I want to share some thoughts on these topics, and, particularly, clarify, why I don't believe in pure white heroes (especially superheroes), and why I am so ill-affected toward them.
First of all, let me begin with real life examples...
Rescuers, firefighters, emergency doctors give us some examples of peoples, which are close to heroes, but in real life. Their work is to save people's lives, and the first two professions also are very risky, so people gain hard physical traumas or die sometimes on these jobs. It is far from my life as an academic or office "white-collar", so I always was curious, how does it feel, to work on such a job...
Several years ago, I've found some online communities and blogs, devoted to professional life of these people. And what I've extracted from these information sources, was that all people, who have worked on such a works for a long time, eventually become much closer to "anti-heroes", than heroes!
Many of them feel deep guilt, when they weren't able to save a person, who didn't actually deserve death (in their opinion). They feel traumatized, when they see a horrible, torturous death - especially if they can't do anything about it. Moral dillemas, when they must to choose, whom to save, unwillingly condemning another person to death, are probaby the source of the most deep traumas and guilt. You just can't remain white anymore in your own eyes, if you went through such a choice.
Too empathetic persons can't bear all of this, and either quit such a job, or develop a big degree of callousness and cynicism as an only way to deal with such a hard situations. Many of them also use enormous amounts of alcohol to forget.
Moreover, those professionals, who stayed, at some point start to hate silly people, whos stupid behavior led them to need of being rescued. For example, many of emergency doctors hate people, who failed suicide or gained a hard trauma because of stupidity. Some of them say, that they wouldn't save these people, if they didn't have a duty to do it. Firefighters are mad at people, who caused fire because of non-compliance with obvious safety regulations. Rescuers are mad at people, who have stuck somewhere because of performing some silly actions. Etc, etc, etc...
Let me give one more dark example, which shows that big heroism comes with a big price... it's about the first people, who began to eliminate the consequences of Chernobyl catastrophe.
From what I read, the very first of them were just firefighters, who came to liquidate the fire at a nuclear power plant, just when it all began. They didn't even know that reactor shell was destroyed and didn't have an exact picture about radiation levels. They didn't realise that they are dooming themselves to a painful death from radiation, or, at least, heavy damage and hard suffering in the future, when they fighted that fire. They didn't even know that they are making so important thing, as mitigating the consequences of a greatest nuclear accident. They just came to do their job, thats all! No heroic expressions or pathos speeches. Just. job.
Several of them then died cruel death because of lethal dose of radiation, which they got, and the rest of them suffered cruelly for a years because of heavy health issues.
I don't even say about even more dark topic - war... a lot of people, who were recognized as a heroes of war - at least, in my country - paid with their own lives. And millions of my other compatriots simply died at war without a high purpose, without any recognizing. Many of them even didn't have a chance to show any heroism, even if some of they wanted to do it... Just because, you know, bullets and shells fly around and sometimes get into people without choosing whom to hit.
Now, returning to fictional universes of superheroes. We have the completely opposite situation here. They save people either without paying any price at all, or with paying ridiculously low price, because of their fucking unrealistic superpowers. They always have a time to show their rightness-heroic faces and tell heroic speeches / cool jokes directly in the process of the battle, to show how good and cool they are. Moreover, they often even don't make a big efforts to do it. Like, the superhero just passed by, saw a person in distress, saved them without a sweat, made a cool-kind face and continued their walking. They always win their moral struggles, without becoming cynical due to stress and bad things they have seen. And - thanks to their autors - they always manage to avoid too hard choices, so they could remain white and clean.
Doesn't it feel mawkish and even disgusting after all of the things, I've listed above?
For example, I still can't forget that stupid moment in "spiderman" cartoon... When a villain gave spiderman a choice, whom to save, when he caused both bus of kids and his beloved woman to fall from a great height. So it was kind of moral dillema, so I've immediately felt interest, and tried to guess, what will he choose? How he will deal with a consequences of his choice? Will he able to remain a hero after it?..
But, of course, spiderman managed to save both woman and bus of kids, and just said something "cool" after it, as always. Meh... I can't express, how disappointed I was. I just never watched that cartoon again.
Because of all of this, I just can't perceive fictional "purely white heroes" (especially "superheroes") as a real heroes. I can't take them seriously, and can't empathize them. Moreover, they irritate me. For me, they are just a complacent impostors, posers in idiotic costumes, who are able to remain always right and shiny only because their author plays along with them, creating for them convenient universe. They gain recognizing for heroism, make cool poses and say cool speeches, but they never pay appropriate price. They are just dull cheaters, nothing more. These shiny perfect "knights in white" has nothing in common with people, who are called "heroes" in reality, besides their name.
As I've shown above... all REAL heroes either DIE (or, at least, get mutilated and thus can't continue their duties) because of their heroism (sometimes without even understanding, whats going on), or turn in ANTI-HEROES. That's all.
Sorry if this was too moralistic.