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Saturday, April 20, 2024

We live in a world full of myths. Never mind the tales of a big, green, gamma-radiated “Avenger” who, for some reason, seems to break through every article of clothing except his shorts, or the tales of a “hell week” that drain all happiness and restfulness from students as they descend in a Walking Dead-like fashion upon their neighborhood libraries and Starbucks, indiscriminately feasting on raw study guides and fresh coffee.

No, we want to get down to the nitty-gritty of the real issues facing our society, unfiltered by widely accepted or unchallenged falsehoods. And for our fifth and last installment of “Myths Un-Mythed” this semester, we thought we’d showcase an issue inherent to this very series: reality. Where do we draw the line separating imagination and myths from reality, and what does the resultant distinction suggest?

Our opinions editor has been using this notion of myths once a week without, first, confidently establishing what myths are. And as a result, we’ve been getting some pretty impassioned emails and voicemails from fairy unions and Inhuman Resources — damn it, David. You had one job. Time to rectify this poor boy’s mistakes.

Is Harry Potter real? Most would argue no. He lacks a tangible form and serves no “practical” function in day-to-day life. But we at the Alligator disagree. Reality is a tough thing to pin down because of how it differs among individual outlooks. While you may have grown up on the Red Hot Chili Peppers (a fine choice, by the way), your companion might proclaim to “just really not be much into music.”

For you, music is life, love, beauty and energy. But for your companion, it’s just white noise in the car on the way to Costco. Reality matters, but perceptions of that reality matter even more, sociologically speaking.  

Think about it: Everything in this world may be real, but the items in your own life — your family, friends, Amazon gift cards — are more real because they matter more to you. Even prominent figures like former Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush are technically real, but they remain nearly forgotten in the dustbins of antiquated history, begging for spare claps.

Meanwhile, the recent “Star Wars” installment — a supposed fantasy — united millions upon millions of people from across the world in shared excitement and joy. The same goes for the other myths we’ve cheekily referenced in this “Myths” series: the tooth fairy, Pinocchio, Batman and such. Given the degree of breath and life these characters and movie franchises give us, are they not in a way more real than us all? Surely, they at least matter more than our opinions editor.

It’s the things that resonate with us that feel most real. It doesn’t matter that Ron Swanson is technically fictional. His influence on modern manhood and impact on the moustached community remains unchallenged. And it doesn’t matter that Santa Claus might be — actually, no: He’s real. But if he were fictional, it wouldn’t matter because the spirit of joy and selflessness he embodies, the “Christmas spirit,” is as real as can be.

At this point, you may be thinking “Am I real?” Well, have no fear. We’ve Un-Mythed the notion that this even matters. Go out there and be who you want to be, superstar. Just don’t beg for claps — that’s how you lose the magic.

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