Nancy Roman

Deleted Heroes

What do you do when people you admire disappoint you?

In your personal life, when someone disappoints you, you either forgive them and love them despite their failings, or you say goodbye and leave them behind you.

But what about those other people you admire? Famous people – celebrities, politicians, artists.

Maybe ‘hero’ is too strong a word. But you don’t have to be starstruck, only human, to connect in some strong, personal way with someone you only know through their fame.

They write, they sing, they act – they are truly larger than life up there on the big screen. Or they are ubiquitous and cease to be strangers but instead are somehow part of your life.

And you begin to to consider them friends. Important, influential friends.

And they aren’t of course.

You don’t know them.

You know a persona that they present to the world. Sometimes this is an admirable persona whose words really do make a difference to the world and to you.

But sometimes your admiration is suddenly interrupted by reality.

They are not heroes. They are just human beings. And maybe not even particularly good human beings.

It hurts to be disillusioned by your former heroes.

It’s happened to me. And on top of being disillusioned and ashamed of my prior admiration, I also had a practical decision to make.

Because I have written two different essays on this blog that include a couple of my fallen heroes.

One is Louis CK. I truly thought he was one of the most honest comedians of the past twenty years. And I thought he showed real consonance with women. One of his monologues, for instance, was about the bravery of women, who continue take a risk every time they date – every time they get in a car with a man. And yet they do. Eternally trusting in the goodness of people.

But then. Well, you know. Not trustworthy. Not safe for women.

So what do I do with that essay?

I could delete it. I could take out the reference to Louis C.K. I could leave it.

I wondered if deleting it or taking out the reference is dishonest. Is it like saying that I was never a fan? That I always saw through the bullshit?

But on the other hand, I don’t want it to look like I still support the man.
I feel like it is important to recognize that you were duped. Too many people are ashamed to admit they were conned. I need to admit it. Believing in someone long after you should because you can’t admit you were ever wrong is rather a big problem in the world right now.

And the other issue: I think it is a relevant, maybe even important, essay. I want it to be read. I have posted it twice (once in 2016, and once in 2018) because I thought it was important.

So in the end, I have removed the reference to Louis C.K. It is still a good piece. Just as good. Here is the link if you want to read it: Vulnerable.

And the other fallen “hero”? Well it is just a rather silly dilemma.

It’s Dustin Hoffman. Who I always thought was one of the best actors ever, but now, as I understand it – he’s not such a hot person. A lot of people who are great actors are pretty lousy people, I guess.

And my dilemma is that I had a very funny dream about Hoffman. And I wrote about it. I don’t quote him as a marvelous person. It’s not like the Louis C.K. post, where I think the message was too important to erase. If I were to delete the story, it won’t make one bit of difference to the world. It’s just funny. And I love to be funny.

So I guess it is just my own vanity that wants to keep the post. Because it doesn’t matter. It’s trivial. But I like it. I want it. Is that horrible?

So maybe I will keep it around. I’m just not sure. Here’s the link: Tootsie.

Does it make you laugh? Is it just plain dumb? Is it harmful or disrespectful to allow it to exist?

What do you think?


  1. I’m still reeling from Bill Cosby. I had seen him in person. Family man. Good family man. No swear words in his comedy routine. How could he disappoint me so. Not sure what the answer is. These disappointments take some of your innocence.

    Liked by 4 people

    • That is a really good example. How sad to find out such a person is not who you thought.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Heroes often fail
    And you won’t read that book again
    Because the ending’s just too hard to take
    Gordon LIghtfoot – If You Could Read my Mind.


    Liked by 1 person

    • I was never much of a Gordon Lightfoot fan… but I LOVED that one! Thanks for reminding me!


  3. As Kate up above, I too, am so disappointed in Bill Cosby. I held on way too long considering he may be innocent, but that didn’t happen. My youngest grew up watching his shows and I watched and rewatched. The shows were great with such good family values but now there is just a bad taste in my mouth when I see them. I’ve never deleted a post, and I think you found a way around that. ~Elle

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Rolf Harris allowed my parents quality time during his show as it was their wedding anniversary. Now look at him.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Being American, I was not familiar with Rolf Harris, so I just looked him up. And yes, that is exactly what I am referring to.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Makes me realise that everybody is human and nobody is perfect, and that we can admire certain aspects of people but at the end of the day we are all flawed.

    Liked by 2 people

    • True. Maybe we expect too much from famous folk.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. “A lot of people who are great actors are pretty lousy people, I guess.” This is a great quote; however, it probably should read, “A lot of people … are pretty lousy people”. The sad truth is that we hold up “famous” people as some sort of superior beings when, in fact, they are just people. Human. Vulnerable. Flawed. Just because someone makes us laugh, or cry, or want to be “like” them doesn’t mean they are better, or “perfect” or whatever descriptor you want to apply to them. They are just people. We expect too much of them, and that is why we are so disappointed in them when they let us down. We need to stop (as a society) holding these people up as examples of something special. They aren’t. Sad, but true. Great post.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks. I think we project actor’s roles onto their personalities. Or songs that move us make us love the artist. We want to think they are as great as their art.


      • You are right; we tend to forget that “famous people” are just “normal” people who put on some sort of “disguise” to become their public personas. We shouldn’t be holding them to different standards from what we expect from our friends and neighbours (yet we do!)


  7. Barbara Lindsey

    To be honest, I don’t have heroes. particularly Hollywood celebrities who are merely actors, doing their chosen job. This doesn’t mean I don’t admire many aspects of many people. But most of us are flawed, and if the news media were at all interested in us with our meagre status, how many of us would end up in the tabloids for one mistake or another? Some of the people mentioned in the comments have shown they did not deserve the celebrity status they enjoyed, some for most of their lives. I think it shows that hero worship is wasted admiration. I think I would have left the posts as they were. You were not to know that disappointment was on it’s way. It’s also okay to change your mind about people when you learn more about them. As you say you really don’t know these people or what they believe deep in their psyche. Sometimes that is a good thing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think you are correct. But so many of us think that if we have had a mistake in judgment, it reflects as a flaw in our own character.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Barbara Lindsey

        Yes, I can see that could be the case.


  8. I don”t like actors or other famous people but instead I like different characters that they portray, because we really have no idea what the person is like, we see what they want us to see


  9. I think you should keep posts exactly as you wrote them! You admired Louis CK for that monologue about women. The dishonesty was on his part, not yours; the ideas he presented were admirable, even if he was faking it when he presented them. Or maybe he wasn’t; maybe his beliefs and his behavior aren’t in synch. Who knows? You were right to admire his words!
    As for Hoffman, you wrote about Tootsie, not about what a good person he is or isn’t. Keep your work, my friend!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I gave great thought to …”people are ashamed to admit they were conned. I need to admit it.” I questioned when I have been conned. I’m sure it has happened, but I can’t recall. I take real people at face value. I assume honesty and respond in kind. I think we have to be careful with “media images.” They may or may not be real… and we just never know. Your essays reveal what you believed at the time. My vote is: leave them. We are allowed to change our opinions, but that doesn’t make our impressions and reactions at the time invalid.


  11. And my vote is to leave them too.
    But one question. Amongst all this noise and talk about sexual harassment, has Dustin Hoffman been tried and found guilty? I think we are all guilty of accepting things at face value without delving deeper into the situation. For now, my jury’s out on Hoffman.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. We’ve had such a lot of these letdowns in recent years. People, who even if we were not great fans, we thought of as being decent people. Rolf Harris was a shock to me especially as he was an entertainer that had been around since I was a child.
    I know that we can’t expect the people we admire to live up to all our expectations. I remember my shock as a child at seeing a photo of Paul McCartney smoking. Of course, it was the sixties and lots of people smoked but it was a thing I had been taught was bad. I got over that but it’s harder to let go of the disappointment over more serious offences even though I’m not personally acquainted with the people. I feel it when someone I admire behaves in a way I feel is wrong because I don’t expect it.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I confess that a few of the revelations about some of the actors I admired were very disappointing. The ones that really were a punch in the gut though were the ones that didn’t “act” for living. By that I mean they didn’t play other people in the movies or on TV. People like Matt Lauer or, here in Canada, George Stroumboulopoulos. People who played themselves, that we trusted to come into our homes every morning or evening with news and events of the day via media. They weren’t my heroes, but there was trust involved.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. cj

    Totally fine to delete them. It may not necessarily be that you don’t want people thinking you support them but that you *actually don’t* support them any longer. No reason to be ashamed of what you thought of them before events were made public, but if you don’t want your personal blog to continue giving words of admiration to people who’ve done really harmful things to others, that’s your prerogative and is justified! There’s plenty of other admirable people out there 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I think you can be disappointed and not like an actor and appreciate their acting. Vanessa Redgrave and my mother come to mind. She despised her politics and her general public persona but many of her movies were here favorite. I think Tom Cruise is an asshole and loved Mission Impossible the last…….having said that there is a different between being “disappointed in someone” and realizing that someone is a sexist asshole or pedophile or abuser. I n those cases I delete them, even if on some level I admire their artistic ability. Which is why i refuse to watch Woody Allen movies and don’t understand how he gets a pass. Not that that answers the question. I’d probably delete Louis and leave Dustin but..


  16. I think the inherent problem with having a hero is that we expect them to be perfect, or at least a very good person, and yet no one is without flaws. It’s better to admire someone’s work, or their words, or their actions, without confusing it with blind admiration for someone as a whole person, I think. But that is so much easier to say than to do! And like many of your commenters, I was so shocked to find out what Bill Cosby had been up to all those years, as I had enjoyed his show, his humor and so much of his work.
    As for your posts, I think that has to be your call. There are good arguments on both sides, but ultimately, they are your work, and you are the one who gets to decide whether or not to leave them on your blog. Thanks for bringing up such an important and timely issue!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Such a thoughtful post. We, the public, feed celebrities with adulation and wealth until some of them get to feel entitled. Celebrity can destroy celebrities. With actors, we are in double jeopardy because, well, they can act. They can even perform as a champion of women’s rights. No surprise if we are taken in. You did the right thing, by the way: delete or edit, your call.


  18. Informated post thank you for this and post this type of post in the future


  19. I had the same problem with Aung San Su Kyi and I still find it hard not to feel let down.


  20. I completely align to what you are saying. I’ve also experienced that sadness and loss when someone you thought was “up-standing” fell. My take home from this is to be critical about anyone I put on that pedestal. That said, if it ever comes out that Tom Hanks is less than perfect….there will be hell to pay.


  21. Patricia Mitchell Lapidus

    A thoughtful and helpful post. One of the things that has come home to me lately is that sexual misconduct, especially men misusing women, is so much a part of male culture that many, many otherwise good men do it and are surprised when it becomes an issue. They have that male privilege thing down, they live by it, and then they wonder what the fuss is all about. But that is only because they think men are the only people on earth. And due to all the good fuss we are making, few men can still take sexual aggression toward women as one of the perks of position. Keep on talking.


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