Individual Presentation or Panel Title

Tales from the Right: Propaganda as the New Mythology

Abstract

The conservative Right harnesses the power of myth to spin an anthology of dire, epic stories where a system of values, a way of knowing the world, gets told repeatedly in vivid, graphic detail. Myths are sophisticated psychological tools that have empowered humans for thousands of years through initiation. The same psycho-spiritual and embodied content in myths can also be used to manipulate and enslave. Viewed through the lens of story, the human need to construct narratives has remained the same, although the characters and language differs. The Warlocks are now the scientists; the Master Thieves are corporate CEOs; the Royalty are the politicians; and the fabled Warriors reside in the Pentagon. The community huddles around the television to listen to the stories of Fox News. Like Fairy Tales, events in the world are cast in black and white with unequivocal characters. Obama is a mysterious, evil conjurer and Limbaugh is a warrior from humble origins. The listeners find themselves caught up in the designed spaces the story creates. They see a connection between the outer world and their own lives. Myths of old used the rich confusion that people encountered in contradiction to find a third way—which is the essence of creativity. Modern myths freeze people into the contradictions, the dualisms. It’s as if people are caught in a maze created by consumerist ideological hegemonic narratives. We wander through the proscribed pathless paths of the maze, busily yet witlessly walking, living with some vague, imminent threat (economic austerity?) embodied by the Minotaur.

Presentation Description

This presentation will examine how the narratives presented by the Right function on a mythological level, bringing the public to the dualistic struggle of good and evil, but not to the final stage of transcending contradiction. We invite attendees to collaborate with us in imagining other myths that will facilitate healing and empowerment.

Keywords

Mythology, Propaganda, Narrative

Location

Magnolia Room C

Publication Type and Release Option

Presentation (Open Access)

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Jun 14th, 9:15 AM Jun 14th, 10:30 AM

Tales from the Right: Propaganda as the New Mythology

Magnolia Room C

The conservative Right harnesses the power of myth to spin an anthology of dire, epic stories where a system of values, a way of knowing the world, gets told repeatedly in vivid, graphic detail. Myths are sophisticated psychological tools that have empowered humans for thousands of years through initiation. The same psycho-spiritual and embodied content in myths can also be used to manipulate and enslave. Viewed through the lens of story, the human need to construct narratives has remained the same, although the characters and language differs. The Warlocks are now the scientists; the Master Thieves are corporate CEOs; the Royalty are the politicians; and the fabled Warriors reside in the Pentagon. The community huddles around the television to listen to the stories of Fox News. Like Fairy Tales, events in the world are cast in black and white with unequivocal characters. Obama is a mysterious, evil conjurer and Limbaugh is a warrior from humble origins. The listeners find themselves caught up in the designed spaces the story creates. They see a connection between the outer world and their own lives. Myths of old used the rich confusion that people encountered in contradiction to find a third way—which is the essence of creativity. Modern myths freeze people into the contradictions, the dualisms. It’s as if people are caught in a maze created by consumerist ideological hegemonic narratives. We wander through the proscribed pathless paths of the maze, busily yet witlessly walking, living with some vague, imminent threat (economic austerity?) embodied by the Minotaur.