Thursday, November 09, 2017

About myth

Am proceeding crisply through Laurent Binet’s excellent  The 7th Function of Language, which starts off with the death of Roland Barthes and then turns into The Da Vinci Code for people who can read without moving their lips: he describes Barthes’s most famous book as being about “the contemporary myths erected by the middle classes to their own glory.”

I think what often gets lost in discussion of RB is that he wasn’t celebrating the elevation of such phenomena as steak-frites or wrestling to mythological status; he’s (at least trying to be) an iconoclast. But his tactics have been recuperated into a sort of wistful pop culture nostalgia; and Binet’s book, in a way, makes a dangerously entertaining myth of Barthes himself.

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