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Hard Times today: popular culture and the austerity myth“Where are the red-eyed dreamers and clenched fist fighters? Didn’t they swear when these walls fell a citadel would rise? They’ve turned to schemers, all, and underwriters Leaning on the parapets to tell the same old lies.” (Nick Burbridge, After the Deluge) In his seminal collection of cultural readings, Mythologies, Roland Barthes turned his attention to a quintessential twentieth century myth embodied in ‘The Brain of Einstein’. This appropriation of the brain of the great genius as “a mythical object” is, for Barthes, paradoxical since “the greatest intelligence of all provides an image of the most up-to-date machine, the man who is too powerful is removed from psychology, and introduced into a world of robots”. As Barthes points out, Einstein “is commonly signified by his brain, which is like an object for anthologies, a true museum exhibit”.