URBAN LEGENDS by Don L. F. Nilsen and Alleen Pace Nilsen Urban Legends, like Hip Hop and Rap Exhibit many features of Literature: They are dramatic, and play on such emotions as fear or embarrassment.
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by Don L. F. Nilsen
and Alleen Pace Nilsen
They are dramatic, and play on such emotions as fear or embarrassment.
They are filled with such rhetorical devices as Hyperbole (overstatement), Antithesis, Symbolism, Irony, and especially Poetic Justice.
They appear credible, because they are grounded in reality, and because they explain mysterious phenomena.
They are also based on stereotypes and archetypes we see around us every day.
They get our attention, because they are gross and sexual and scatalogogical and Titillating.
And they are documented, because they always happened to a Friend of a Friend. They are therefore called FOAF tales.
When Willie Sutton was asked why he robbed banks, he replied: “Because that’s where the money is”
Mary Baker Eddy was buried with a telephone so she could talk to the other side
John Dillinger’s member is at the Smithsonian Institution
Humphrey Bogart posed for Gerber baby picture
Tobacco Companies own large marijuana plantations in South America
There are ground worms in McDonald’s hamburgers
Pop Rocks have exploded inside children’s stomachs
Cigarette filters are made of ground glass
Some Girl Scout cookies are laced with hashish
Procter and Gambel advertisers are Devil worshipers
and that Some Kentucky Fried Chicken is actually People’s Fingers
and that one of the ingredients of Coca Cola is cocaine.
But the one about the Kentucky Fried Finger actually happened, but it was at Wendy’s and it was a customer’s finger.
and it’s also true that one of the ingredients of Coca Cola used to be cocaine.
Brunvand, Jan Harold. The Choking Doberman and Other “New” Urban Legends. New York, NY: W. W. Norton, 1984.
Brunvand, Jan Harold. The Vanishing Hitchhiker: American Urban Legends and Their Meaning. New York, NY: W. W. Norton, 1981.
Dickson, Paul, and Joseph Golden. There Are Alligators in Our Sewers and Other American Credos. New York, NY: Delacorte, 1983.
Eschholz, Paul, Alfred Rosa, and Virginia Clark. Language Awareness: Readings for College Writers, 10th Edition. New York, NY: Bedford/St. Martins, 2009.
Mey, Jacob. Pragmatics: An Introduction, 2nd Edition. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2001.
Nilsen, Alleen Pace, and Don L. F. Nilsen. Encyclopedia of 20th Century American Humor. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 2000.