My first class this Fall session is a last GER class, this one about myths and (mostly) Mythology. Frankly, it’s an agony for me, because my interpretation is that Myth is fiction that has outstayed its welcome. Sure, they’re compelling stories and all that, and as such useful for modern novelists and filmmakers to retread such stories and distribute them as “content” (a word I despise) to the cattle of our consumer society. They’re especially good for that because people aren’t educated nearly as well anymore. But analysis of myth, and and the making up of whole cultures, a whole WORLD full of cultures around some artifacts from pre-literate peoples seems a byzantine exercise in group flagellation, one that’s been going on for neigh unto 150 years.
It’s true for me that Mythology (the study of myth: that is, making up stuff about made-up stuff) is something I can regard as a victimless crime. It doesn’t generally do anyone else any harm. If your field is Mythology, then you’re not doing something really detrimental to society, like running an HOA, or making pointless laws at any level. But you’re not doing any good, either. What does your work bring to the table, at the end of the day?
“Ooooh, yah. Today we decided that Joseph Cambell’s work is a bunch of crap, because he wrote about heroes instead of heroines, and well, he’s a man.”
Nobody’s said that in my class, but I get the sense from my readings that that sort of person who might say such a thing is lurking in every corner, in this field of study. In the meantime I’m trying to accomplish the assigned tasks without understanding the language the questions are asked in.
For example, #WTF is a “cultural process of transforming myths”?
Those are all English words, yet I don’t know what that means. I could answer a question with those words in it, but I have no idea whether I’ve address the issue in the sense the query was meant. I look for that phrase in my book. It isn’t there. I looked for the phrase in my online course resources – not there, either. But this gem is: “The study of myth was transformed into the systematic production of knowledge—the science of mythology”.
Finally, I’m not getting enough feedback from the right places to help me be successful in this class. Yeah, that’s a whinge, so be it. I’m having to work my ass off to get answers partly right, and get NO useful data back to make my next foray more successful. This isn’t learning, that isn’t teaching (or even instructing), it’s just an institution parting students from their money, which is a darn shame.
I may tank in this class (which is Brian-code for anything less than an `A`), and that frustrates me, too. I’d dump this class, if it weren’t for the fact that it’s my second-to-last class in my last session. I’m going to survive this and move on, but I’m angry that I have to endure a class where nothing is taught.