We could be heroes . . .

Superlative sobriquet overused as blanket term for all military members
By PHILLIPPE AND JORGE  |  February 11, 2009

With all due respect to David Bowie's lyrics — and certainly to all the men and women in the military at all levels — the concept of "hero" as it pertains to the media's use of the term has sadly become overblown.

We refer most recently to the tragic death of a local Army soldier in Iraq. The media reports referred to him as a "local hero." In fact, he was killed in a work accident when he was hit by a forklift. Now, P+J give full credit to those enlisted men and women who are serving the US abroad, especially in a war zone. Are they courageous? Undoubtedly. Patriotic? You bet. Brave? Damn straight.

But that doesn't mean they are heroes just because they die, whether in a motor pool accident or blown up by an IED, however senseless and horrifying those fates.

Let us retain the honor being called a "hero" for those people who have saved others' lives, or sacrificed their own to protect their comrades. We refer to the men and women with medals on their chests. By calling everyone who dies a hero, the term is cheapened for those who deserve the honor.

Even the now-legendary Pat Tillman, who was indeed a shining example for the Armed Forces when he quit the Arizona Cardinals to serve, and then was killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan (belatedly acknowledged by the Pentagon after their prevaricating account of his death in an attempt to make him a "hero"), doesn't deserve the moniker.

As we said, courageous and patriotic, yes indeed. But let's restrain ourselves when we start raising people up to the hero level. We are sure many of those who have served honorably and passed away in the line of duty would agree in absentia.

Separated at birth
P+J are always amazed at how closely Super Bowl champs Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin and actor Omar Epps (notably of TV's House) resemble each other, but we have an new entry in the "Separated at Birth" derby.

We refer to NBC's new political correspondent, Chuck Todd, and Murray Hewitt, the character played by Rhys Darby on the brilliant HBO comedy Flight of the Conchords. It must be the dueling goatees, although we reckon both Chuck and Murray have about the same IQ.

Now if we could just get NBC to can talking hairdo anchor Brian Williams and smarmy Meet the Press host, the jumped-up Today show huckster David Gregory, and replace them with Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement, respectively, we might start watching the evening news again.

Call of the wild
In the midst of the last big snowfall, P+J were driving south down Route 1A, just past the Narragansett-North Kingstown border, when we saw a large deer run across the road about 200 yards ahead of us. We are used to seeing this, and also know that deer often travel in pairs, and slowed in case another one was ready to make the dash over the road.

Instead, we saw a very large coyote come trotting out of the woods in obvious pursuit of Bambi's Mom. It was very startling to your superior correspondents. We were still enjoying our Jack London moment when it occurred to us to continue to go slowly, in case a herd of personal injury lawyers came bounding along behind the deer and coyote, led by Abrams and Verri with trenchcoats flapping, and Brian Cunha on a snowmobile.

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    With all due respect to David Bowie's lyrics — and certainly to all the men and women in the military at all levels — the concept of "hero" as it pertains to the media's use of the term has sadly become overblown.
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