Jeffrey A. Tolbert is assistant professor of American Studies at Penn State Harrisburg. His research focuses on supernatural belief, and his dissertation examines belief and the landscape in contemporary Ireland. His broader research interests include folklore and popular culture, especially video games, and supernatural traditions in new/digital media, such as the Slender Man Internet phenomenon.
One of my favorite teaching experiences involved loading a horror-themed video game on the classroom PC, turning out the lights, and inviting students to play on the big projector screen.
Reframing Folklore in a Popular Culture World
There is no denying that children’s folklore bears the stamp of commercial culture, but kids are always ready to adapt and satirize popular advertisements. A significant number of children’s parodies of commercials involve the ingestion of a well-branded product and address the implied dangers of voracious consumption.