Summary of: How Urban Myths Reveal Society’s Fears
By Neal Gabler
Urban Legends; secondhand stories about something horrific, iconic, or even magical, that are told to us in a way that makes them very believable, even though the contents of the stories may not truly be backed with any tangible proof. Urban legends tend to capture our imaginations. In his essay, which was first published in the Los Angeles Times in 1995, Neal Gabler presents the question as to “why are we so willing to believe the strange and even bizarre tales that come to us?”(1) While reading his piece, you will find that Gabler answers this question along with other inquiries that surround urban legends.
Right off the bat, Gabler tells a story about a rather unusual wedding reception. It starts out like any other; the groom stands up at the head of the table and hushes the crowd, while all of the guests prepare for what they believe to a typical toast to his bride and a “thank you” to all of them for helping to celebrate the memorable day. However, to everyone’s disbelief, he announces that there has been a change of plans and that he and his bride will be taking separate honeymoons, explaining that the wedding will be annulled as soon as they both return home. The groom then goes on to clarify that the reason for the annulment was taped to the bottom of everyone’s plate; a photo of the bride sleeping with the best man.
Apparently this story was making its way “up and down the Eastern seaboard, and as far west as Chicago” (2). The question that begs to be asked is “did this really happen”? It’s hard to know for sure because the actual origin of the story was unknown. There were reporters and civilians alike from all different locations claiming that the bizarre event took place in their hometown.
In short, Gabler says that “the whole thing appears to be another myth, one of those weird tales that periodically catch the public imagination” (2). He goes on to compare this story to...
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