Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Mythology, tall-tales, and cryptozoology, and why I love them.

I love them. I really do. I've been (voluntarily) reading about mythology and tall-tales since before I can remember. It has to do with the same reason that I love theatre and Harry Potter: Suspension of disbelief. I have a very long suspension of disbelief. I will believe just about anything, provided my bull-shit detector doesn't go off... I do have a very sensitive bullshit detector.

What's the difference between mythology and bullshit? Well ... one involves imagination, the other lying for one's own gain. There's a generosity to myth and tall-tales and make believe animals ... the creation of myth was to teach people about the world around them, and about the consequences of decisions; tall-tales were used as a source of entertainment, and as a by-product, created a sense of amazement and wonder at the possibilities of our own humanity; cryptozoology is just fun. Period.Within the structure if a myth, is an entire world - a cast of characters with on-going stories. Myths were the first soap-operas, really (except that in myths, the characters usually teach us something about the world, or about ourselves. function. it's amazing!)... characters who happen to be Gods or immortals with great power, and either the upholding, or the destruction of great responsibility (Spiderman - modern day mythological God!).

The other thing I love about myths, et. al., is that they're all different depending on where in the world you are! Different characters, different independent worlds, different gods and monsters...colloquially! (okay, I really just wanted a chance to use a form of colloquial)

A friend of mine's, who shall here be referred to as Shell, daughter is getting married next month, and they told me that the theme of their wedding is a jackalope. I was a little confused how a jackalope could be a theme, but then I saw some of the wedding art (postcards, invitations, etc) and my quandary was answered. Go here to have your quandaries answered.

Anyway, Shell wondered if anyone would get the theme besides her, and my response was, "Are you kidding me?! I totally know what a jackalope is! Any self-respecting Westerner knows what a jackalope is!" And then I started to wonder ... DOES every self-respecting Westerner know what a Jackalope is? So I did what any self-respecting Polar Bear Pirate would do ... I took a poll. On my facebook. Hey, I have 483 friends ... we could start a decent-sized town in Wyoming! Let's poll, baby!

Here are the results from impartial, oh-so-scientific facebook poll:
Eastern region (New England/Eastern Seaboard):
New York: 1 (yes)

Middle Regions (MidWest/Plains/Appalachia):
Indiana: 1 (yes)
Ohio: 1 (yes)
Iowa/Wyoming: 1 (yes)

NorthWestern region (rainy, Northern states/provinces):
Alberta: 3 (yes)
Washington: 1 (yes)
Oregon: 3 (yes)

SouthWestern region (Desert states):
Texas - 2 (yes)
Arizona - 1 (yes)
California - 4 (2 no's and 2 yes')

17 total responses
15 yes
2 no

Apparently, there is no conclusive evidence that regions effect an individuals knowledge of the Jackalope. Way to go Californians. I did actually have more responses, but three of them had to be rejected due to improper and unclear answers...Lame-o's.

Further reading for the Jackalope here. (I know, I'm *SO* scientific)

I think I may have to make this scientific Polar Bear Pirate Poll a regular thing.

For the record, my favorite cryptozoological animal is the Yeti. A very distant, distant relation to the Polar Bear. Or something. Word.

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