History and pop culture
Is it okay to make a God into a cartoon, a superhero, and change history just because it's another people's mythology and history?
|Front cover of a 19th century Icelandic version of the Edda|
We have runestones, and the "Edda" written in the 13th century, depicting old Scandinavian beliefs. In some parts of Scandinavia, the old Gods lived just fine up until the 19th century. Some of the mythology and original stories has been distorted or lost during the years, of course, but much still remains.
When I was a little girl in Sweden, we studied all world religions in school, and our own historical beliefs was among them. My mom told me lightning came from Tor throwing his hammer Mjölner across the skies. While a part of me is very aware of the scientific explanation, another part also believes in Tor creating thunder, because I heard it so many times growing up.
Back home, things are somewhat different than in America. In my home town, we have a mine that's a thousand years old. We have the oldest corporation in the world; when I was a little girl, they celebrated 700 years and the entire city was there. My best friend back home used to live in a house from the 17th century. Mine was pretty new, it was built in 1903. Every little city has a coat of arms, and history is very much alive.
|Popular depiction of Mjölner|
We might not actively worship the old Gods today, but they're around. We have jewelry with Mjölner, and it has become a symbol for pride in one's history and national heritage. (A little too much so at times, but that's a story for another day.) We still celebrate many old pagan holidays and traditions. Best case scenario, they've merged with modern religions and modern ways, but they're still there, just under the surface.
I wrote on Twitter the other day, "Just for the record, Loki was never Thor's brother." The response was fascinating; people wrote back, "Of course not, he's adopted." In Stan Lee's version of reality, sure, but traditionally, Loke is part giant, and Oden's friend. He's considered something of a blood brother to Oden, until he betrays Asgård and is exiled. Loke is considered very beautiful, and able to shift his form.
I am ambiguous. Pop culture brings awareness to something that might otherwise be forgotten in large parts of the world. Thor is cool. I mean, both the character and the actor are awesome. Many might say, "So what" in response to my complaint that pop culture distorts tradition and history. Am I'm overreacting to the past being Hollywoodized and Americanized? I'd love to hear what you think.
|I didn't even know someone made Thor into a cartoon until I moved to the US. To me, it's very weird.|