Friday, August 11, 2006

Urban Myths Repeated

In the middle of writing my second book about WWII, I am hearing comments on the radio that sound eerily familiar. In fact, I am finding that much of the same baloney people were spouting during and after WWII is being recycled.

Did you know that President Roosevelt knew about the attack on Pearl Harbor and allowed it to happen so we could go to war?

Did you know that the attack on Pearl Harbor was the fault of the United States because of our policies from about 1927 on?

Did you know that the second world war in Europe was really the fault of the United States because of its part in the Armistice agreement that was reached after WWI?

It is beginning to occur to me that whatever happens, someone will decide that it is the fault of the United States. The reasoning will not even be original—the story teller will use the hackneyed thinking of the previous era to proclaim his findings.

For modern mythology you do not have to change the sentences, just insert a new president’s name and a new country’s name. There is no end to these urban myths.

While in a university course in abnormal psychology I heard a professor talking about a certain type of mental illness in which a person claimed to be wired through his brain to a well-known evil person and the person was telling him what to do. There were so many of these types of stories that they became depressingly tiresome to psychologists and psychiatrists.

One day, a well known psychiatrist became mentally ill and when he was treated, there was a great deal of excitement in the psychological community because the patient had heard it all and certainly would be telling a different story.

Psychologists were deeply disappointed when the learned patient told them, “Well, there is this wire in my brain and I am being controlled by really evil guy, and . . .”

Of course, those were the days of radio and radar. Now we have computers, the nutty stories have graduated to Internets and so on. But they are still the same basic stories.

History really does repeat itself, and in a tiresome way, too.

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