Prosperina: A Mythology of the Modern World Holiday Special

This entry is part 18 of 26 in the series Mythology of the Modern World

We have returned, with a special myth. It’s also a long one, to warn — though I don’t think people will complain. Unless, of course, they do. People find the time to complain, sometimes.

This is a holiday special, though the holiday in question is somewhat vague. I don’t think we can call it Christmas, or Yule, or even Agnostica. I think it’s just ‘winter,’ since this is after all a myth about winter. This is a special, in part, because it steps away from the normal mission of these our myths of the modern world.

This is, in short, a recognizable myth to a lot of you. A myth of the ancient world. But I like to think that the retelling makes it a bit modern in other ways. And if it’s recognizable, I also like to think there are ways that it isn’t.

It concerns the changing of the seasons. Which sometimes means the changing of autumn to winter. And sometimes means changes of another kind entirely. It’s called Prosperina.

I hope you like it.

And yes, this should mean we’re back. Thank you for your patience, all.

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Why are there Suburbs?

This entry is part 16 of 26 in the series Mythology of the Modern World

And good morning… to you.

Today’s myth comes to us from “zeruslord” (who, I am given to understand, is Lord of Zerus, and there is no doubt one does not want to be on the bad side of the Lord of Zerus, so you’ll understand if I answer the request, I trust. Mythologists have to err on the side of caution where Locii are involved). And zeruslord asks:

why do humans have cities and suburbs? I’m mostly talking about the outermost suburbs, like how all of New Jersey is a suburb of New York, and people are commuting from Front Royal into DC, and Los Angeles exists at all. Why are people willing to drive for hours to get to their job? why don’t the jobs move out faster?

It is a good question, really. After all, cities were meant to centralize humanity, giving them greater access to work, goods and services. So, why would men, women and families intentionally go farther afield, sacrificing convenience and adding hours to their workday in the form of “the commute?” Why would they restrict their potential mass transit options to what is in their suburb (or to their car), despite the price of gasoline and maintenance and the environmental impact and all the rest? What, in the end, is the deal?

Well, you probably shouldn’t be surprised to learn it’s all thanks to a jurisdictional dispute. So let’s leap right into it, shall we?

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Manannán mac Lir and the Isle of Ninjas.

This entry is part 14 of 26 in the series Mythology of the Modern World

As you know, I didn’t write a myth last week. It was that sort of a week. The sort where you work, oh, fifteen days in a row, mostly longer than eight hours in a given day, and feel the burn of exhaustion. But it seems people liked the retelling of the Viscountess, which is always nice to hear.

Still, that’s a question we’re missing in the lexicon, so it makes some sense that this week we would in fact answer two questions. And as it turns out, there are three — count them three — questions that directly correlate to one another.

The first of these questions comes from Filipe Cadete, who asks us:

Pigeons. How come those flying disease vectors and overall polluters are fed by thousands of people all over the world?

The answer, of course, is “ninjas.”

But that leads us to a question by long time reader, friend, and Superguy-gadabout-town LurkerWithout, who asks us:

Ninjas. Why the hell them and not one of the other pseudo-religious/mystic cults of killers?

And the answer to that is, as you can imagine, is “Manannán mac Lir,” sea god and psychopomp of Manx mythology.

Oh, this surprises you?

Well, we’ll elaborate on all of this soon enough. Because we still have a third question that was asked, in direct response to LurkerWithout, this time by Joel Wilcox:

In addition to Lurker’s comment: Why pirates vs. ninjas?

See, now we’re getting into details and that means that really, we should just be starting the myth already and not being all stressed out about the whys and wherefores. And that brings us, inexorably, to:

Manannán mac Lir and the Isle of Ninjas.

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Dog Reincarnation

This entry is part 12 of 26 in the series Mythology of the Modern World

It’s Monday and therefore the Myth. And the Myth is a thing that comes with a Monday.

This week, we get our Myth from long time friend of the writing Kirabug, who asks us:

Why does every small (15lb or less) dog I meet seem to think she’s 150lbs?

Now, interestingly enough, there is a specific answer to the specific question that Kirabug’s asking. That answer is, of course, that Kirabug is to dogs as mushrooms are to Mario. When a dog gets near her, it immediately grows 10 times its size — at least emotionally. So, if I’ve managed to make Kirabug subconsciously hear the theme music to Super Mario Bros. as she walks down the street from now on, I will consider myself a success in life.

But there is a much more general principle at work here. I mean, for such expansive thoughts to be triggered by Kirabug walking by, there is clearly a universal element at work. And we have all seen examples of tiny dogs acting like they’re huge. And for that matter, huge dogs thinking they’re tiny. The animals clearly don’t have a coherent body image, and while it’s easy to think that stems from their brains being far less developed than human brains and therefore incapable of really good complex thought, as it turns out that’s only part of the story. The rest of the story really rests on the story… of Dog Reincarnation.

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Why do some people stay on the train past the end of the line?

This entry is part 8 of 26 in the series Mythology of the Modern World

Monday as always is Mythology day, and it’s that time once again. (And who expected we’d still be keeping this up all these weeks later?)

Today’s myth offering answers a question posed by a fellow called CrazyDave. And you know, I’m not about to mess with him. Guy’s crazy. I was going to go with a different myth this time out, but then he posted this to the last open forum and it just hit me right between the eyes. He writes:

Who are those people who don’t get off when a train reaches the end of the line? (Happens all the time on the Central Line to Ealing Broadway).

As it turns out, there’s a good answer to that, though I rephrased the question just slightly. I’m like that. So, the question is: why do some people stay on the train past the end of the line?

The answer? Follows. Because I am going to tell you.

I kind of like this one. It goes all the way back to story, with actually fewer digressions than normal. Let me know what you think.

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