“My daughter took a picture with her!”: Negotiating Legends When Facts Point to Falsehoods

Lynne S. McNeill (Utah State University)

The rhetorical power of first-hand experience in legendary narratives can serve to make legends exceptionally persuasive, as seen in the recent deployment, mainly by conservative politicians, of the highly ecotypified legend that high schools are starting to offer litter boxes to students who identify as cats. In Logan, Utah’s version of the legend, the presence of a self-identified furry at a local high school has served to heighten the impact of the legend and blur the lines between fact and fiction. This paper considers this case study as a way to better understand—and eventually mediate—the way that legends impact communities.

Part of 02-10 Folklore and Governmental Rhetorics , Thursday, November 02, 10:30 am–12:30 pm