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Stepping into the Breach, or The Quandary of Heroes – Episode 51

In this episode Dara is thrust back to his childhood by a concert of John Williams music, and specifically the music of the Star Wars films. That event, and his recent watching of Matt Reeves’s The Batman, gets him thinking about fictional heroes and what role they fulfil in our lives, and why in his late forties he is still happy to consume these heroic tales.

Spurred by his daughter being disappointed by the end of a playdate, Dara recalls similar feelings of ‘micro-grief’ when he was a child, and asks if fictional heroes don’t in some way act as a compensation for the disappointments of real life. He dismisses the idea of adults having conventional hero figures in real life and posits that heroism can be located in much more mundane things like survival and positivity and resilience.

There is also time to expound on joined-up thinking, killable roosters, uncanny valleys, and one of Dara’s all-time favourite comic book characters – The Fantastic Four’s Ben Grimm, also known as The Thing, whose orange-bricked exterior concealed the tenderest of hearts.

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