Thursday, August 13, 2009

Myth Takes


I have been thinking about myth. So, like a dutiful grad student, I resorted to the only piece of writing I know about "myth" for some insight: Roland Barthes' "Myth Today", written in 1956. Turns out anything can be a myth as long as it has roots in history! Ergo, Lee "Stack O' Lee" Shelton works. Cowboys are solid. What about Mike Fink, though?

Myth, Barthes continues, cannot spring from Nature. I disagree with this point because the Greeks seemed to have a pretty elaborate narrative for naturally occurring phenomena, or am I missing something? I suppose to parse this out we would need to consider how natural events "occur" and are therefore subject to time, in which case they can become "history". Then there is also the issue of who is keeping the records.

Truth be told I have a lot of difficulty with RB and this last point is no exception. I generally find his readings and discussions of images arbitrary, as he bases a whole line of thought on his singular, though layered, interpretation of an image. My difficulty lies, I'm sure, with the fact that I am a 21st century person and have a completely different relationship with the image than a mid-20th century Frenchman.

1 comment:

Matthew Mann said...

Oh, right. Myth comes from language and is a compromise between cynicism and demystification. Makes sense.