Chip Hilton was a hero for boys growing up in the 1950s and 60s. Chip was the best athlete at his school, an A-student, loving son, and hard worker at the local drug store. He had a gang of loyal friends and was the star player on his high school teams. But Chip was a fictional character in a series of sports-action books.
John Ritter was a real-live boy who embodied the 1950s ideal of Chip Hilton. He was a record-setting athlete in his hometown of Goshen, Indiana and was elected to the Indiana High School All-Star Basketball Team. At Indiana University John was co-captain of the IU Hoosiers team coached by Bob Knight, which reached the Final Four. John was drafted by the Indiana Pacers and Cleveland Cavaliers.
After his basketball career ended John became a rising star within one of Indiana's most prestigious companies, Eli Lilly and Co. But within a few years Ritter's life took a tragic turn veering off its story-book script. The perfect boy became a homeless cab driver.
Jeff Rasley's detective work to find out what happened to his childhood hero is the launch pad for a far-ranging study on how we create, treat, and mistreat our heroes. Hero's Journey
taps voices as diverse as Patti Smith, Homer, Shakespeare, the Grateful Dead, and Dennis Rodman in an examination of the cultural shifts in the meaning of hero. The lustrous triumphs and pitiable travails of mythical heroes, like Achilles and Lancelot, are compared to ethical martyrs, like Gandhi and King, and to more troubling champions like Allen Iverson, Mike Tyson, Caitlyn Jenner, and Donald Trump.
The term Hero has been trivialized by its excessive use in popular media. Reporters refer to all veterans, cops, and firefighters as heroes. They will even call victims of terror heroes. But the media also delights in scandals that reveal our heroes to have feet of clay.
The mythologist Joseph Campbell, building on the work of Freud and Carl Jung, explained how archetypal heroes are created in myth and out of legends. Hero's Journey
discusses how the Hero Archetype has influenced contemporary culture and how the meaning of hero has been transformed by recent historical and cultural developments. Interwoven into the discussion is Rasley's memoir about his childhood hero and the story of John Ritter's hero journey. Hero's Journey
makes the case that we still need heroes, because real heroes reveal the best in us and point the way toward a better world.Other books by Jeff Rasley:
Bringing Progress to Paradise; What I Got from Giving to a Mountain Village in Nepal describes an astounding Himalayan adventure which becomes a critical reflection on the damage charitable giving can do to the intended beneficiaries.
The rest of the story of Basa Village is told in Light in the Mountains and its prequel India - Nepal Himalayas In the Moment (an honest Three Cups of Tea).
To get out of the snow and mountains and onto sandy beaches and swaying palms, check out the lyrical Island Adventures.
For a change of pace curl up with False Prophet. It's a romantic mystery and inspirational tale based on a case Rasley handled in his 30-year Indianapolis law practice.
If you enjoy sports action, history, humor, romance,set during the cultural revolution of the 60s, check out MONSTERS OF THE MIDWAY 1969: Sex, Drugs, Rock 'n' Roll, Viet Nam, Civil Rights, and Football.
Pilgrimage: Sturgis to Wounded Knee and Back Home, a Memoir begins with a motorcycle road trip to the Bacchanalia of Sturgis Bike Week, then takes a detour to the massacre at Wounded Knee, and crosses the ocean to a remote village in the Himalayas. Reconciliation is found back home in Indiana.
GODLESS - Living a Valuable Life beyond Beliefs makes the case that beliefs divide us, but values unite us. So we should fight religious and political violence with positive values.
Polarized in the Time of Trump
analyses the unhealthy polarization of the US body politic and proposes a cure.