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About The Hesperian / (Lincoln, Neb.) 1885-1899 | View Entire Issue (June 15, 1892)
THE II ESI' EK IAN.
The manner in which admiration is shown such heroes
is detrimental both to the hero and to the hero woiship
per; detrimental to the former because it makes of him
too often a conceited fop, to the latter, because it dis
plays and at the same time increases his simplicity. The
popular mind is the soul of all hero worship. Just as a
crowd i moved to panic by the cry of "fire," so is the public
pulse set throbbing by the acts of a hern, Just as the minds
of men arc turned by every new fad by the law which makes
it imperative for "Chappy" to wear five suits of clothes and
eight neckties and half an eyeglass in one day; by this same
law are people forced to recognize in others qualities which
arc really unworthy of no' ice.
, How many nonentities among men arc worshipped by
fashion at the present time. The Anglomauiac is one. The
Englishman, who allows the press to think for him, follow
ing blindly the gospel according to the London Titiut, is even
worshipped in this land of the free. Numerous lieutenants,
counts, lords, dukes, are received with open arms in America
who, in their own country, may be so devoid of honor that a
noble name will not shield them from public censure. Many
of these arc poor, brainless snobs, who are presented with
wives by American hero worshipers, and returned to their
native shores, laden with free silver that they have received
for their empty titles.
Oscar Wilde, too was a hero, who, in return for Amcr'can
worship, left us as his legacy a vast amount of sentiment
nlism, seasoned with the essence of a sunflower.
The subjects which the majority of hero worshipers revere
are often unworthy of notice. It seems that in proportion as
the hero is unworthy, the hero-worshiper is foolish. The
ridiculous extremes to which some persons go, in their wor
ship, proves that all those, who are not wise, arc not yet
deceased. It is not strange that a hero should be exalted
above the common people; but it is strange, that an extraord
inary person will be imitated, even to his personal peculi
arities, and that, too, by the cultured. When a play stops at
u place, it leaves behind waves of its catchy music, When
a hero appears upon the scenes, he leaves behind hfm, living
evidences of his personality in the persons of his worshippers.
Who, on seeing a gentleman in long, flowing curb, docs not
believe him either a musician, a cow-boy or a chiropodist. It
is natural. Yet, in so doing one is but recognizing the rule
which governs the hero. Each hero, of the sensational type,
must have some distinguishing characteristic for his followers
The prominent man in public life is not only imitated,
but is constantly hunted by importunate cranks, who desire
to obtain from him, some token of recognition. When the
heroes are so great that the common people never gain access
into their presence, then the worshipper "camps upon their
trail," as it were, and, by long waiting and watching, gains
the desired end. Such an one was he who followed Tennyson
for four hours, in the hope of hearing him utter a few wotds
of wisdom, and whose curiosity was finally rewarded b hearing
the great Tennyson say: "You take care of the childirn
while I get some beer."
There is another phase to hero worship, which is far
less pleasant to consider, but which displays the indiscrim
inate adoration of the unthinking crowd. Humanity too often
mistaking the sparkling quartz for the pure gold, exalts
worthlessness at the expense of true merit. Mozart must
lie in a pauper's grave. The public of his time failed to pay
iiiuiuu iu ins yen i us. me puouc, a century later recognizs
tier the real hero of to day will have his sepulchre white
washed by future generations.
Notwithstanding this apparent injustice on the part of
moderns, here worship is not, on the whole degenerating. '
The popular mind, though, at the best, easily influenced, is
gradually being educated to a higher standard of criticism.
All men live in the midst of a storm of criticism, which
allows only the best to stand. The worship of the best is
not harmful, unless carried to an extreme. It is, however,
the unrestrained vacillation of hero worshipers among pscudo
heroes, which is productive of the most baneful effects upon
both parties concerned. The worthy hero will not be in
jured by this worship. He receives deference, because of
his real excellence, and is sensible enough to keep self-possessed.
Hut the would be hero no sooner comes into public
notice than he poses as a superior, and grasps wildly and
vainly niter the delusive phantom of fame. Since he desires
no more than his own advancement, and that, at vhatcver
cost to others, hero worship, which serves as the instrument
of his fortune, is, for him, an evil.
The present is an age of ax grinding, l'ew, there arc,
who have not their own ax upon the huge "grituUtone of
public favor. Yet, among these few are those who may be
classed with the real heroes, and with the right kind of hero
worshippers. The true hero and the true hero worshipper are
one. Jioth arc combined in the honest man. It is usual
to think of a hero as a courageous being, who ha? endured
hardship md suffering; yet scarcely ever docs one think to
look about him for these heroes in every day life. Insignifi
cant as they often appear, the true heroes are the honest
What harder task could be assigned a man than to be
be perfectly honest. Honesty of heart, of principle, and of
action, arc rarely seen combined at the present lime. The
principles of an honest man are not worshiped, because the
consistent worshipper must make these principles his own;
and to do this in the year 1892 means lor the majority of
people, a radical change. To the business man this would
mean the restitution of ill-gotten gain, and the consequent
humiliation; to the politician, the revelation of the methods
by which 'he gained his oflice; to the literary "man, the writing
of his own productions. Could this reform be established
there would be fewer absconders and less political chicanery.
There would not appear as did at one time in the Congressional
Record, two speeches exactly alike, but purported to have
been delivered by different individuals.
People believe the world is becoming better in these
respects. Tojudgebythe number of reformers one would
suppose this true. Hut, before arriving at . conclusion, ex
amine these reformers. Kind out the motives and in nine
cases out of ten they may be classed with the popular heroes,
who are wasting energy in endcavoiing to make-others what
they themselves are not nor ever care to be.
Example is the best teacher- Let all reforms begin at
home, then they will be of some avail. Let each man make
himself a hero. Let him be what he would have others be.
Let him do as he would have others do; and then a Diogenes
may sleep contented in his tub, with his candle extinguished,
for all men will be heroes, each hero will be an honest man,
an honest man, the noblest work of God.
'91 J- W. McCrosky resigned his position here as elec
trician on the 26th, to accept a position with the Westing
house Electrical and Manufacturing Company at Pittsburg,
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