Mythomania: Fantasies, Fables, and Sheer Lies in Contemporary American Popular Art
. Art Issues Press . Los Angeles
PN1995.W385 1996 (Carlson Fable Collection, BIC bldg)
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This is a curious book. One might pick it up thinking that it will be a diatribe against popular art in the USA today. It is rather a sympathetic look at what that art is saying. …in America, the vulgarity inevitably associated with commercial success is not a dangerous opiate, distracting us from eternal truths. In America, vulgarity is the vehicle for the expression of eternal truths (7). Welt means here to involve both senses of the word myth. One sense involves narratives that tell us where and how a people find meaning in the world. And, second, a still-more common meanng deprecates myth as a widely held, patently false belief. He goes on to say explicitly I invoke both senses of myth intentionally (10). Though fable shows up here in the book's subtitle, I find only one use of the word in the first few essays, and it is not very discriminating. Welt is writing about Schindler's List. It is not the legend of the beneficent industrialist that appeals to Spielberg's fans, in and outside Hollywood, so much as the fable of the purveyor of enormously popular schlock who has finally found the higher, harder path to Art (37). I put this book into the collection to save me or others from seeing its subtitle and thinking it might relate more specifically to Aesopic fable.