Monday, September 6, 2010

Hero worship?

On the search for a mountaineering bloke called Kenton Cool who came up on one of the forums I read I came across a TV prog called Everest ER which I watched. Cool is in it and I just wanted to see the face and hear the voice (such a lot you can tell from faces and voices). It’s the usual crappy documentary prog conjured out of nothing with idiotically dramatic music and some Scottish twonk overdoing the narration in an unsuitably dramatic voice and featuring lots of people you probably would not get on with socially. It’s not the prog’s fault at all of course as it’s just pampering to the new wave of armchair adventurers and the theatrical voice is part of that. Before you got the same thing with books. But seeing all these rich kids and obsessives and sponsor nuts wanting to summit Everest I wondered, not why people do it, most people are kick-junkies of one sort of another, but why people are remotely interested in only the famous people’s exploits on this dramatic scale. Why Kenton cool? Why Bear Grylls? Why Alan Hinkes? Cool has summated Everest  8 times I’m told. Oh! So what is that all about then? Is that good? I don’t know. Phurba tashi has summited 16 times so it’s not the doing then. Cool has done the Everest summit twice in a week. So have the sherpas, repeatedly. Hinkes is doing all the highest peaks in each country of the UK. That’s newsworthy?!! I mean we’re talking for the most part peaks that my dad would get up with his walking stick. Yet people still cite these things to boost this hero worship thingy going on which is what it seems to  amount to. It’s darn spooky if you ask me. All a bit boys-in-the-showers. I’ve nothing against Cool at all, although he comes over as really full of himself in the film (but they all seem to be like that) but he just seems to be exploiting the situation for his own glory and gain as would every other mountaineer given the chance I suppose.
No, what I’ve always wondered about is heroes and idols, not why people want to be heroes and idols but rather why people seem to have to have them and why they always seem to choose the least pleasant people for the task but I never came up with a satisfactory answer.  If you’re a sportsman you’re going to have some famous sportsman to whom you aspire or look up to, if you’re into metal then some famous band will be ‘your’ band and better than all other bands, if you like football you’ll have some almost mythical player as your idol (usually illiterate and almost incapable of intelligent speech) and if you’re a couch potato maybe a famous formula one driver. It’s weird. It seems that it’s not so much what you do as how famous you are doing it.
I sometimes think I have some sort of illness which screwed up my social appreciation and interaction skills because I seriously don’t get it. Is everyone’s life so empty they have to live it through another’s? Is there something I’m missing? Why all this worship? Is it a substitute for god now that religion is on the decline? Could god worship perhaps be the same thing?
However I find the whole idea of commercial mountaineering nauseatingly disgusting, period, so can’t really be objective but there remains all the other fields where the same thing occurs. Even piping which is something I do but loathe talking about. God can there ever be something as boring as arguing over whether one piper is better than another but they all do it. Perhaps it’s genetic. Maybe I’m gene deficient.

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