The New Myths
Traditionally, a myth has been defined as a story or idea that helps to explain customs of a people group or society in general. Myths are the motivating stories or ideas that help to define cultural practices. Often they motivate daily behavior.
The key to recognizing new myths of today’s modern media culture is to think of them as ideas that emerge from long exposure to certain patterns of images. These myths are unconvincing unless you think of them as emerging from a huge array of images, which come from many sources, including advertising, entertainment and news.
First, we have an immediate emotional response wherein we recognize, for example, the image of a flag, a cross, a sunset, or a house, which leads us to react in a way that taps into our inner emotions, past stories and experiences.
Second, we view that image within the context of hundreds of other similar images. By doing this, the new myth that the image is communicating is clearly seen. Otherwise, it cannot stand apart because it would be obscured by powerful stories and the emotional connections that are used to sell the image.