An Hero

An Hero

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Updated Jan 27, 2021 at 04:09PM EST by Matt.

Added Apr 28, 2009 at 05:33PM EDT by goose.

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Content Warning: Portions of this entry make mention of suicide, which some may find difficult or upsetting. If you need support or are dealing with suicidal thoughts, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline's website or call 1-800-273-8255.


About

An Hero is a synonym for committing suicide and refers to someone who has committed suicide. Online, the term is used in a similar vein as Kill Yourself, in reference to posts that are considered bad or incompetent, as well as referring to people who have committed suicide, and in images it is commonly paired with "You should look into it" or "Become one".

Origin

The term originates from the memorial MySpace page of Mitchell Henderson, who committed suicide on April 20th, 2006. The term comes from a spelling error from one of the comments posted on the memorial page.

"He was such an hero, to take it all away. We miss him so, That you should know, And we honor him this day. He was an hero, to take that shot, to leave us all behind. God do we wish we could take it back, And now he's on our minds. Mitchell was an hero, to leave us feeling like this, Our minds are rubber, our joints don't work, Our tears fall into abyss. He was an hero, to take that shot, In life it wasn't his task, He shouldn't have had to go that way, before an decade'd past. Now he sits there in my heart, this hero of mine, Always there to make me smile, Make me feel just fine. He had courage,that boy did, courage in his heart. To take that shot, To end his pain, To tear us all apart. But in the end, he died in courage. Lacking, nevermore, He died a hero, Mitchell did, And we'll love him forevermore. We love you like an brother. We miss you so much. We will always love you, kid. Rest In Peace Mitch. ~Lila"

Explanation

Upon examining the contents of the memorial page, a troll came across a mention of a lost iPod and fabricated the story that the boy committed suicide because of the lost iPod; however, the real reason for Mitchell's death is unknown. Some speculate that Mitchell may have committed suicide because he was being sexually abused by his father[1], and that the loss of his iPod may have convinced him to do it.

The usage of the phrase refers to the idea that committing suicide is implied to be heroic by the comment left on the memorial page for Mitchell, which then began to be used as a phrase by trolls for 'shock value' to mock Mitchell and shock mourners.

Spread

After Mitchell's obituary was published, a clipping was posted to MyDeathSpace.com in 2006, and eventually to 4chan's /b/ board, where the term began to pick up usage for referring to suicides, as well as a synonym for "Kill Yourself" in reference to posts considered bad on 4chan.[3][4]

On September 2nd, 2006, a definition for the term was submitted to Urban Dictionary by user "4chananonymous"[2], defining the phrase as:

To commit suicide, regardless of how stupid the reason is or is not.
Someone stole Mitchell's iPod, so he became an hero.

Two years later, the New York Times published an article about the troll campaign surrounding Henderson and the "an hero" meme. In their report, the Times writes that the deceased parents were harassed by prank phonecallers in the year and a half following his death, while other created memes and placed references to the meme at his grave (shown below). They wrote:

Someone hacked Henderson’s MySpace page and gave him the face of a zombie. Someone placed an iPod on Henderson’s grave, took a picture and posted it to /b/. Henderson’s face was appended to dancing iPods, spinning iPods, hardcore porn scenes. A dramatic re-enactment of Henderson’s demise appeared on YouTube, complete with shattered iPod. The phone began ringing at Mitchell’s parents’ home. “It sounded like kids,” remembers Mitchell’s father, Mark Henderson, a 44-year-old I.T. executive. “They’d say, ‘Hi, this is Mitchell, I’m at the cemetery.’ ‘Hi, I’ve got Mitchell’s iPod.’ ‘Hi, I’m Mitchell’s ghost, the front door is locked. Can you come down and let me in?’ ” He sighed. “It really got to my wife.” The calls continued for a year and a half.

On April 21st, 2011, a page was made on Uncyclopedia as a guide on how to become an hero[5].


MITCHELL JAMES HENDERSON July 15, 1992 April 20, 2006

Examples

motivational poster of a skeleton shooting itself in the head and text saying you should look into becoming an hero motivational poster showing a carved pumpkin made to look like it shot itself in the head YOU SHOULD BE AN HERO
AN HERO Taste the Rainbow! Black-Frames.net Become An Hero. RULE # 1 7 DON'TBEAHERO m.A.Y.a. Iboomboombooom.tumblr.com

Search Interest

External References

[1] MyDeathSpace – Mitchell Henderson Suicide Post 452

[2] Urban Dictionary – Definitions for 'an hero'

[3] DesuArchive – Search Results for An Hero/ [NSFW]

[4] fgts.jp – Search Results for An Hero [NSFW]

[5] Uncyclopedia – How To: Become An Hero

[6] New York Times – The Trolls Among Us

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