It has been over a half-century since the French cultural critic Roland Barthes defined myth in the contemporary world as “a type of speech,” or more precisely, as “speech stolen and restored” elsewhere. Departing from both the anthropological definition of the genre as a type of ancient narrative and the popular one as a baseless story, Barthes turned to semiology and demonstrated in his landmark, “Myth Today” (Mythologies [1957]), that modern myth is in fact a type of displaced “speech.” Using this germinal definition, Barthes turned to everyday communicative events to demonstrate his new approach. From the proletarian world of Parisian wrestling to Greta Garbo’s face, Barthes used his sweeping new theory to deconstruct and reveal the deeper and more elusive significance of such public forms of discourse. But no one followed in Barthes’ footsteps-at least not with respect to myth as a properly defined, discrete category of culture. This book is an attempt to expand the niche Barthes carved out for myth, applying his semiological method to a selection from the mythology of America.1