Monday, March 25, 2013

I Love Sociology: "Urban Legends" Take Hold for a Reason

Lots of wailing, whining, and gnashing of teeth in response to "urban legends" swiftly emerging regarding Pope Francis. John L. Allen, Jr. debunks a few in a National Catholic Reporter piece, "Debunking three 'urban legends' about Pope Francis."

Some have been characterized as "crude" and "cruel," especially by fans of the previous papacy. I confess to have recounted one in a recent post. In my own defense, please note I cite "reports" and provide a link, thus allowing my readers to track down the provenance of the quote.

I semi-digress.

The point I really want to make is one about why urban legends take hold and spread like wildfire. From the comment I left at NCR:
"Urban legends take hold for valid sociological reasons: they're signifiers. The fact that each of these gained swift traction reveals just how disgruntled and dismayed people have been with the previous papacy. I wish those who are so so outraged would think more meta-macro about what the popularity of these urban legends might say about what people are thinking and feeling."
Not the first time, nor the last I'll be wishing silently or out loud that people would think more sociologically, especially about current events.