“I missed the press announcement of the introduction of the phrase ‘urban legend’…” –Oct. 28, 2002

I missed the press announcement of the introductionof the phrase "urban legend" into public blathering. Isay this because I am made aware of references to such a thing (Iwas tempted to say concept but I will wait on that) and the examplesthat fall under that heading don’t seem to have a connectionwith either "urban" or "legend." Unless, ofcourse, any kind of story or anecdote can be a legend. Or it mightbe our various cultural arbiters feel called upon to manufacturelegends, fables and myths for reasons known only to them? But thatis another story. In my experience the manufacturers of myth inour culture have, for the most part, been businesses and politicians.Some where along the line the myth of brand was created so thatfor many people, if you could remember the name Chevrolet or Marlboroor Coca Cola or Crest or Tide, that "brand" implied somestandard of high quality. If ever, no more. I walked into BlockbusterVideo the other evening—looking for cheap thrills. Just thethought of being in thrall to a corporation of that ilk that includesMicrosoft, America On Line, and McDonald’s chastened me, ponderingwhether commercial entities became large and successful by givingboth good value and good product. Perhaps such an ethos would qualifyas an urban legend? Back to aisles of Blockbuster—in my increasinglydesperate search for an interesting and distracting video (I almostwent for Apocalypse Now) I came across a VHS tape calledBig Bad Love. Directed by Arliss Howard with Howard and maritalpartner Debra Winger in significant roles along with Paul Le Matand Rosanna Arquette and Michael Parks and Angie Dickinson, thekicker here is that the movie is based on the great "workingclass southern writer" Larry Brown's stories from a collectionof the same name. Everything about this gem was on target; the acting,the direction, the sound and the sound track. This would be oneshining example of the high odds for coming up with something goodif you start out with something good…this is a terrific pieceof cinema that avoids turning into cliche the travails and torturesof the writing life. I guess I should be grateful for beneficenceof the Great American Bazaar that I was able to find such a wonder,at all.

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