WEST MONROE, LA--Phil Robertson, star of A&E's Duck Dynasty, got into trouble with his politically incorrect comments about homosexuality being un-Christian. For financial reasons, A&E stood by Mr. Robertson, Duck Dynasty will continue filming, and conservative groups have applauded the network.
However, shockwaves from the swirling winds created by the clash between conservative and liberal delusions are still propagating and culture critics warn that they threaten to destroy America with a mega tornado of bluster.
"It's a true clash of the titans," said one culture critic. "In one corner, you have fundamentalist Christianity, which A&E can't afford to alienate since its brand is based on nostalgia for the 1950s myth of the wholesome family and, through a hostile takeover led by the likes of Ronald Reagan and Jerry Falwell, that myth is now owned by conservative Christianity. In the other corner, you have the progressive champion, Gay Culture, which has been on a tremendous upswing over the last couple of decades.
"America is fervently committed to Christianity, of course, but it's also just as dedicated to progress. The two are in conflict, so American culture as a whole is effectively one big game in which the people compete for the title of Greatest Hypocrite. But now the conflict has come to a head with the Duck Dynasty fiasco and my colleagues and I are still measuring the aftershock from the titanic clash of self-delusions."
Another sociologist clarifies: "People think that their conceits can be easily dismissed, that if someone pretends to be something they're clearly not, we can just laugh off that fakeness. But that's not how it is, since hardly anyone has the stomach for harsh truths. So we cling to our illusions even though, deep down, we know we can't take them seriously since they're fraudulent and often archaic.
"For example, we pay lip service to Christianity, but were Jesus to return he'd set almost all of North America ablaze with unquenchable cosmic fire, sending the hundreds of millions of hypocrites into perdition along with their pets, possessions, and dwelling places. There would be nothing left of us.
"But that's only the truth, you see. We prefer the false front, the white lie, the mass delusion. That's where the myths of family and conservative Christianity come in. We can pretend to be good Christians as long as we say an empty prayer a day over an enormous fried dinner, and scapegoat hapless homosexuals-as if Jesus would have thought gay people marrying were the greater cause of suffering than, say, war, the out-of-control prison system, or under-regulated plutocratic capitalism, all of which the conservative 'Christian' embraces.
"And liberals, too, need their myths to avoid facing the unpleasant truth. There's homosexuality in other animal species, but most animals aren't as self-righteous and preoccupied with abstract ideas as us. So gay people are bound to be ostracized for tribal, moralistic reasons. Those folks should have their human rights, of course, but they ought to be sad, not gay, because they're stuck in a species that gets carried away by ideologies.
"Also, liberal Christians pretend that even after they read the whole Bible as a subjective metaphor, the remaining religion is the least bit interesting."
According to these experts, platitudinous myths stabilize society by holding the legions of followers in place, like the proverbial amber that traps flies. But when the colossal lies collide, the amber cracks and we're momentarily free to behold the absurdity of pop cultural discourse. We're in danger then of realizing that we've been enthralled by mere banalities, buzzwords, and shibboleths, because we've been too cowardly to deal with the truth. And when too many people are thusly enlightened, when the blinders slip from their eyes, the countervailing winds of bluster sweep away the society that's built on lies.
The shockwave from the Duck Dynasty farce alone measures 4.3 out of 5 on the Hypocrisy Scale, according to the culture critics. As one social scientist puts it, "Conservative Christians have rallied around the Robertson reality show, because their religion consists entirely of such trivial displays of authenticity. Their sanctimonious cheering together with the liberals' protestations that homosexual sex isn't even slightly more comical than the heterosexual kind creates a cacophony that threatens to wake the populace from its stupor. But no culture has survived without massive self-delusion."
Social scientists therefore recommend that some third American subculture kick up a ruckus with its characteristic fantasy, to distract the warring conservatives and liberals and to reestablish a collective lullaby to put the country back to sleep.