In The Examination Of The Multitudes Of American Myths

1085 WordsApr 19, 20175 Pages
In the examination of the multitudes of American myths and values, a common use and theme can be found uniting all of them. These myths and values, to one degree or another, are designed to make old white men feel better about themselves and as a cudgel used against the changing culture that challenges their privileged position. The myths I will be exploring today involve sanitizing their past, glorifying their actions, and answering challenges to their thrones. The first myth that helps sanitize their past are the myths developed about African-Americans. The myths that will be discussed are that African Americans are lazy, dumb and in need of guidance and the guardianship of the white man. These myths, while originating from Southerns,…show more content…
They also prop up the value that each person in America can simply succeed by hard work by explaining why African Americans, on average, are consistently worse off than white Americans. Now that their sins have been washed away, they are free to be cast as heroes. The way these old white men are transformed into super-heroes are through the myths surrounding World War II. The myths that will be discussed in particular are the myth that the war was won on American Exceptionalism alone, appeasement and compromise do not work with enemy states, and that the war itself was fought by perfect virtuous soldiers for the sake of freedom. The manufacturing of these myths began during the war itself. While propaganda cartoons were broadcasted into homes depicting the axis powers as oversimplified caricatures, cameras were filming the march of troops into the European theater. Generals staged their own speeches to the troops for the purpose of broadcast and even directed the camera crew how to set up the shot. After the war ended, the movie industry took over. By the very nature of movie narratives having good guys and bad guys, the character of the American soldier was already set up to be played as much more virtuous than his real life counter-part. In addition, movie narratives need to, in a short amount of time, set up contrasts between the good guy and bad guy. Since the Axis powers are already known by their audience to have racially motivated fascist ideologies, the
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