Posted by Ed
In a review for The Village Voice, J. Hoberman declares that Kill Bill, Volume Two "is full of flashbacks and fakelore, kung-fu catfights and tacky rear-screen projection, not to mention the sort of pranks that would have had a '70s 42nd Street audience bellowing expletives in delight." One of these days--perhaps even this afternoon--I'll describe my own reaction to Quentin Tarantino's latest film, but for now, I wanted to comment on Hoberman's use of the term fakelore, which I'm now officially designating as the cool word of the day.
I first came across the word fakelore three years ago, when I read Frank Miller's fascinating book Folklore for Stalin. Miller describes how Soviet writers of the Stalin era built on the style and form of traditional works like the epic poem and the ritual lament to write works that resembled folklore, and were presented to the public as the genuine product of the people, but that were really manifestations of the Stalinist cult of the individual; he termed these cultural products "pseudofolklore" or "fakelore." A paper I just found online, "Fakelore, Multiculturalism, and the Ethics of Children's Literature," uses a similar definition of the term:
Folklorists have been complaining for generations about what Dorson (1950; 1976) bluntly called "fakelore": the representation of materials written by professional authors as reproductions of the oral traditions of historical and ethnic communities. Some fakelore is total fabrication, utterly unconnected to any actual folklore source-the Paul Bunyan stories found in schoolbooks were never told by lumberjacks, Pecos Bill was not a cowboy hero, and all those cutesy "Indian" origin legends were created by nineteenth and twentieth-century romantics. Other fakelore caters loose adaptations to contemporary literary and moral fashions, "processed folk" as I like to call it (Singer 1988). In either case, the published material, however much it claims ancestry in a particular "folk" community, is written to appeal to the tastes and desires of publishers, promoters, and readers, instead of to reflect the narrative and intellectual sensibilities of real "folk."
Whatever it means, fakelore is a cool word. I'm curious if other people are familiar with its use in a non-academic setting.Posted by Ed at April 19, 2004 01:19 PM