Concerning the Mythmakers
There’s a unique dissonance for me regarding the entirety of the word “Myth” in Barthes’ writing. While he’s discussing how signs and symbols creep their way into daily life, becoming an invisible, ideological powerhouse, I can’t escape the image of a traditional myth’s deliberate existence. Older myths traditionally exist to exposit why something is the way it is. Barthes’ myths, the text he’s discussing appear more subconscious than this.
In “Myth Today,” he gives very little thought towards the photographer and editor who created the magazine cover of the French soldier. He says that journalists are very talented at creating these images, but I’d wager that the journalists themselves don’t always know what they’re creating.
This leads me to the section where Barthes discusses that “the mythical concept is to be appropriated (p229).” Barthes is discussing that myth is a larger series of images that the signified is not related to the previous sign (I SIGNIFIER). As such, the new sign of the myth, uses its own language that is separate from the previous language.
In games, myths are used often. Data is regularly examined and using the latter signified is often appropriated to drive sales or player retention. This isn’t exclusive to games either. I know movie trailer companies are exceedingly skilled at producing content that gets audience members into their seats. With all of this, however, how does one read a non-exploitative myth? The tropes of myth are used by all creators and the diversity of voices has never been larger. Being able to read myth is only a beginning for modern media literacy.