Manufacturing Tales: Sex and Money in Contemporary Legends

Overview

The mouse in the Coke bottle, the promiscuous cheerleader, the exploding Pop Rocks candy, the Kentucky Fried Rat. If the ballad and the fairy tale were the archetypal folklore forms of an earlier age, such contemporary legends constitute the preferred narrative genre of the late twentieth century. In Manufacturing Tales, award-winning folklorist Gary Alan Fine presents a major new theory of the creation and diffusion of contemporary legends in modern society. While ballad and fairy tale arose in folk communities ...
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Overview

The mouse in the Coke bottle, the promiscuous cheerleader, the exploding Pop Rocks candy, the Kentucky Fried Rat. If the ballad and the fairy tale were the archetypal folklore forms of an earlier age, such contemporary legends constitute the preferred narrative genre of the late twentieth century. In Manufacturing Tales, award-winning folklorist Gary Alan Fine presents a major new theory of the creation and diffusion of contemporary legends in modern society. While ballad and fairy tale arose in folk communities and spread through trade and migration, contemporary legends thrive in societies crosscut by varied communication channels and relatively open networks. By looking at the social-structural background, the performance context, the personality of the teller, and the content of the text, we gain insight into the formation, dissemination, and disappearance of these modern legends. Fine identifies sex and money as key themes in contemporary legends, reflecting the public's disguised attempts to deal with major contemporary preoccupations. From the AIDS crisis to fears of food contamination in restaurants, popular anxieties are reflected in folklore. As dramatic, moving, comic, and involving texts, contemporary legends build relationships among acquaintances and strangers; as depictions of the world that we face every day, they provide perspective on potential challenges; and as shared information, they elaborate a consensual understanding of reality.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780870497551
  • Publisher: University of Tennessee Press
  • Publication date: 11/15/1992
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 212
  • Product dimensions: 6.06 (w) x 9.04 (h) x 0.74 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction: Toward a Framework for Contemporary Legends 1
I Sexual Fantasies
I Evaluating Psychoanalytic Folklore: Are Freudians Ever Right? 45
2 The Promiscuous Cheerleader: An Adolescent Male Legend 59
3 Welcome to the World of AIDS: Fantasies of Female Revenge 69
II Dangerous Products
4 Cokelore and Coke Law: Urban Belief Tales and the Problem of Multiple Origins 79
5 Folklore Diffusion Through Interactive Social Networks: Conduits in a Preadolescent Community 86
6 The Kentucky Fried Rat: Legends and Modern Society 120
III Dangerous Capitalism
7 The Goliath Effect: Corporate Dominance and Mercantile Legends 141
8 Mercantile Legends and the World Economy: Dangerous Imports from the Third World 164
9 Among Those Dark Satanic Mills: Rumors of Kooks, Cults, and Corporations 174
IV Corporate Redemption
10 Redemption Rumors: Mercantile Legends and Corporate Beneficence 189
11 Redemption Rumors and the Power of Ostension 205
Index 209
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