Myths, lies and electricity

Unpublished letter to the Washington Post:

As an academically trained folklorist, I continue to cling to the hope that one day newspapers will update their style guides to effectively decouple the word “myth” from all things untrue. In oral and written traditions there are myths, legends, and outright lies. Robert McCartney’s 12/9 column on Pepco’s untruths clearly falls into the latter category. Folklorists define myths as narratives believed to be true, which may contain a grain of fact, but which deal with supernatural beings or events. There’s nothing supernatural in Pepco’s conduct and the company’s lack of reliability.

— David Rotenstein, Silver Spring.