Fakelore

Fakelore

Fakelore is inauthentic, manufactured folklore presented as if it were genuinely traditional. The term can refer to new stories or songs made up out of whole cloth, or to folklore that is reworked and modified for modern tastes. The element of misrepresentation is central; artists who draw on traditional stories in their work are not producing fakelore unless they claim that their creations are real folklore.cite book | last = Dorson | first = Richard M. | title = American Folklore | publisher = University of Chicago Press | date = 1977 | location = Chicago | pages = 4 | id = ISBN 0-226-15859-4 ] The term fakelore was coined in 1950 by American folklorist Richard M. Dorson. Dorson's examples included the fictional cowboy Pecos Bill, who was presented as a folk hero of the American West but was actually invented by the writer Edward J. O'Reilly in 1923. Dorson also regarded Paul Bunyan as fakelore. Although Bunyan originated as a character in traditional tales told by loggers in the Great Lakes region of North America, James Stevens, an ad writer working for the Red River Lumber Company, invented many of the stories about him that are known today. According to Dorson, advertisers and popularizers turned Bunyan into a "pseudo folk hero of twentieth-century mass culture" who bears little resemblance to the original.Dorson (1977), 214-226.]

"Folklorismus", often Anglicized to folklorism, also refers to the invention or adaptation of folklore. Unlike fakelore, however, folklorism is not necessarily misleading; it includes any use of a tradition outside the cultural context in which it was created. The term was first used in the early 1960s by German scholars, who were primarily interested in the use of folklore by the tourism industry. However, professional art based on folklore, TV commercials with fairy tale characters, and even academic studies of folklore are all forms of folklorism.cite journal | last = Newall | first = Venetia J. | title = The Adaptation of Folklore and Tradition (Folklorismus) | journal = Folklore | volume = 98 | issue = 2 | pages = 131–151 | publisher = | date = 1987 | url = http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0015-587X%281987%2998%3A2%3C131%3ATAOFAT%3E2.0.CO%3B2-D ] cite journal | last = Kendirbaeva | first = Gulnar | authorlink = | coauthors = | title = Folklore and Folklorism in Kazakhstan | journal = Asian Folklore Studies | volume = 53 | issue = 1 | pages = 97–123 | publisher = | date = 1994 | url = http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0385-2342%281994%2953%3A1%3C97%3AFAFIK%3E2.0.CO%3B2-T| doi = 10.2307/1178561 ]

Controversy

The term fakelore is often used by those who seek to expose or debunk it, including Dorson himself, who spoke of a "battle against fakelore". [cite journal | last = Dorson | first = Richard M. | title = Is Folklore a Discipline? | journal = Folklore | volume = 84 | issue = 3 | pages = 201 | date = 1973 | url = http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0015-587X%28197323%2984%3A3%3C177%3AIFAD%3E2.0.CO%3B2-5 ] Dorson complained that popularizers had sentimentalized folklore, stereotyping the people who created it as quaint and whimsical — whereas the real thing was often "repetitive, clumsy, meaningless and obscene". [cite journal | last = Dorson | first = Richard M. | title = Current Folklore Theories | journal = Current Anthropology | volume = 4 | issue = 1 | pages = 101 | date = 1963 | url = http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0011-3204%28196302%294%3A1%3C93%3ACFT%3E2.0.CO%3B2-U] He contrasted the genuine Paul Bunyan tales, which had been so full of technical logging terms that outsiders would find parts of them difficult to understand, with the commercialized versions, which sounded more like children's books. The original Paul Bunyan had been shrewd and sometimes ignoble; one story told how he cheated his men out of their pay. Mass culture provided a sanitized Bunyan with a "spirit of gargantuan whimsy [that] reflects no actual mood of lumberjacks". Daniel G. Hoffman said that Bunyan, a folk hero, had been turned into a mouthpiece for capitalists: "This is an example of the way in which a traditional symbol has been used to manipulate the minds of people who had nothing to do with its creation." [cite journal | last = Ball | first = John | coauthors = George Herzog, Thelma James, Louis C. Jones, Melville J. Herskovits, Wm. Hugh Jansen, Richard M. Dorson, Alvin W. Wolfe, Daniel G. Hoffman | title = Discussion from the Floor | journal = Journal of American Folklore | volume = 72 | issue = 285 | pages = 239 | date = 1959 | url = http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0021-8715(195907%2F09)72%3A285%3C233%3ADFTF%3E2.0.CO%3B2-6 ]

Others have argued that professionally created art and folklore are constantly influencing each other, and that this mutual influence should be studied rather than condemned. [cite journal | last = Olson | first = Jon | title = Film Reviews | journal = Western Folklore | volume = 35 | issue = 3 | pages = 236 | publisher = | date = 1976 | url = http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0043-373X%28197607%2935%3A3%3C233%3ATLOPB%3E2.0.CO%3B2-%23 According to Newall, 133, the German folklorist Hermann Bausinger expressed a similar view.] For example, Jon Olson, a professor of anthropology, reported that while growing up he heard Paul Bunyan stories that had originated as lumber company advertising.Olson, 235.] Dorson had seen the effect of print sources on orally transmitted Paul Bunyan stories as a form of cross-contamination that "hopelessly muddied the lore". For Olson, however, "the point is that I personally was exposed to Paul Bunyan in the genre of a living oral tradition, not of lumberjacks (of which there are precious few remaining), but of the present people of the area." What was fakelore had become folklore again.

Examples of fakelore

Ukrainian fakeloric music and literature

During the 19th century there was a considerable amount of fakeloric poetry and music produced by the circle of Tomasz Padura (or Padurra), a Ukrainian nationalist poet of Polish descent. Padura collaborated with Rzewucki, Komarnicki and others on a large number of original songs (usually with torban accompaniment) in more or less genuine folk style, but with lyrics designed to further their nationalist agenda. Some of these songs were later disseminated in the countryside, and several became a part of genuine folk tradition.

During the Soviet Era there was a concerted effort to substitute genuine folklore that was often nationalistic and religious with manufactured fakelore that was designed to reflect upbeat "proletarian progressiveness", at the expense of the genuine material that was seen as morose. Many talented writers and musicians were employed in these efforts, and their products were often of considerable artistic quality, the agenda notwithstanding.

American folk heroes

In addition to Paul Bunyan and Pecos Bill, Dorson identified the American folk hero Joe Magarac as fakelore. Magarac, a fictional steelworker, first appeared in 1931 in a "Scribner's Magazine" story by the writer Owen Francis. He was a literal man of steel who made rails from molten metal with his bare hands; he refused an opportunity to marry in order to devote himself to working 24 hours a day, worked so hard that the mill had to shut down, and finally, in despair at enforced idleness, melted himself down in the mill's furnace in order to improve the quality of the steel. Francis said he heard this story from immigrant steelworkers in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; he reported that they told him the word "magarac" was a compliment, then laughed and talked to each other in their own language, which he did not speak. The word actually means "jackass" in Serbo-Croatian. Since no trace of the existence of Joe Magarac stories prior to 1931 has been discovered, Francis's informants may have made the character up as joke on him. Even if Joe Magarac stories did exist in some form, they probably did not closely resemble Francis's story, told in a contrived imitation of "Hunkie" dialect, of a heroic worker who sacrifices everything for the mill. Magarac, portrayed as a hero, was a better fit for the agenda of U.S. Steel, who used the character in corporate publications starting in the 1940s; in their version, he was called Magarac because he worked hard, like a mule. When the decline of the steel industry brought unemployment to steel towns, however, Magarac's despair at being out of work gained new relevance. In 1998, Gilley and Burnett reported "only tentative signs that the Magarac story has truly made a substantive transformation from 'fake-' into 'folklore'", but noted his importance as a local cultural icon. [cite journal | last = Gilley | first = Jennifer | coauthors = Stephen Burnett | title = Deconstructing and Reconstructing Pittsburgh's Man of Steel: Reading Joe Magarac against the Context of the 20th-Century Steel Industry | journal = The Journal of American Folklore | volume = 111 | issue = 442 | pages = 392–408 | date = 1998 | url = http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0021-8715%28199823%29111%3A442%3C392%3ADARPMO%3E2.0.CO%3B2-%23 | month = Nov | year = 1998 | doi = 10.2307/541047 ]

Other American folk heroes that have been called fakelore include Old Stormalong, Febold Feboldson, Daddy Joe, Daddy Mention, Big Mose, Tony Beaver, Bowleg Bill, Whiskey Jack, Annie Christmas, and Antoine Barada. Marshall Fishwick describes these largely literary figures as imitations of Paul Bunyan. [cite journal | last = Fishwick | first = Marshall W. | title = Sons of Paul: Folklore or Fakelore? | journal = Western Folklore | volume = 18 | issue = 4 | pages = 277–286 | date = 1959 | url = http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0043-373X%28195910%2918%3A4%3C277%3ASOPFOF%3E2.0.CO%3B2-K | doi = 10.2307/1497745]

Other examples of fakelore in American culture include Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, invented by Robert L. May as an advertising vehicle for Montgomery Ward, and the Walt Disney World Christmas Day Parade, perhaps one of the most blatant, which is ostensibly a Santa Claus parade but in fact is little more than a massive two-hour advertisement for The Walt Disney Company products, musicians and shows, aired on Disney-owned ABC.

ee also

*Astroturfing
*Folk etymology
*Urban Legend
*Hoax

References


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  • Fakelore — ist ein Kofferwort aus Fake und Folklore, das der nordamerikanische Folklorist Richard M. Dorson im Jahre 1950 in seinem Artikel Folklore and Fakelore prägte, um authentische mündliche Überlieferung von gezielt fabrizierten Erzeugnissen… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Fakelore — Le fakelore, « tradition fausse » ou « folklorisme littéraire », est un folklore non authentique et fabriqué présenté par le mythographe ou dans la contrefaçon comme issue de la tradition. Le terme peut se référer à une… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • fakelore —    The idea of fakelore came to the fore in the 1960s when academic folklorists, primarily in America, began to take note of occasions where traditions were being invented or appropriated either for direct commercial gain (e.g. the rise of… …   A Dictionary of English folklore

  • fakelore — noun Manufactured folklore presented as if it were genuinely traditional …   Wiktionary

  • fakelore — ˈ ̷ ̷ ˌ ̷ ̷ noun Etymology: blend of fake (V) and folklore : imitation folklore (as tales or songs) created to pass as genuinely traditional …   Useful english dictionary

  • Fauklore — Fakelore Le fakelore, « tradition fausse » ou « folklorisme littéraire », est un folklore non authentique et fabriqué présenté par le mythographe ou dans la contrefaçon comme issue de la tradition. Le terme peut se référer à… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Richard Dorson — Richard Mercer Dorson (1916–1981) was an American folklorist, author, professor, and director of the Folklore Institute at Indiana University. Dorson was born in New York City. He studied at the Phillips Exeter Academy from 1929 to 1933.[1] He… …   Wikipedia

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  • Richard Dorson — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Richard Mercer Dorson (1916 1981) fue un folclorista estadounidense, director del Instituto de Folclore de la Universidad de Indiana. Dorson se doctoró en Historia en Harvard en 1942. Dio clases en la Universidad del …   Wikipedia Español

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