The ordinary man is as courageous and invulnerable as a hero when he does not recognize any danger, when he has no eyes to see it. Conversely, the hero's only vulnerable spot is on his back, and so exactly where he has no eyes.
(Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900), German philosopher, classical scholar, critic of culture. Friedrich Nietzsche, Sämtliche Werke: Kritische Studienausgabe, vol. 2, p. 334, eds. Giorgio Colli and Mazzino Montinari, Berlin, de Gruyter (1980). Human, All-Too-Human, "Man Alone With Himself," aphorism 572, "The Origin of Courage," (1878).)
He was ... a degenerate gambler. That is, a man who gambled simply to gamble and must lose. As a hero who goes to war must die. Show me a gambler and I'll show you a loser, show me a hero and I'll show you a corpse.
(Mario Puzo (b. 1920), U.S. novelist. Fools Die, ch. 2 (1978).
Referring to Jordan Hawley.)
I have always been a friend to hero-worship; it is the only rational one, and has always been in use amongst civilized peoplethe worship of spirits is synonymous with barbarismit is mere fetish.... There is something philosophic in the worship of the heroes of the human race.
(George Borrow (1803-1881), British author. An elderly individual, in Lavengro, ch. 23 (1851).)
They wouldn't be heroes if they were infallible, in fact they wouldn't be heroes if they weren't miserable wretched dogs, the pariahs of the earth, besides which the only reason to build up an idol is to tear it down again.
(Lester Bangs (1948-1982), U.S. rock journalist. Creem (London, March 1975).)
When it looks at great accomplishments, the world, bent on simplifying its images, likes best to look at the dramatic, picturesque moments experienced by its heroes.... But the no less creative years of preparation remain in the shadow.
(Stefan Zweig (18811942), Austrian writer. Magellan. Der Mann und seine Tat (Magellan. The Man and His Feat), p. 101, trans. by Marion Sonnenfeld, S. Fischer Verlag (1983).)
There is a hate layer of opinion and emotion in America. There will be other McCarthys to come who will be hailed as its heroes.
(Max Lerner (b. 1902), U.S. author, columnist. repr. in The Unfinished Country, pt. 4 (1959). "McCarthyism: The Smell of Decay," New York Post (April 5, 1950).
The word "McCarthyism" was first coined in this article, as Lerner affirmed in a later column, Feb. 3, 1954: "For my own part I doubt seriously whether the word will outlast the political power of the man from whom it derives.")