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« A sloppy fan letter to Anonymous 4 | Main | More on truth and myth »


M Light

But "myth" sounds more creative than "lie" - and "propaganda" has Soviet and Orwellian overtones. I can see why people might want to use "myth" instead, even if they're misusing it. It has less accusatory overtones.


I don't know about less accusatory-- when you tell myths you're being associated with primitive peoples telling absurd stories because they don't know any better.

But "lie" and "propaganda" are both very strong words nowadays, especially in political discourse. Myth might seem mild in comparison.


Regarding the propagation of some of the great American myths you have distilled from Reich or the heroic Columbus stories, it is not only due to "propaganda," or pop-cultural mythmaking that, for instance, Frederick Jackson Turner's romantic and static mytholization of the American Frontier—or how he made sense of America’s legacy up until the 1890s—remains indelibly embedded in our collective consciousness (or unconscious, if you will). Our own inability to admit that we are often both the perpetrators (of commodifying the earth, of land theft, of genocide) AND the victims (of nature, of the Indians, of cheating land speculators, of the Federal Government, etc...) makes us line up with the narrative most comfortable, the history that best lets us off the hook. What is this American mythology you speak of, this Manifest Destiny, this Rugged Individualism? What is our authentic American identity? Does it come from Indian creation stories or European Christian mythology? Because not many are interested in a collection of myths that imply we are derived out of a synthesis of both, and we have spent the last 400 years hearing only what we want to hear about who we are.


All of which distances us Americans from the ancient Greeks, I think, whose foundational story (The Iliad) points out human frailty on purpose and in bushels.

One of the reasons I write this blog is to put my weight against that mytho-propagandistic glacier that has overlain our country, and push it back a little, if possible.

Thank you for your comment and your passion on this subject.

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