How This All Works

Here is an interesting episode of This American Life that gives a compelling example of how mythology is still alive and well. An ex-gang banger talks about how he learned how to cope with his lifestyle by taking lessons from the movies; those mythic Mob elements like loyalty and family. The program balances it out with examples of how organized crime works in the real world. Those virtues are there, but the grim reality of bad karma is spelled out explicitly.

A compelling listen, and a great example of how highly-motivated people will live their lives based on our modern myths. It reminded me of an episode from high school. A friend of mine had a hassle going on with a school thug. A day of reckoning came when this friend and the thug would have to throw it down. My friend brought in X-Men # 140, and steeled himself by getting inspiration from Wolverine during the lunch break.

The thug disappeared from school for a while and by the time he came back the hassle just sort of evaporated. I was kind of disappointed, I think my buddy would have cleaned this guy's clock. He was pretty strong anyway, and Wolverine really seemed to be in his blood that day.

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