Category: mythology

Seven Stories

I recently attended the wedding of an old friend of my wife. It was a well-put-together event, a fairly standard example of the genre, and though I don’t know the people getting married terribly well, I felt an upwelling of emotion at a few important points in the ceremony. A wedding is a narrative genre: it has a beginning, a…

The Post-Heroic Age

No to the heroic. No to the anti-heroic. (a brief excerpt from Yvonne Rainer’s famous “No Manifesto“) I get to teach a class on screenwriting in the fall, which is exciting. I took a screenwriting class in the English department while a grad student at the University of Minnesota in 2014, and found the state of pedagogy on the subject…

Narrative Without End

The Hero’s Journey says, more or less, that if you go on this quest and take these risks, it will cost you something, you will learn something, and you will get to come home stronger and more mature. In other words, you will win. Beowulf, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings – all of these fit the template. It is not,…

More on the Myth of Monomyth

When I wrote this in 2013 about Joseph Campbell’s compelling Hero’s Journey theory (which has become the basis for most mainstream blockbuster filmmaking), I felt a bit like a voice crying out in the wilderness. We may all be sick of the reluctant-gifted-hero-goes-on-quest storyline, but it seem pretty non-negotiable as the Narrative of Our Times. Though it’s probably not a new…

Myths and Lies

This article at Salon.com is one of many dozens out there right now working to dismantle the “Myth of American Exceptionalism.” I have absolutely no quarrel with any of the information or most of the opinions in it. I believe it’s absolutely necessary to come to terms with the massive systemic injustice, cruelty and extreme inequality in America right now,…