Michael Newlyn Blake (zakureth) wrote in hhgttg,
Michael Newlyn Blake

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Need help tracking down a reference...

I need help tracking down a reference for a presentation I have to give in a class tomorrow.

I seem to recall a small essay or statement either written by, or in a book about, Douglas Adams. It was a response to the observation that Arthur Dent seemed like something of a depressing character, stating that he was actually the perfect British hero because he struggles through adversity, lives through what should be absolutely mind-blowingly traumatic experiences, and endures.

Unfortunately, I can't cite it (or even make sure I'm not misstating it) if I can't find it.

Any idea what book it was from?
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is this it?

suspect there is a cultural divide at work here. In England our heroes tend to be characters who either have, or come to realise that they have, no control over their lives whatsoever Pilgrim, Gulliver, Hamlet, Paul Pennyfeather (from Decline and Fall) Tony Last (from A Handful of Dust). We celebrate our defeats and our withdrawals the Battle of Hastings, Dunkirk, almost any given test match. There was a wonderful book published, oh, about twenty years ago I think, by Stephen Pile called the Book of Heroic Failures. It was staggeringly huge bestseller in England and sank with heroic lack of trace in the U.S. Stephen explained this to me by saying that you cannot make jokes about failure in the States. It's like cancer, it just isn't funny at any level. In England, though, for some reason it's the thing we love most. So Arthur may not seem like much of a hero to Americans he doesn't have any stock options, he doesn't have anything to exchange high fives about round the water-cooler. But to the English, he is a hero. Terrible things happen to him, he complains about it a bit quite articulately, so we can really feel it along with him - then calms down and has a cup of tea. My kind of guy!

you can find the rest here: http://slashdot.org/interviews/00/06/21/1217242.shtml
Yes, that is very much it!

I can see that my brain has added a lot of extra words, fluff, and... um... bull to the quote, but that's it.

Thanks ever so much.