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arts and culture | legacies

Better not Pout

The oldest and most durable wisdom in nearly every culture in every age has been that happiness and the meaning of life are not found in money or material possessions.. When the myth is working, it guides us from infantile narcissism to adult wisdom, which consists in selflessness.
"The ugly truth that the lie of Santa is covering up is how commercial Christmas has become..

A myth isn't just a story; it's a story that explains why people act the way they do or that makes people act in a certain way. As times change and practices change, the stories that explain the practices change along with them. So we should ask what social rituals the Santa story explains or encourages. As an anthropologist might put it, what "cultural work" is the story performing?"

Jim Earl is a professor of English at the University of Oregon in Eugene.

to read his article published in: Eugene Weekly, 12/24/2008, click on

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