How does the 21st century "hero's journey" compare to myths in classical literature? At noon, we'll hear from Michael Mooney, who profiles slain Navy Seal sniper Chris Kyle in this month's D Magazine, Ben Fountain, author of the book Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk, and Shaun Treat, an assistant professor of rhetoric at the University of North Texas who studies how evolved mythical archetypes like superheroes affect real life.
Mooney's story "The Legend of Chris Kyle" inspects the career and life of a man who didn't take a dime from the sales of his bestselling autobiography American Sniper, deciding instead to help fallen veterans and their families. So much about Kyle was traditionally heroic -- his pride in the number of people he saved rather than those he killed, his devotion to his family. But his transition from "Country" to "Family," as Kyle calls it, shows how the hero illusion and resulting expectations can take a toll on members of the military who find their identity in a savior role.
Listen to Think from noon to 2 p.m., Monday through Thursday, on KERA 90.1. You can stream the show at kera.org.