Hi. I’ve been stinging over my self-imposed thralldom to my parents. They love me, they care enough to share their home while I am only able to get temporary work. In short, I currently don’t have the full-time work which would give me the velocity to escape their gravity well of food and shelter. (Soon…my beloved minions, soon.)
I’m working at developing some modern folk tales and would appreciate input. I’m curious about two matters: 1) Have you seen something you might call a modern folk tale? This should be more a more self-aware piece of writing than that of the urban legend variety. I realize that signs and signifiers are flying all over the place in such accounts. But I’m looking also for 2) a sense of what you think is missing in this area or places in popular culture, literature, movies, etc., where you think this subject is being addressed.
To give you some more thought-provoking material on the subject the following is quoted from a really good site I found, Modern Folktales. Their site, currently a shell, appears to have ambitious goals.
The following is quoted from their mission statement.
“…Over the course of the last 100 years, the common man has become the invisible man. His customs and traditions, as well as the stories he tells about himself, have been gradually stripped away. For the most part, today’s media leave him two options:
1. To sit passively and watch stories about characters who are richer than he is, more beautiful, and usually more educated. It is for these people that the American dream exists and the common man fulfills his social mission by watching them act out lives that are completely out of reach and which he has no realistic hope of ever obtaining.
2. The other option is to let himself be categorized as a Jerry Springer-like sub-human whose only hope in life is to not get caught cheating on his wife. Or, if he happens to be a little more money-driven, watch himself on so-called “reality shows” groveling in the most humiliating circumstances for some monetary prize.
There are many reasons why this state of affairs exists. But all of them can probably be traced back to the fact that a man who is strong in his identity and belief-systems, and is proud of them, is much harder to enslave than one who is not so fortunate. …”
I think that they point out some valuable observations. They may fall under the category of what is called alienation. But I think that an inability to tell stories about ourselves may point to a specific type of alienation. Here we are, surrounded by several varieties of media unavailable even forty years ago. Where has our story-telling ability gone? Or, has it only changed? Are YouTube sex videos and footage of guys having crotch-centered accidents while skateboarding the sum total of our ability to comment on ourselves? Or, more hopefully, is it just the shallow end of the folk tale pool?
I’m eager to hear your reactions and any ideas you might have for me. Thanks.