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This is a terrific observation.
Ever read The Hero With a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell? Campbell was an expert on mythology and its interrelation with history, philosophy, and culture.
We need our modern day heroes just as much as ancient peoples did. When we choose poor heroes or our heroes go bad, it has terrible negative impact on our youth.
Sports stars are often heroes to adolescents, so when they read about them drinking and gambling, they can (and often do) emulate them.
You make a good point here. I think about politics. I definitely think there is a connection between (specifically) men in power, a certain type of narcissism, the kind of energy that politicians have, charisma, sex addiction -whatever, but it is strange, the number of scandals involving sexual impropriety:
Bill Clinton for those who believe (d) in him, Jesse Jackson and his love child, Anthony Wiener, John Edwards
John Edwards was really strange because if you read Andrew Young, "The Politician" (he was the one who lied and said the baby was his) you get a view of the man as a complete narcissist, and you think about him lying in the interviews, saying the baby wasn't his child, humiliating Elizabeth, continuing to run knowing that if he got the nomination and the story came out later, the democratic party would have been screwed (Thank God for the National Enquirer who were nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for their reporting.)
My point is, I remember believing and campaigning for a Kerry/Edwards ticket, believing in his "Two Americas". Now he makes me sick.
Something does happen when the people who come forward as leaders seem hopelessly flawed. But maybe the message today is: be your own damn hero.