16 January 2008

My Hero, the Cow

Those of you with small children possibly know of a show called "Higglytown Heroes," which airs on the Disney Channel at all hours of the morning (specifically 7:30 here on the East Coast). The show consists of computer animated nesting dolls who populate the town of Higglytown. Here's every episode plot: four children and a squirrel (with a Minnesotan accent mind you) run around doing boring, asinine activities until they run into a situation they don't have the brains or ability to fix themselves. Upon discovering that they need "someone special," they sing this little diddy:

"Someone special who could it be ?
This job's too big for you and me
We need some help
But never fear-o
It looks like a job for a
Higglytown Hero."

Please note the desperate attempt at rhyming in the creation of the word "fear-o" to connect to "hero" in the following line. I'm certain that I'm not alone in wanting to vigorously push a baseball bat through the TV screen every time they sing this.

Now, the fun does not stop at the song. The children always find their "hero" who, incidentally, is rarely ever a hero at all. To remind everyone, the definition of hero is "a [person] of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his brave deeds and noble qualities." Now, I'm all for orthodontists and pet store owners, but these individuals rarely, if ever, qualify as heroes in my universe. But they sure count as heroes in Higglytown! Huzzah! Indeed, dumptruck drivers, librarians, tugboat captains, and even barbers are all considered heroes in Higglytown. I can only assume that Higglytown's definition of hero is someone with a job. But wait, it gets better! In one mind-boggling episode, the children's hero for the day was a dairy cow. A FRICKING COW. Why did they consider ol' Bessie their hero? Because she produces milk on a regular basis. As in, something she does without thinking and without her permission. And dang it, they needed milk for baking, but I guess they don't have stores in Higglytown, so what were they to do?! Good thing the damn cow was heroic enough to be born with mammary glands! Whew, that was a close one.

I am certainly not the first to think the meaning of hero has become warped as of late, what with everyone under the sun calling everyone else a hero. In some cases they certainly are heroes, like those who willingly and selflessly risk their lives to save the lives of others, more especially those they don't even know. That's a hero. A pizza delivery man is not a hero unless he happens to dive into icy water to save a drowning child while doing his delivery rounds. What are we teaching our children about the value of real, true heroes, and particularly at such a young age? Heroes are rare, not anyone you see just walking on the street. That's what makes them heroes: that they are willing to do what most others are not when it comes to saving a life. As far as I know, most people I'm acquainted with are willing to get a job. The men and women fighting in our military do not consider themselves heroes and agree that the term is used too loosely. If our soldiers and sailors aren't heroes by their own standards, then how can my sanitation worker possibly qualify for that job? Just by showing up to work? Maybe it takes getting kids and squirrels involved first.

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