Popular culture has always incorporated mythological theories in a myriad of ways. This critical thinking essay will delve deep into mythology theory to comprehend how it has influenced the contemporary popular culture. There are popular trends in the world of show business that borrow heavily from ancient mythology from various civilizations ranging from the Greeks to the Roman Empire.
Contemporary culture is heavily influenced by mythological stories especially in the artistic form of music. There are numerous musicians and compositions in the world today that have been based on ancient myths (Barthes). These include popular songs like Led Zeppelin's Achilles Last Stand, Halls of Valhalla by Judas Priest, Flight of Icarus by Iron Maiden, and Aphrodite by Kylie Minogue among numerous others. These are songs that resonate with modern generations thanks to the influence of myths. Modern day world has also been influenced by mythological narratives in the world of movies and films. The clearest example is that of the Tristar Pictures logo that vividly depicts the flying Pegasus that commonly appears in Greek mythical stories as the winged horse. Hollywood is awash with films based on both Roman and Greek cultures. These include movies based on Amazons like 'Wonder Woman', the legend of Hercules, the Titans, Olympus, and Perseus, etc. Prometheus, Troy, and Homer are the other popular culture films that are based on mythology (Nardo). Mythology has also influenced the modern society into adopting the Atlases named after the Titan Atlas to serve as a reference guide to various locations around the globe. Atlas was the Titan of navigation and direction who held the universe on his shoulders (Reid). Popular culture has also used this image to depict the concept of bearing responsibility by carrying the world on one's shoulders.
Equally interesting to note is that the NBC media house has a logo that mimics a peacock that is found in mythology as a creation of Hera from Argus. The bird was believed to have one hundred eyes and the NBC channel have creatively used this to show their ability to see all that is taking place around them. Still on television entertainment, even programming has been influenced by ancient myths. This is evident from the various television shows and series that have been hived off mythological stories. Popular culture has enjoyed entertainment from shows like the Legend of Sinbad, the Odyssey, Gargoyles, Atlantis, Thor Loki among other numerous shows. The massive influence of mythological stories has been tapped by manufacturing entities to capture the popular culture frenzy that these myths create (Barthes). The popular car company Mercury, is named so after the Roman god of commerce and a trusted messenger. They fuse the concept of a god of commerce to show the selling power of their brand together with a fast mode of delivery messages and other things.
Mythological stories have influenced the contemporary popular culture in the radio entertainment scenery as can be confirmed by the dominance of the Pandora internet radio music. The station is branded after the popular mythology of the Pandora, who was the first woman that opened up a box to unleash all the evil beings in the universe although she left hope. The Trident gum is another item sold under the brand of a mythological story. Poseidon wielded a powerful three-pronged weapon referred to as the Trident, with the brand's marketing team doing a fantastic job in targeting popular culture fanatics into chewing their gum. Entertainment is at the center of optimizing on ancient myths to tap into the latest popular culture trends. A clear instance of this can be seen in the Leviathan roller coaster that is situated in Canada (Reid). It is a subtle reference to the mythological story of the large biblical serpent known for its mammoth size and insatiable appetite.
The Titanic is a name that resonates with most people in the contemporary generation of popular culture enthusiasts due to a record-breaking movie. This is because it was at one time the largest ship to ever sail the global oceans and was aptly named so after the mythological characters of Titans who were better known for their sheer strength and magnanimous stature. As earlier noted, Olympus was part of mythological stories that has films made in popular culture. A camera making company has taken advantage of this to brand its products under the name Olympus. The logic behind this is to mimic the Mount Olympus as a strong and high quality products. Equally captivating is the popular legend of Achilles that is well known around popular culture circles. Myth had it that Achilles' mother held him by the ankle to dip him in a river so as to immortalize him (Nardo). It turned out to be the ankle was to be Achilles' most vulnerable body part and is referred in medical terms as Achilles tendon.
As can be seen from the above talking points, there is no denying that mythical theory has found extensive application in the popular culture of the contemporary society. This influence has been felt in the movie, television, radio, and music industries. The mythological stories have also been used to brand company logos and products, not to mention the ready market of popular culture fans who are an ideal target demography for strategic marketers.
Barthes, R. (2012). Mythologies. New York: Hill and Wang.
Nardo, D. (2012). Greek mythology. Detroit: Lucent Books.
Reid, J. (2007). Mythological representation in popular culture today. Communicatio, 33:2, 80-98, doi: 10.1080/02500160701685425
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