dark side, or something like that. Actually it's because he was the one who, according to the historical tradition, captured the Galician king when the kings of Castille and Leon allied to take over Galicia. Not a very decent reason to dislike him, i know.

Oh, and please ^_^ bear in mind that we don't actually know much about the historical Cid... just a few documents of royal donations, and stuff like that. El Cid is mostly a mythical figure, born from the Epic Poem "Cantar de Mio Cid".

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Postby Guest » Thu Feb 01, 2007 11:47 pm

The Revolution was about money, too.
OMGZ, NO WAI!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Postby VelvetElvis » Fri Feb 02, 2007 12:04 am

Just saying that money equals romance only for ladies of the evening.
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Postby Guest » Fri Feb 02, 2007 12:16 am

Just saying that money equals romance only for ladies of the evening.
Lolz. Money = power. Money = privilege. Money = status. Therefore, money = sex. Money doesn't NEED to equal romance, because "romance" is a ridiculous abstraction with no meaning in the real world.

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Postby hive_king » Fri Feb 02, 2007 12:18 am

I feel sorry for your girlfriend.
The Makeout Hobo is real, and does indeed travel around the country in his van and make out with ladies... If you meet him, it is customary to greet him with a shot of whiskey and a high five (if you are a dude) or passionate makeouts (if you are a lady).

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Postby VelvetElvis » Fri Feb 02, 2007 12:22 am

I secretly do believe in romance. Heroes are romantic. Maybe not in a wokka wokka music kind of way, but you can't have it all.
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Postby Guest » Fri Feb 02, 2007 12:24 am

I don't know why you would waste your pity or sympathy on someone you'll never meet HK, but whatever. Just because I believe "romance" to be a ludicrous concept doesn't mean anyone else believes the same way - obviously people like HBC still think it's a meaningful ideal. You also seem to equate the position I outlined that "romance isn't real" to mean that "love isn't real", which is neither what I said nor intended. Kthx.
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Postby hive_king » Fri Feb 02, 2007 12:27 am

I can just see it now. "Sorry, I'd take you out for a picnic under the stars, but romance is a ridiculous abstraction. There's a sandwich in the fridge."
The Makeout Hobo is real, and does indeed travel around the country in his van and make out with ladies... If you meet him, it is customary to greet him with a shot of whiskey and a high five (if you are a dude) or passionate makeouts (if you are a lady).

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Postby VelvetElvis » Fri Feb 02, 2007 12:30 am

I don't know why you would waste your pity or sympathy on someone you'll never meet, but whatever. Just because I believe "romance" to be a ludicrous concept doesn't mean anyone else believes the same way - obviously people like HBC still think it's a meaningful ideal. You also seem to equate the position I outlined that "romance isn't real" to mean that "love isn't real", which is neither what I said nor intended. Kthx.
I said nothing about love.


You don't have meaningful ideals?
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Postby Guest » Fri Feb 02, 2007 12:35 am

HBC: Wait, what? I didn't say YOU said anything about love. I wasn't even talking to you with that post AT ALL. K? As for "You don't have meaningful ideals?" - WTF? How does not believing ONE SINGLE THING to not be a meaningful ideal mean that I don't believe in ANY MEANINGFUL IDEALS? Did you forget to smoke your crack today?

HK: How does having a picnic under the stars equal romance? Listen, just because some dumbsh*ts throughout history have equated certain things with the made-up ideal of "romance" doesn't mean they don't have value apart from that concept. I happen to like the stars. I also happen to like picnics. I wouldn't need to rely on some bullsh*t made up emotion like romance to treat someone I cared about to a meaningful and mutually uplifting time. To reiterate (since I'm obviously dealing with mental midgets) the unreality of romance does not equal the absence of love.

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Postby VelvetElvis » Fri Feb 02, 2007 12:39 am

meaningful ideal
I assumed that part of the post was dripping with sarcasm like the rest.

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Postby Guest » Fri Feb 02, 2007 12:46 am

You might not want you to die in a fire, but.....

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Postby hive_king » Fri Feb 02, 2007 12:46 am

Anthony, how do you define romance, just so we're on the same page? The American Heritage dictionary defines romantic as "Displaying, expressive of, or conducive to love." Do you disagree with such an atmosphere?
The Makeout Hobo is real, and does indeed travel around the country in his van and make out with ladies... If you meet him, it is customary to greet him with a shot of whiskey and a high five (if you are a dude) or passionate makeouts (if you are a lady).

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Postby VelvetElvis » Fri Feb 02, 2007 12:48 am

Dying in fires sucks.
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Postby Guest » Fri Feb 02, 2007 12:50 am

No.

Romance is the game people across the "civilized" world play in the hopes of not dying alone like the shriveled, miserable wretches they are. Romance is BS like Valentine's Day. Romance is nothing more than make-believe; it's a pretender. It seeks to create another made-up ideal, "chemistry" where there is none. Romance is actions that one uses to pretend to oneself (and express the pretension to another) that love exists, where it does not, as if one could make a fish unfish.

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Postby VelvetElvis » Fri Feb 02, 2007 12:55 am

I think the Cultural Hero of America would be The Protector.

Soldier= Hero

Loving Father= Hero

Cowboy= Hero

Single Mother= Hero


The thing that they all have in common is that they are all protecting something.
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Postby hive_king » Fri Feb 02, 2007 12:56 am

I just noticed the "mental midgets" remark. Really, someone who uses multiple screen names to try to hide who he is so he can more sucessfully f*** with people and who makes accounts (star1ooker) to troll with really have no ledge to stand on when it comes to calling people "mental midgets."

I love how easily you disagree with the dictionary (proscriptively, the bastion of the english language) for your own bitter ramblings. Are you honestly suggesting that people who are really in love don't need "romance"? What was the last love-filled act you did for your girlfriend?
Last edited by hive_king on Fri Feb 02, 2007 1:01 am, edited 1 time in total.
The Makeout Hobo is real, and does indeed travel around the country in his van and make out with ladies... If you meet him, it is customary to greet him with a shot of whiskey and a high five (if you are a dude) or passionate makeouts (if you are a lady).

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Postby Guest » Fri Feb 02, 2007 12:58 am

I think the Cultural Hero of America would be The Protector.

Soldier= Hero

Loving Father= Hero

Cowboy= Hero

Single Mother= Hero


The thing that they all have in common is that they are all protecting something.
Now that's something I can agree with. At first when I saw "the Cultural Hero of America would be The Protector" I thought, "What does Tony Jaa have to do with America?" But I get it now. The idea is that what defines "hero" in America is those who overcome all odds to defend what they hold most dear.

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Postby Guest » Fri Feb 02, 2007 1:02 am

I just noticed the "mental midgets" remark. Really, someone who uses multiple screen names to try to hide who he is so he can more sucessfully f*** with people and who makes accounts (star1ooker) to troll with really have no ledge to stand on when it comes to calling people "mental midgets."
I don't know what you've been smoking, but "star1ooker" is not my account. It never was, it never will be. I wasn't even aware there WAS a troll account for starlooker. Secondly, you automatically link having multiple accounts to having limited mental capacity, which is an obvious logical fallacy, since there is no correlation - and even if there was, it's not like you tried to show it. Thirdly, the use of multiple accounts in my case has no connection to hiding who I am - I would hope that anyone with enough brain cells to keep breathing would know that I'm AB, who used to be Volpex, who used to be Satya. Everyone (with a brain) knows it, so who's hiding? Really, maybe you should try harder.
Are you honestly suggesting that people who are really in love don't need "romance"?
Yes; that's exactly what I'm saying. When you really love someone, you do things together that you enjoy. You do things because you want to; to spend time together, to do things in an atmosphere of love and mutual joy; not to uphold some archaic make-believe ideal.


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