' 20 All Time Coolest Heroes in Pop Culture'

This list is interesting on a couple of levels. First, it is a snapshot of liberal attitudes toward what defines a "hero" in our culture. Second, it's always good fun to make lists like this because they're sure to start an argument with someone.

John Scott Lewisnky at Big Hollywood reports on one significant hero left off the list:

In its 20 All-Time Coolest Heroes in Pop Culture rankings, Entertainment Weekly listed 007 #1 — a move not likely to please fan’s of every hippie’s favorite spy (other than Valerie Plame), that assassin with a conscience, Bourne. In fact, if EW was going to run a Top 2 All-Time Most Cheesed Off Folks right now, it might rank Bourne’s cinematic creators –Team America star Matt Damon and United 93 director Paul Greengrass — in that order.

Damon or Greengrass seem obsessed with attacking the James Bond films and the character himself every chance they get. Mixing up a bitter soup of professional envy at Bond’s legacy and success, personal insecurity at producing movies beholden to Bond and (of course) self-righteous political arrogance, both artists froth at every opportunity to brand Ian Fleming’s creation a soulless killer. Ignoring Bond’s efforts to battle terrorism and global crime, they stamp him a militarist imperialist misogynist.

That’s a lot of “ist”s to heap on a fictional character, and the Damon/Greengrass vitriol festival seems unwilling to turn the same critical eye toward their own non-corporeal screen creation. While Robert Ludlum’s character is an impressive and skilled killing machine, the movie Bourne is gloomy, bitter, self-absorbed and motivated only by personal revenge and the desire to be left alone (a trait of questionable heroic value).

But Bourne fights predominantly middle-aged white men in suits who are part of the military and intelligence establishments. Combine that with the character’s inherent narcissism, and he’s the perfect screen hero for the hard left.

But EW left him out of their Top 20 — a decision that could indicate Bourne is already fading into also-ran spy status as Daniel Craig and the Bond franchise flourish.

There a few others on the list that should raise eyebrows including Nancy Drew (#17), Bufffy the Vampire Slayer from the TV series (#8), Roxy Brown, Pam Greir’s Blaxploitation film character (#13) and Sydney Bristow from Alias (#20). Not coincidentally, they are all women which, I believe, cheapens Ellen Ripley's (Alien) high ranking (#5). Out of that bunch, I might have put Greir’s character in the bottom 5 and tossed the rest. It appears that an ubiquitous form of political correctness infected this list to some degree but not so much as to totally delegitimize it.

Others on the list are mis-ranked in my opinion. Jack Bauer at #16? Superman (Christopher Reeves) at a lofty #3? Christian Bale’s Batman at #18? And perhaps the most egregious mis-ranking of all - Gary Cooper’s Will Kane from High Noon at a lowly #14. By contrast, aside from the aforementioned Superman at a much too high #3, there is Han Solo at #7, Mad Max at #11 and Captain Kirk at #12. I would have crowded all of those selections somewhere near the bottom with the exception of Solo who I would place somewhere between 10-15.

Even with the political correctness, we shouldn't get too upset. I point out on my own site that perhaps inadvertently, the Entertainment Weekly folks have chosen mostly heroes who exhibit conservative values for their "coolest" list.

An oversight I'm sure. And James Bond at #1 is perfect.