Asterix is not a hero

2020-05-23 - Arne Jenssen

I recently saw parts of an animated cartoon movie with the character Asterix. The setting was a Gallian village during the roman age. In this particular village they have a medicine man who makes a magic potion that gives super strengths. Thanks to the secret drink the Gallian village is able to fight back the attacks from the Roman legions.

I didn’t watch the whole movie, but the protagonist Asterix was portrayed as a good guy. Although he did beat up the roman soldiers, he treated the civilians from Rome nicely. As a hero should do. A good role model for children. Except for the fact that he uses doping!

Some might think it is harmless. That we know that there is no such thing in real life as the magic potion. But I think it plants a dangerous idea in children’s minds. That it is okay to take short-cuts. That we can fix things with a drink. And that it is okay to cheat.

Asterix is not the only cartoon for children with this flaw. Super Goof from Disney was doped with peanuts to get super powers. Popeye the sailor got instantly strong by popping a can of spinach. In the scandinavian countries we have “Bamse - the strongest bear”, who doped himself with a special honey to get super strength.

I am sure there are several other cartoons where the hero uses doping as well.

When the children grow up, it is not a conceptually big leap from a magic potion over to doping for athletic performance. Or even to alcohol as a shortcut to alter your mood. It is an alluring tale. Your problems can be solved with a drink or a drug.

In my mind, Asterix is not a hero. How difficult is it to be a hero when you have superpowers? Those characters are pretty lame. It is like watching a 100 meter dash where Usain Bolt starts 20 meter ahead. Cheating is never cool.

Is it okay for children’s heros to (ab)use doping?

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