November 20, 2013

Giants, fairies, Disneyland, war, archetypes: The role of mythology in our lives

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — Jane Stillwater @ 12:44 pm

I want to go back to Disneyland! Who in their right mind wouldn’t want to return to a time when the Middle East was represented by flying carpets in the “Small World” ride instead of all those sad videos of dead babies that we now see on the news.

And even in today’s modern world, there are still myths and legends in our lives that motivate us, spur us on and keep us going — such as the myth of the Good War, the hero, the Patriot, the soldier and all those Marvel superheroes who stand between us and our worst nightmares.

And then there are the nightmares themselves.

But on the other hand, we also have many sweet, gentle myths and archetypes that enhance our world and bring us gifts of love — such as the good fairies who grant us three wishes, the Three Wise Men, and Glinda the Good Witch of the North. “You’re capable of more than you know…”

“Please read me another story from the fairy tale book,” says my granddaughter Mena every night before bedtime. She loves fairy tales. They help to explain a confusing adult world to her in a way that a five-year-old can understand. The wicked witch in Hansel and Gretel. Monster High’s cool DracuLaura. The town musicians of Bremen, the three little pigs. Parents as giants, towering over kids. Or even when Mena was a hero herself, during a deadly asthma attack last year. Fairy tales help Mena to understand that there are both good guys and bad guys in the world — and that the good guys sometimes actually win.

Then we have all those other myths and archetypes which are deliberately created by clever PR campaigns, ones that make us believe that if only we buy this fabulous 4G high-speed cell phone or that sexy high-speed car, we too will become a Hero. Not so, sadly. All we really are doing is speeding up the death of the Earth as we know it. And our deaths too.

And did I forget to mention the myth of War? That if you can just kill enough people, then Might will make Right. Where mass murder becomes sanctioned and even glorified. Where “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” becomes a tooth in exchange for a thousand cemeteries What a bloody lie. I myself prefer the “Love thy neighbor as thyself” myth much better. Plus it’s far easier than trying to get blood stains out of the carpet once all those murderous Heroes have moved on to the next Good War.

And then, of course, there is the myth (and the reality) of our own evil twin. I just finished reading a book called “The Tools,” which advises us to harness the power of each person’s evil twin in order to make them our allies instead, and to help us do Good. Good luck with that one.

Bottom line: Legends and myths and fairy tales and giants and archetypes all come from somewhere deep within the dark reaches of our individual subconscious minds. And these myths and archetypes have an important role to play in our lives. I’m just saying. Ignore them at your own peril. Or else try to take advantage of them — before they take advantage of you.

PS: Am currently reading two fairy tales for adults: “Summerland” by Michael Chabon and “Stardust” by Neil Gaiman. Will let you know how they turn out. And am also trying to figure out how to win the lottery so I can go back to Iraq with Hinterland Travel next October, to see where they wrote “1,001 Nights”.

November 21, 2010

The Tattlesnake – Debunking Five Current Media Myths Edition

“Those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”
– George Bernard Shaw

1. The Republicans are going to end earmarks. Ha, ha! Both parties, but especially the GOP, thrive on earmarks – not only does it bring home the bacon, but it’s a nice covert way to reward their corporate sponsors. The typically devious Republicans, with the help of some Blue Dog Dems in the Senate, are just going to change the name to something like ‘help American families add-ons’ or ‘freedom appropriation inserts’ and continue to happily earmark away.

2. The Republican Party is now strong. Another laugher. The GOP had to rebrand as the ‘new Tea Party GOP’ in 2010 and none of their candidates dared campaign with Junior Bush. In TV ads, many GOP candidates did not even mention they were Republicans. Rand Paul, the only true Teabagger in the Senate, is now making noises like a “go along to get along” guy, and various naïve Teabaggers in the House, like the anti-government-paid health care dimwit who demanded his government-paid health care ahead of schedule, have begun showing their strong streak of stupid, even before January’s official swearing in. Most of us have noticed it’s not the mid-90s anymore, with the booming economy of the Clinton years, except for Republicans like Rep. Darrell Issa. Tying the House up in endless attempts to impeach Obama is not going to endear the GOP to a crumbling nation dealing with what is really the second Great Depression. And some of the Teabaggers may be gravely offended to discover that the GOP has been lying to them. It’s going to be a fractious two years in Congress that won’t come out well for the GOP in 2012.

3. The Republicans have a plan to restore jobs. Related to the item above, and every bit as hilarious, the GOP has nothing except ‘tax cuts’ (spin and repeat, ad nauseum), and that isn’t going to create any jobs except at corporate PR firms trying to peddle the fraud that tax cuts are working to create jobs, and that’s not nearly enough to refloat the fast-sinking economy. As the fading middle-class notices its nails are ripping off trying to hang on to what they have left, brand ‘Tea Party Republican’ will become a political curse as loaded with negative connotations as ‘Communist’ or ‘Cheney’ is today.

4. The Republicans can balance the budget. The GOP hasn’t been able to balance the federal budget since Reagan took office, and without Clinton-inspired tax hikes and a few turns by Big Bill, there wouldn’t have been a surplus in 2000. Since the GOP doesn’t want to end two over-priced wars from which their corporate supporters are getting wealthier, truly reform our wastefully expensive health care system, remove corporate tax loopholes, separate commercial and investment banks, and cut the defense budget drastically, that leaves social spending like Social Security and Medicare on the block. The unvarnished truth: Even if the GOP junked all federal social programs, which they won’t be able to do, they still wouldn’t be able to balance the budget. In fact, with their tax cuts for the wealthy of prime importance, along with preserving corporate tax loopholes, they’ll be adding another trillion dollars to the debt. They’ll remain the ‘put it on the credit card and blame the Democrats’ party they’ve been for 30 years.

5. The Democrats lost because they went too far left. Au contraire, mon frere, as George Carlin used to say. Think of it: In spite of the corporate millions that poured into the Senate race in Nevada, the GOP couldn’t score what should have been an easy victory. In California, progressive and GOP target Barbara Boxer prevailed, and the Tea Party proved its basic worthlessness in the “I’m not a witch” fiasco that was Christine O’Donnell in Delaware. Only in those areas of the country dominated by Fox News and AM radio right-wing talkers, and not much counter-balancing local media, where the Teabaggers could work without serious scrutiny, did they score wins, mostly against Blue Dog Dems. The reason a lot of Dems stayed home in 2010 is that they were tired of voting for progressive Democrats and getting Republican Lite. Obama and the Dems should listen to the wisdom of Harry Truman, a Democrat who prevailed during a bad time for Dems in the late 1940s, “Given the choice between a Republican and a Democrat who acts like a Republican, people will vote for the real Republican every time.”

Obama and the Dems might also heed this advice from Give ‘Em Hell Harry: “Carry the battle to them. Don’t let them bring it to you. Put them on the defensive and don’t ever apologize for anything.”

But let’s not expect too much.

© 2010 RS Janes.

February 8, 2009

The Tattlesnake – Six Neocon Whoppers: Myth, Truth and Proof Edition

The Dirty Half-Dozen: Exposing Some Recent Right-Wing Fairy Tales and Deceptions

1. Myth: Rupert Murdoch and his News Corporation media possessions, The Wall Street Journal and Fox News, are the only national media outlets making money and increasing audience right now. Truth: Murdoch’s News Corp. is losing money hand over fist, $6.4 billion in the last two quarters, and cutting staff as the circulation of the WSJ and ratings for Fox News decline. Proof: Here’s an excerpt from an AP report:

“News Corp., the global media giant controlled by Rupert Murdoch, said Thursday it lost $6.4 billion in its most recent quarter because of a massive write-down in the value of its assets.

“The New York-based company, which owns The Wall Street Journal and the Fox broadcast network, also forecast a 30 percent drop in operating profits for the fiscal year to June from a year ago, when it earned $5.13 billion.” [...]

“News Corp. also said it had cut 800 positions across its Fox properties, including the 20th Century Fox movie studio, in moves that it expected to save $400 million a year. The Wall Street Journal said Thursday it is cutting about two dozen newsroom positions.”
– Ryan Nakashima, AP Business Writer, “News Corp. loses $6.4 billion in 2Q,” Feb. 5, 2009.

2. Myth: “Government jobs don’t stimulate the economy.” Recently Sen. Tom Coburn (R-NotOK) was promoting this bit of balderdash on MSNBC, but I’ve heard and read it elsewhere in the right-wing media as well. Truth: This is nonsense from the days of Herbert Hoover. Proof: Under Franklin D. Roosevelt such government employment programs as the WPA and CCC reduced unemployment dramatically during the Great Depression and improved the economy, as much as many neocon economists are desperately trying to rewrite history to reflect the opposite. Just like everyone else, government employees pay taxes and buy things – houses, cars, food, clothes and appliances –– that stimulate the economy.

3. Myth: Rush Limbaugh never actually said about President Obama, “I hope he fails.” Truth: Yes, he did and I heard it. Proof: Here’s the audio clip. He plainly says he was asked for quote about Obama and replied, “I hope he fails.”

4. Myth: “Tax cuts are the best way to improve the economy.” Truth: No, they aren’t. Proof: The last eight years of tax cuts under Bush.

5. Myth: “Free market capitalism will regulate itself.” Truth: You’re crazy. It’s like saying a basket of vipers will regulate itself into a litter of puppies. Proof: The economic collapse engendered by the ‘hands-off’ policies of Bush as well as bankers, Wall Street, automakers and other large corporations begging for bailouts to avoid bankruptcy. Then there’s Bernie Madoff, Enron, and all of the other members of the Corrupt Bastards Club, with the latest outrageous entry being the Peanut Corporation of America, who knowingly sold salmonella-tainted nuts to poor kids enrolled in school free-lunch programs while Bush’s FDA inspectors slept on the job. (Maybe they should have tried cake instead.)

6. Myth: “Bill O’Reilly and Fox News never really got anything wrong.” Truth: Yes, they have, and the list is as long as your arm. Proof: Here are some highlights and a link:

Reviewing the accuracy of Fox News and O’Reilly over the past eight years:


January 14, 2009

The Tattlesnake – Anti-Mythmaking and Other Conundrums Edition

“Obviously, some of my rhetoric has been a mistake.”
– George W. Bush in what, we hope, is his final press conference.


A Few Popular Media Myths Quickly Dispelled:

– There is not, and never has been, any such thing as ‘global free trade.’

– That we have, or have ever had, a ‘free market’ economy. (Another quaint media fiction that has never existed in reality.)

– There is not, and never has been, any such thing as a corporation that ‘cares.’ Corporations care about you to the extent that it facilitates freeing you from your money to buy their product or service; that is their only purpose in ‘caring’ about the customer at all. All else is marketing and public relations.

Laughable Bulls*it: Bush now admits the ‘Mission Accomplished’ banner was a mistake. Hmmm, was that the ‘Mission Accomplished’ banner prepared by the White House, or the one the Rove PR machine claimed was painted by the happy sailors aboard the carrier USS Abraham Lincoln that had nothing to do with the Bush Gang?

Ponderable: ‘In God We Trust’ is an interesting motto to stick on money. Think about it – if you really trusted God, you wouldn’t need money.

To All of the Geniuses on the Left Excoriating Obama: Word up, friends. It’s said Obama is a good poker player and a good poker player doesn’t show his cards until he’s ready. Next time you think to trash him before he’s even officially president, think for a moment: The guy is one of the smartest presidents we’ve ever had, and he put together an organization to get this far, against the odds; maybe he actually knows what he’s doing.

Not a Cheeseburger in Paradise: Burger King is currently featuring something called the ‘Angry Whopper’ spiced up with slices of jalapenos and pepper cheese to burn your tongue. Geez — fast food with emotions? What’s next, the ‘Big Mad Mac’ with bone splinters, White Castle’s ‘Snarly Slider’ with fingernail clippings, or Wendy’s ‘Ass-Kickin’ Mean Stack’ with pieces of real teeth? “Gimme one a them damn nasty burgers and make it snappy, jerk! Grrrrrrrr.”

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