The Soul of Popular Culture: Looking at Contemporary Heroes, Myths, and Monsters

The Soul of Popular Culture: Looking at Contemporary Heroes, Myths, and Monsters

The Soul of Popular Culture: Looking at Contemporary Heroes, Myths, and Monsters

The Soul of Popular Culture: Looking at Contemporary Heroes, Myths, and Monsters

Synopsis

In The Soul of Popular Culture, leading writers and critics, many of them influenced by the thought of C. G. Jung, draw upon the insights of depth psychology to delve into the meanings of TV programs like Star Trek and Fawlty Towers, movies such as The Piano and The Silence of the Lambs, and other contemporary media, as well as the public preoccupation with such issues as abortion, AIDS, the O. J. Simpson trial, and our enduring fascination with Elvis.

Excerpt

Beginning thirty years ago, in part, because of the controversial mythos of my own heritage, mestiza and Mexicana, and partly from having seen two gifted women, Marilyn Monroe and Judy Garland, meet untimely and too early deaths, I delved more and more into the phenomena and mythos of sacrifice, the sacrificial victim, and the rites of human sacrifice. I was interested in what correlations I might find between the rites of human sacrifice and the psychology of moderns. Through a long phenomenological inquiry into many anthropological texts and various mythological accounts, I developed a concise and lengthy catalog of the psychological conditions and steps required to lead a soul, symbolically or otherwise, into becoming the sacrificial victim at the center of what I came to term "the cultus of the dying God."

Part of the conspectus that resulted from my research into which factors contribute to the "seductive destruction of a soul" is given later in this paper. I have found that certain persons, such as film actors and actresses, statesmen, musicians, and other sociometric stars, both large and small, can easily be caught up in the psychological equivalent of the "sacrificial victim role," especially if they are young and/or naive, and have in some cases, grown too self-important without realizing it—until much later, or, in certain cases, until it is too late.

Here, I lay out a few informal and preliminary thoughts and opinions, and some of my theorems, and apply them to a man who became one of

1 I use the word victim here in the etymological sense, one who is led into peril without full
knowledge.

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