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Speaking From the Heart: Three Righteous Preacher Men – Episode 78

In this episode Dara finds himself concerned about the upcoming FIFA world cup in Qatar. What blind eyes were turned and what palms greased to award the tournament to such an unlikely host nation? Footballers heading to the competition want to express their reservations about human rights abuses and the exploitation of workers, but FIFA wants them to ‘stick to football’.

In explaining why that infuriates him so much, Dara stresses the need for voices of protest to be heard. Staying in that area, he reflects on Bruce Springsteen’s Broadway show, which features the rock and roll frontman looking back at his storied career and preaching a mantra of uplift and togetherness as an antidote to the divisive times in which America finds itself.

A rock and roll man as preacher. Ireland’s equivalent? Bono of U2, whom Dara admits being greatly irritated by as a young man. Now however, even though they are not cool, Dara professes his admiration for both men and their consistent speaking up and speaking out. Grandiose and self-indulgent though they may be, their righteous rhetoric is coming from a good place.

Dara also looks at the incendiary director Spike Lee, and his most explosive film, Do The Right Thing. Lee is another preacher of sorts, speaking truth to power and laying bare the tensions and hypocrisies of racial politics and posturing in his America. What these three artists have in common is a willingness to nail their colours to the mast in a bid to move and engage and provoke. Their modes might be different, but they are all speaking from the heart.

The question is, is their faith and passion and bigheartedness tantamount to a truth worth valuing, or is it just artistic ego and posturing?

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