ASH: Derek Radner's Private Journal #9 - Heroism

Andrew Perron pwerdna at
Sun Jul 28 00:01:33 PDT 2013

On Sun, 21 Jul 2013 06:52:49 +0000 (UTC), Dave Van Domelen wrote:

> (underlined)Victims of Societal Conditioning
>      I think the parallel here with "Victims of Circumstance" villains is
> more than a cute's the same basic sort of person.  A decent
> enough person, but without the courage of their convictions.  Or much
> conviction in the first place.  If they end up accidentally on the wrong side
> of the law, they have trouble getting back.  But as long as nothing goes
> wrong, they'll probably put on a costume and go beat up muggers or whatever,
> because they grew up on hero stories and figure it's what they're supposed to
> be doing.

No offense to Mr. Radner, but he seems to have an odd idea of "supposed to
do". Even in a society where superheroes have been around for decades, I
don't think most people default to "Welp, I guess society wants me to go
out and justice-ify things".

>      The really bad cases of this are the ones who have bought into the
> heroic myth so hard that they convince others that they're really dedicated
> heroes.  They can get through things like the Academy or a career as a hero
> for years, and then hit their first real moral crisis and find that the
> cliches offer no guidance.  

I can see this happening occasionally, tho. (And isn't there an example or
two of this *in* ASH?)

> (underlined)Gilt with Guilt
>      Where these people are different from the previous group is that they're
> a lot more dedicated.  Until they can work through their guilt feelings,
> they're not going to give up.  And they're remarkably good at rationalizing
> everything they do in the pursuit of expunging that guilt.

I always hate it when people put Batman in here.

>      It's reallllly easy for guilt-driven heroes to become the "Misguided
> Idealist/Crusader" sort of badguy.

Oh yes. <3

> (underlined)Legal Thuggery
> While cops
> have stringent rules about Police Brutality (not always enforced, but there's
> something in place, at least), superheroes often have no real accountability
> so long as they stick to beating on supervillains and their minions.

I dunno - many superhero communities are pretty strongly self-policing. But
some aren't, I suppose.

>      (Note in margin)Would I rather expose these when I find them so they can
> become available as minions, or leave them in place to tar the reputation of
> fellow heroes who I'm actually worried about?

Hmmmmmm. I don't think I'd want that kind around either way.

> (underlined)Idealists/Crusaders
> They're what the Academy wants to turn out: superhumans who
> understand and fully embrace a moral code that's both strong enough and
> flexible enough to stand up out in the real world.

Oh, Derek. You're *such* a teenager.

> (underlined)True Heroes
>      When that happens, does the hero surrender their true nature and just
> become a tool of society, or does he re-examine his beliefs and find places
> where he doesn't actually agree with society after all?  And what happens if
> he does that?
>      Well, the line between a true hero and a true villain may not exist at
> all....

Because only those things exist. Derek, never change. Wait, actually,
please do. (He does.)

> Author's Notes:
>      Another short piece inspired by discussion on RACC.  But not directly.
> The topic was classification of nemeses, something I think Radner has talked
> about in-story as well as some of the other journals.  But the fact the
> discussion on RACC focused on villains as they relate to heroes made me
> consider how to do it the other way around, and classify heroes as they
> relate to villains.  Which led, eventually, to the piece above.

Pretty interesting, if one of the most limited of his takes on his world -
not surprising, since this is exactly what he's trying to resist at this
point. It's hard to think your way through an issue when you're fighting it
the whole way.

Andrew "NO .SIG MAN" "Juan" Perron, in other words, good job!

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