Finalist for the 1996
Lambda Literary Award
128 pages, 35 black-and-white illustrations
"Pop culture has many theoreticians, but very few true explorers, and none of them can match the delicious taste and delicate, thrill-seeking instincts of Bernard Welt. With his graceful, roaming, bemused, brilliantly attenuated prose style, and his wild, generous intelligence, anything he puts his mind to becomes a thing of awe."
Dennis Cooper, author of Closer and Frisk
Bernard Welt writes with a rare combination of biting humor and grave urgency, as he addresses popular art in America during the past decade. His seventeen essays range over a wide variety of personalities and entertainments, including Michael Jackson, Star Trek, The Simpsons, Pee-wee Herman, Steven Spielberg, Sesame Street, the Friday the 13th films, television game shows, Aladdin, Dr. Seuss's books, and more. Throughout, Welt analyzes violence on television; the complex role of childhood in our national consciousness; and the ubiquitous presence of homosexuality in American popular artfrom drag queens and gays in the military to the straight porn industry. With an independent voice free of cynicism, Welt maintains a healthy disdain for the criticisms often leveled at popular art by academics and the high-art world, while he provides an intellectual defense for the significance of popular art to our understanding of who we are and what inventive cultural work can do. Mythomania concludes with a reprint of the classic text "The Dark Side of Disneyland" by the poet Donald Britton, in which the author argues for Disneyland as a monumental work of art memorializing dead children.