Practical Campbell Essay: Movies – The Medium for Myth?

Date of Publication: January 23, 2006

Author: Stephen Gerringer

In this Practical Campbell essay, Stephen Gerringer explores the mythic impact of modern mass media on our culture—and the way in which one of the most modern of art forms has helped to birth forth new myth.

There is a tendency to assume that the artist-as-shaman speaks only to an elite, as if there exists an unbridgeable divide between Art and popular culture. Comic books, movies, television, video games and such are considered merely the trappings of pop culture – the profit-oriented mass media mass-producing the entertainment that serves primarily as an escape – bread and circuses to placate the restless mob.

But do films and other popular media play a role in creating and conveying mythologies? Does Hollywood merely borrow a mythic theme here and there – or might the movies serve as a vehicle for myth?

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