For this first issue in our TINY MODERN MYTHs series we present several texts on disparate topics, that together we think, give a fuzzy sense of our current historical moment.
These are topics as diverse as: phone-swiping as a form of ecological adaptation ("The Swipe and Shuffle"); "Back to Basics" consumer movements; a reflection on faceprint and the history of film ("Faces"); as well as two pieces, one multimodal, the other text-dominant, about our current mythical relations to fossil fuels ("Oil is the Devil's Excrement" and "Global Warming within the Canadian Consciousness" respectively). These are objects, events, relations, ways of being, ways of talking, that have that distinctive taken-for-granted quality that Bathes spoke about back in the 1950's.
For Roland Barthes, Myth is a secondary semiotic system, that functions through a process of connotation. The myth occupies the body of a simpler denotative sign, and turns it into another signifier. This is why according to Barthes, Myth when partnered with mass consumer culture can often be insidious; it occupies the face of the sign and distorts its meaning. Unlike Marxian notions of false consciousness, the mythical sign does not hide anything, it merely alienates the history of the sign, hence its masquerading as "natural".
Our focus in these article's of course is not on Barthe's own changing theory of signs, but rather on locating and making visible some of those undoubtedly 'modern' myths as they live and breath through the year 2017. Each generation has it's own responsibility and commitment to bring their own attention and awareness to those hidden histories of signification that conceal an uncertain and fuzzy future.
These 5 texts form a collective and composite sign, that together say more than each can say on their own. The 'tiny' side of these submissions is crucial, for it precisely for their incompleteness --- for their essential vagueness and under-determination --- that signs leave part of their meaning for a future or possible interpreter.
Consider pairing your TMM with an equally tiny 'vineleaf' from our recent collection of vignette literature 'generals and particulars'; the fictional companion to this series.