For Enquiring Minds

Voice Card  -  Volume 27  -  Larry Card Number 2  -  Sat, Jan 23, 1993 10:19 PM

I read a review of a book entitled "For Enquiring Minds: A Cultural Study of Supermarket Tabloid" by Elizabeth Bird. In this book, Bird reports her research on America's fascination with supermarket tabloids like the National Enquirer and Star.

Although her primary focus appears to be in describing just who it is that reads these things, she includes a comparison of tabloids with folk stories and fairy tales that I found quite interesting. She states that tabloids focus on a number of issues that are common to both folklore and tabloids, including:

  1. Folk medicines like garlic and vinegar curing everything;
  2. Legends about creatures like Big Foot and the Loch Ness monster;
  3. Psychic beliefs;
  4. Recycling of ancient themes, including the dead mythic hero making a comeback. She cites notables like Elvis, Hitler, and James Dean who "refuse to die;"
  5. Celebrity stories which do the same thing as old folk stories and fairy tales do - provide you with a fantasy life and introduce you to the lives of the rich and famous.
Sounds like it could be interesting reading.