You're a Yellow-Bellied Coward! | Connecticut Public Radio

You're a Yellow-Bellied Coward!

Nov 20, 2014

Burt Lahr as The Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz.
Credit TRF_Mr_Hyde / Creative Commons

We're talking about cowardice today and it makes me think of two people - Hector and Dr. Bones McCoy.

We claim to despise cowardice and to exalt bravery but in real life, I think we value balance a little bit more.

Hector, in the Iliad, is a much debated figure. He seems on occasion to lose his nerve. He also on occasion seems to do something brave mainly because he could not live down the dishonor of not being brave. I've always liked Hector.

Achilles is pretty clearly a jerk. He's unflinchingly courageous but maybe that's because he knows almost nothing can happen to him. Hector is more like us. We'd like to be bold all the time but we're human. Sometimes, our courage comes from social pressure rather than inner reserve. We fear being labeled as cowardly more than we aspire to be courageous  yet, cowardice rarely shows itself clearly. Instead, it hides behind bravado, procrastination, humility, pride and even courage.

As for Dr. McCoy, you'll have to listen to the show.  Today, we confront cowardice.

What do you think? Comment below, email, or tweet @wnprcolin.