Left toin at Xibalba
May 29, 2010 4:03 PM   Subscribe

Michal Brody's "Invoking the Ancestors: Edward Sapir, Bugs Bunny, and the Popol Vuh" [PDF] suggests that Space Jam is a product of the same mythopoeic impulses that pitted the Hero Twins against the lords of the Mayan underworld. [via]
posted by Iridic (11 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Someone should send her a copy of Barkley, Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden, as really digs into the Space Jam mythos in ways that both complicate and expand on her premise.

Also, Barkley Shut Up and Jam!: Gaiden is amazing and everyone should play it.
posted by Copronymus at 4:16 PM on May 29, 2010 [4 favorites]

When you think about it, Marvin the Martian is basically an incarnation of Ares. Roman garb, lives on the planet named after the god of war, wants to conquer the Earth.
posted by Caduceus at 4:25 PM on May 29, 2010

Joseph Conrad is spinning in his grave right now.

No wait. Cornell. Joseph Cornell is spinning.

Er, hold on...


Joseph Campbell is spinning in his grave right now. Got it.
posted by ardgedee at 4:58 PM on May 29, 2010 [3 favorites]

Does "mythopoeic" mean Michael Jordan gets paid a lot of money?
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 5:01 PM on May 29, 2010

I'd like to hear Popol Vuh play "I Believe I Can Fly."
posted by box at 5:19 PM on May 29, 2010

Television Without Pity Makes me feel this way sometimes.
posted by The Whelk at 6:19 PM on May 29, 2010

OK, this is a fun article. The author is conscious that the concept sounds silly...and makes a good argument for it. I like the comparison of Bugs Bunny to a trickster figure -- of course it makes sense that cartoons resemble old myths in their structure and characterization (they are stories that we tell to children to entertain them and teach them something), but Brody takes the concept far enough to make something productive out of it, teaching the reader both to see Space Jam as more than a dumb movie and to recognize something familiar in an ancient story from a distant culture (for many readers).

(Also, I can just imagine her hearing about Space Jam and going "HOLY SHIT, that's that myth! I have to write about this! TOO AWESOME.")
posted by dreamyshade at 7:16 PM on May 29, 2010

Every time I tried to pull this shit off in college, I got a "B" at best.

The professors were mostly very firm about REAL culture being old, or at least being written by someone famous enough to have critical essays about his/her work. My comparison of the Houyhnhnms with the Vulcans got me a "C" and a note about making sure not to get pop culture mixed in with "real" culture.

Cartoons and superheroes are totally modern mythology, though. Fr srs.
posted by Scattercat at 7:57 PM on May 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

you just lost


The writers of Space Jam appear to be 2 pairs of collaborators --

Among other projects Steve Rudnick and Leo Benvenuti share responsibility for some Tom Arnold TV specials and The Santa Clause franchise.

Timothy Harris and Herschel Weingrod co-wrote Trading Places, Brewster's Millions, Twins, My Stepmother Is an Alien, and Kindergarten Cop.
posted by Hammond Rye at 8:29 PM on May 29, 2010

Scattercat: Houyhnhnms and Vulcans? YES. All the comparisons of them that I can find online are pretty superficial. If you wanted to post this to a blog somewhere, I'd be up for reading it! And arrrgh, there's tons of critical scholarship about Star Trek -- so even by that definition, it's real culture. Oh well. And I could talk for an exceedingly long time about Star Trek as modern epic poetry...
posted by dreamyshade at 10:35 PM on May 29, 2010

Oh, I'm afraid it's long since deleted. It was only a ten-page paper, though, and primarily composed of me talking out of my ass without any actual citations and such. I tried to make the case that the different cultures produces two oddly similar fantasy races with totally different "flavors." Swift's Houyhnhnms were an idealized version of what the Enlightenment ought to have produced, a sort of mirror held up to say, "See? Even the HORSES are better at this logic and reason crap than you morons." The Vulcans, though, were somehow wrong because of their devotion to logic; they lacked something that the fiery humanist Kirk had, and thus Spock got to spend a lot of time on second fiddle and wet blanket duty.

I thought it was a pretty good point, at the time. Still do, really.

posted by Scattercat at 2:59 PM on May 30, 2010

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