Don’t Kill Your Heroes, Don’t Even Meet Them

Growing up in the tiny hamlet of Clear Lake, Iowa (population 7500), there weren’t many opportunities for me to encounter my heroes of music, film, and literature. Tom Robbins, P.T. Anderson, Stuart Murdoch (of Belle & Sebastian): They all existed inside the Mount Olympus of British rock magazines and imported DVDs with special feature interviews. I absorbed their work with a feverish intensity, but for years I’d never even visited the cities in which they lived, let alone shaken their hands.

So you’d think I’d be as thrilled as a puppy in a box of packing peanuts when I moved to Denver, Colorado, and began work as an A&E journalist, a job that regularly put me in contact with my favorite musicians, writers, and stand-up comedians. But I soon found out that interviewing a person was a million miles from meeting them; and that when it comes to heroes, actually meeting them has the potential to destroy every reason you loved them in the first place.

Josiah Hesse meets John Dickerson