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Western Hero song meanings
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    General CommentOur heroes used to be real, now they are celebreties and rock stars.
    Wonder Nedon August 26, 2008   Link
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    My InterpretationWhat is actually condemned and mourned in the lyrics of the song is the fact that the titular character abandons his beliefs for "big money in his hand." He gives what he is supposed to have truly believed in for the sake of a big payout, thus losing his integrity and showing corruption. If he'd abandoned being a vigilante because he felt "frontier justice" wasn't really justified, for instance, he wouldn't be condemned so readily, because this would mean that he changed his life's path to preserve his integrity. So the song seems to be about selling out, more than glorifying Old West culture. (Not that those who fought "on the beach at Normandy, across the land, and on the sea" aren't deserving of our admiration and respect in many cases. I just want to be clear that I don't think the song is necessarily glorifying the Old West subculture (because one shouldn't make the mistake of thinking this is or was, in any way, the sole way of life in the "west" or should define western cultures), and/or stereotypes thereof, as much as it is commenting on individuals who lack integrity. At even subtler level, it also warns of the dangers of having heroes, or idols, put on too high a pedestal: it leads to disappointment and bitterness when the hero proves to be as human as everyone else. In other words, competing with yourself--instead of striving to match a pedestal on which you place others--is underrated. And perhaps people of the west, in particular, are too reliant on "heroes" rather than themselves.
    Ordinarypersonon December 02, 2010   Link

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