In medieval Europe the troubadours sang of the peerless Roland and of King Arthur and his table round, fearless warriors for truth and justice. Next to them stood beauteous maidens, virtuous virgins without flaw or blemish.
In the early days of our republic an author named Parson Weems published readers for young children. In them were stories such as the one about George Washington and the cherry tree.
When I was a young boy the cinema performed a role much like that of the troubadours and Parson Weems. The movie heroes were strong and handsome men of unimpeachable character, and the female leads were beautiful and above reproach. I remember films about Billy the Kid and Jesse James in which Hollywood even managed to transform murdering outlaws into misunderstood heroes.
There was a societal push for the entertainment industry to be morally instructive and promote adherence to what were considered Christian virtues: courage, honor, modesty, chastity, honesty, generosity, kindness, and a touch of humility.
Today it is car chases and bomb blasts, bed-hopping and murderous mayhem, all accompanied by a cacophony of profanity. Except for an occasional badge, it is difficult to discern the good guys from the bad guys. The behavior of each is about the same.
Where have all our heroes gone?
The heroic models of yesteryear were sometimes unbelievable. Usually they were virtually bullet proof and without even a trace of fear, and often they accomplished amazing feats of derring-do. Through it all, however, their basic goodness shone through. As for the amoral, suave, elegant, and indestructible icons of the present, they are even more incredible than the white-hatted champions of the past, but they perform their deeds with an almost total lack of Christian compassion.
We need heroes. Perhaps they should be portrayed more realistically, but we need them. I prefer the ones with morals.