That's not the title of another shitty novel by Dan Brown—it's actually the title of another shitty essay by W. Bill Czolgosz, which you are now reading. You're welcome. Our new post-Millennial, PC, SJW, rage-fuelled #metoo culture of outrage has brought us, for better or worse, to an enormous wall of red-stained bricks. Everyone's a victim, anger rules the airwaves, mob justice is on the rebound, concrete milkshakes are served at every fucking Wendy's drive-thru, and one mis-step will get you a good lynchin'... figuratively, for now.
Some villains are likely irredeemable. Hitler, Cosby, and Weinstein come immediately to mind. (There's a nice diversity in that trio, too, so I'm sticking with it.) No one gets to come back from Genocide; and when your Rape count goes into double digits, Jezus Himself probably can't save you. (Yes, I am aware that Weinstein likely hasn't gone knocking at Christ's priesthole.) But for every Cliff Huxtable—America's favorite/hated TV-Dad and Predator—there are a hundred Jeffrey MacLeods. Jeff's a guy who may have fingered your drunken cousin at a bonfire party in 1992. He doesn't recall the incident, because he was shitfaced, himself, and woke up in a ditch, with a broken collarbone, the next morning. Details are sketchy. He works at Walmart, these days. He's an ordinary guy. Has kids, too.
What's his deal? Has your cousin mentioned him? He volunteers for his son's Cub Scout group. Most people get along with him. He's very ordinary. Whatever actually happened in 1992, that's between him, your cousin, and the devil. I'd like to think Jeff has turned his ship around. Others, I think, would like to see him tarred and feathered, even now. It's a tough modern world.
So, that brings me now to the above-mentioned brick wall... sort of an electronic Salem, Mass., circa 1692... where everyone's pointing their holy finger of shame at everyone else. I'm going to point my finger, too, at your Heroes. And some of you aren't going to like it. (I won't be citing sources, as all of this information can be easily sourced. I shouldn't have to do everything. I'm tired.)
1.) Fuck you, MOHANDAS GANDHI-- Our “Bapu”, the stoic lawyer turned “Political Ethicist” from Gujarat, India, who gave us classic meme-worthy lines like “Be the change you want to see in the world,” and “Nobody can hurt me without my permission,” (which is brazenly naive, I should point out), also held contempt for the black people of South Africa, deriding them as “kafirs” (the Johanessburg equivalent of the N-word). He enjoyed having his teenaged niece sleep naked in his bed—just to “test myself,” he would later claim in his defense. And, citing his own religious beliefs, he denied his dying wife the medical treatment that would have saved her life... though he happily accepted same treatment for himself when his own mortal journey was in jeopardy. Many of the same people who applauded when Kevin Spacey was fired from House of Cards probably call Gandhi “an Inspiration.” Go and figure.
2.) Fuck you, JOHN F KENNEDY-- The number of strippers, interns, actresses, and prostitutes that were nailed by the 35th President of the United States may never be known with precision. It was either “a lot” or “a few” depending on who's telling the story. Kennedy was married to Jackie O., if you recall, and so qualifies as a serial adulterer. Millennials don't regard adultery as a taboo, because they're all either polyamorous or too busy jacking off on their Playstation consoles to care, but preceding generations still regard it as distasteful. The same people who call Tiger Woods “schmuck” over his various infidelities also call JFK one of their favorite Presidents. That's interesting.
3.) Fuck you, ABRAHAM LINCOLN-- The same people who cite JFK as one of their favorite Presidents also dig #16, Honest Abe. How can you have a harsh word for the figurehead of the Emancipation of American slaves? The Los Angelinos who got twisted up about Det. Mark Fuhrman's excessive use of the N-word also tend to overlook the fact that Lincoln, despite being morally opposed to the idea of Slavery, nonetheless regarded peoples of African origin as a mere sub-species of humanity, and not to be inter-married with. Don't get angry at me. I'm just the guy making this list.
4.) Fuck you, MOTHER THERESA-- Folks were all up in arms about being served cheese sandwiches at the Fyre Festival might call “The Angel of Calcutta” their personal hero, but if the crusading nun born Anjeze Gonxhe Bojaxhiu had her way, those hungry party-goers wouldn't have been fed at all. (Also, “Anjeze Gonxhe Bojaxhiu” sounds like the sort of name Mephistopheles' sister might be going under.) She received millions of dollars in donations to house, feed, and care for Calcutta's diseased and destitute, but she fairly frittered this money away (on sports gambling, maybe?), less interested in saving Lives than in saving Souls. Indeed, she believed that the Poor had to suffer in the way Jezus had suffered, so that they—and by extension, she—might enter Heaven without complication.
5.) Fuck you, JOHN LENNON and SEAN CONNERY-- Your favorite Beatle and your second-favorite 007 both would have enjoyed jamming to Prodigy's 1997 tune “Smack My Bitch Up,” if you dig what I'm saying.Word! Both men also owned up to it, publically and, for the most part, got a pass. When Liam Neeson, star of “Taken 2:Too Taken” tried owning up to his latent racism, as a younger man, he got kicked in his massive Irish testicles. (Is he Irish? I didn't Google it. He seems Irish.) It feels like the times are a-changing. (And, my god, I bet those balls are the size of nectarines.) Did anyone see Widows? That was a good fucking movie!
6.) Fuck you, MOSES-- The legendary author of the first five bits of the Bible had the temerity to write, of himself, “Moses was the most humble man to have ever lived,” and people still, to this day, flock to buy his books. Who are those people? Did they also shell out for Guy Fieri's autobiography? What a piece of shit. And, while we're on the subject of Guys...
7A.) Fuck you, JEZUS-- Poke around in the New Testament long enough, and you're going to come across a minefield of contradictions, gibberish, and outright slander. Hey, Jezus—should a man celebrate the return of his prodigal son, or should he abandon his family in order to follow you? Those things are nearly opposites. And what is your beef with the Pharisees, anyway? You don't really give us a context for all the bad-mouthing. Are you magic, or just tricky? The street-corner prophets of your time DID have a classic trick, involving a bladder hidden in the sleeve and a cool bleeding effect, where they commonly turned tap water into red wine. Were you just fucking with us? More importantly, should we care if Taylor, Katy, and Kanye are feuding over lyrics and semen? I need to know! (Please give me a sign!)
7B.) Fuck you, STAN LEE-- I have to give special mention to the star of two dozen Marvel films. Despite his apparent inability to share credit with the co-creators of the likes of Spider-Man and Hulk (Ditko and Kirby), he also boasts about having named Thor's hammer “Mjolnir.” That's astounding to me. This man beat The Prose Edda by negative ten centuries. (I know, he's dead now, so I shouldn't bitch about him. But most of the people on this list are dead now.)
8.) Fuck you, DR. KING-- Aside from being a serial philanderer, a la JFK, Dr. MLKjr resorted to the John Lennon approach to communicating with women on at least one occasion. How many times are you allowed to put your hands on a lady before it looks bad on you? The consensus seems to be that the number is somewhere between zero and two, depending on the source. Nowadays, you aren't allowed to punch ANYONE, and I barely recognize this planet. So there's that. It's not cool. Don't punch ladies. We can all agree on that one, right? Sure.
9.) Fuck you, QUEEN ELIZABETH-- No, I'm fucking with you. I was just trying to broaden the diversity of this list. I got nothing on this fine ol' dame.
10.) Fuck you, ALL MEN, SINCE THE DAWN OF TIME-- I'm no Trump supporter. No need to even get me started. But I do wonder about this Billy Bush character, ever since it came to light that he and The Donald joked about grabbing women “by the pussy.” Apparently, Billy has become some something of a pariah, unable to get good work in the field of journalism, while Trump has become POTUS. While no woman should have to endure being grabbed in such a place without prior written consent, I think to myself... Have any of you ever existed in the world before today? Has anyone ever rubbed elbows with other men? Shared a workplace lunchroom? Been on a bowling team? THIS IS HOW MEN TALK. When my buddy Bob, years back, joked about donkey-punching his girlfriend and then hanging on for the ride of his life, NOBODY thought he was being serious. We all just laughed. Because that's what the world used to be like...
11.) Fuck you, JVLIVS CAESAR-- My favorite celebrity of all time was a liar, a fraud, a hypocrite, an adulterer, a con artist, a bigot, a braggart, a womanizer (and a man-izer, it has been speculated), a killer, a crook, an egoist, a blowhard, a tyrant... and he got shit done. He is my favorite JC, by far (and even became a god after his passing, in true JC fashion). This fucking upstart lied his way into a five-year war with Gaul that both made him wealthy and paved the garden (Ha!) for Rome to transcend its puny Republic-hood and become an Empire. He fixed the calendar, nailed the Greek queen of Egypt, murdered pirates, enriched the lives of the common people just by being awesome (statues, baths, parades, and the like), and did his damnedest to rid the world of the nuisance of Germany. For every awful thing we can say about the man, there is a truly great thing we can counter with. Who the fuck wants pirates around? I don't. They steal your shit. They aren't cool.
Now we're at the end of the list. I'm partly drunk and need to mosey off to bed.
Did you get the point of the thing? I didn't want to be too on the nose. People are delicate, I know.
I didn't set out to dismantle your heroes. Everyone on that list, with the exception of Sean Connery and Jezus, maybe, did excellent things that deserve note. I was trying to illustrate something else. Maybe I was trying to illustrate something about greyness—that if your classic heroes aren't as light as they're painted, perhaps your modern villains aren't as dark as you want them to be. It's true. Ask my uncle Wallace. He always wanted me to sit on his lap, when I was a lad, but he also taught me how to ride a bicycle.