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Everyone from bad actors to Civil War generals

By Mike Riga

Section: Arts

October 26, 2007

Ok, so admittedly I dont have anything particularly topical and prescient to spill my verbal guts about, so for this issue, again, the reader will have to settle for mild entertainment upon my latest additions to the American Hero List and why they have proven themselves to be thoroughly awesome.

NICOLAS CAGE

Nicolas Cage is not a man of all that many talents. In fact, he pretty much has one talent: playing a version of himself in movies. Usually, that is not a particularly flattering talent (see Tom Cruise or Mel Gibson).

However, the persona of Mr. Nicolas Cage is so absurd, fidgety, spastic, and ridiculous that he proves himself endearing. If Mr. Cage stuck to exclusively serious movies, I might be a little fed up with him. Luckily, he has absolutely no taste and is willing to counter admittedly great movies like Adaptation and Leaving Las Vegas (he got an Oscar for that one!) with complete and utter crap like Con Air, The Rock, and National Treasure.

Of course, each of these movies is so terrible they become wonderful, and watching Nicolas Cage struggle through an atrocious and monotone attempt at a Louisiana accent and run from explosion to explosion, all while trying to mask his receding hairline, is one of the most comical things on Earth.

NAPOLEON BONAPARTE

Why not? The guy not only conquered most of Europe, but also crowned himself Emperor of France. Thats right he gave the Pope a ritual smackdown on a public stage. We should also factor in the fact that he wasnt even French or a noble (important back then!), and was short (but not as short as everyone would think). The guy kicked some major aristocratic butt.

Granted, you could also say a lot of people died at his hand as well, but it should be remembered that most of the wars he fought he did not initiate, and the countries he took over received the full benefit of new French societal and meritocratic reforms. He also had his way with many a European princess.

GREG DULLI

The Afghan Whigs were a tremendous rock band;

a fusion of shattering punk rock and sexy soul swagger. They had quite the career in the 90s, and were either much loved, or much despised. Most of this had to do with their lead singer, Mr. Greg Dulli, who wrote anthems for the most dirty, intellectual, cruel, and horny of people.

His image was not a particularly P.C. one, but he couldnt care less what anyone thinks, and is willing to do what he must: which is to rock, and swagger, and sneer, and be generally awesome and creepy at the same time. That's how we're supposed to like our rock stars, right?

AMBROSE BURNSIDE and ALPHEUS WILLIAMS

They were generals in the Civil War, and pretty terrible ones at that. All this is not important though. Google their images. What wonderful facial hair!

I suppose to become an American Hero you dont have to be all that heroic. Thats ok. I dont feel like the title is compromised, as a hero is someone that people should look up to. And if people cant do something awesome or be utterly ridiculous and amazing, they might as well at the very least grow giant mutton chops or have a beard with multiple points.

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