Belfast Telegraph

Jimmy Savile: When heroes fall there's nobody left to look up to

By Nuala McKeever

I'm reminded of a line from an old Stranglers song this week. "Whatever happened to all the heroes?" You can't open a paper or a news website without seeing the face of Jimmy Savile or Lance Armstrong.

Ok, Savile was never exactly a hero, but he was certainly held up as a great man for the charity work. Armstrong was held up as a kind of Superman-cum-god.

He was the champion struck down by cancer who rose again to achieve almost unbelievable heights in his field.

He was such an inspiration.

Now we discover that he allegedly was a bully who brooked no dissent from his cheating plan.

It's just the pits when someone is toppled from their pedestal. Like hearing of a seemingly in-love couple getting divorced after years together, the fall of a hero leaves us feeling bereaved. Because it's like a death. The death of possibility.

We knew we might not be brilliant, but as long as there was someone who could do the heroic thing, then it was possible. There was hope. Maybe after all, it's best not to put anyone on a pedestal. Because if we dig deep enough, we always seem to find that everyone has feet of clay and some, as we're discovering these past two weeks, have cloven hooves.

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