I missed the press announcement of the introduction of the phrase ‘urban legend’

I missed the press announcement of the introduction of the phrase "urban legend" into public blathering. I say this because I am made aware of references to such a thing (I was tempted to say concept but I will wait on that) and the examples that fall under that heading don’t seem to have a connection with either "urban" or "legend." Unless, of course, any kind of story or anecdote can be a legend. Or it might be our various cultural arbiters feel called upon to manufacture legends, fables and myths for reasons known only to them? But that is another story. In my experience the manufacturers of myth in our culture have, for the most part, been businesses and politicians. Some where along the line the myth of brand was created so that for many people, if you could remember the name Chevrolet or Marlboro or Coca Cola or Crest or Tide, that "brand" implied some standard of high quality. If ever, no more. I walked into Blockbuster Video the other evening—looking for cheap thrills. Just the thought of being in thrall to a corporation of that ilk that includes Microsoft, America On Line, and McDonald’s chastened me, pondering whether commercial entities became large and successful by giving both good value and good product. Perhaps such an ethos would qualify as an urban legend? Back to aisles of Blockbuster—in my increasingly desperate search for an interesting and distracting video (I almost went for Apocalypse Now) I came across a VHS tape called Big Bad Love. Directed by Arliss Howard with Howard and marital partner Debra Winger in significant roles along with Paul Le Mat and Rosanna Arquette and Michael Parks and Angie Dickinson, the kicker here is that the movie is based on the great "working class southern writer" Larry Brown's stories from a collection of the same name. Everything about this gem was on target; the acting, the direction, the sound and the sound track. This would be one shining example of the high odds for coming up with something good if you start out with something good…this is a terrific piece of cinema that avoids turning into cliche the travails and tortures of the writing life. I guess I should be grateful for beneficence of the Great American Bazaar that I was able to find such a wonder, at all.

Scroll to Top