Friday, June 27, 2008

Storytelling About Video Games

It has occurred to me lately that U.S. Culture has fragmented, and I find value in the notion of having a common one. In the eras before mass entertainment, cultures used folklore as one of the ways to pass its memes on.

Folklore tells us stories that help us define who we are as a people and teach us valuable lessons about life and our relationships to other people.

We find our folklore today in pop culture and mass media. They have such a large volume that everyone has to pick and choose what stories to experience, and so we each end up with a unique culture for every person rather than a solid common base.

Schools used to provide much of this through education in classic litersture and American folk tales, but a focus on multiculturalism (meaning every culture's stories but ours) has largely destroyed what cultural commonality we had.

This leaves us with pop culture, where the massive volume of material creates the fragmentation I referred to earlier.

I think that folk tale renditions of classic literature, plays, movies, television, books, comics, and yes, video games could help provide this common story database to define our American culture. Think of it as a kind of Cliff's Notes for American identity.

I've added to my (already over-long) to-do list making an attempt at composing and publishing under the Creative Commons license some such folk tales. Others are welcome to contribute, as long as they submit the material under CC or some other similarly non-restrictive license.

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