Bulletin for the Study of Religion, Vol 42, No 3 (2013)

“I Needed to Go to this Tabernacle of Ignorance”: Marc Maron’s Critique of the Creation Museum

Jerry C. Jaffe
Issued Date: 27 Sep 2013

Abstract


On his 2011 comedy album This has to be funny, Marc Maron includes a routine in which he describes a visit to the Creation Museum, located in Petersburg, Kentucky just south of Cincinnati. Maron employs his typical combination of smart and angry wit as he satirizes the Museum and its agenda. This criticism takes the form of describing some of the Museum’s displays, and then reacting to them. The displays he spends the most time critiquing include the Garden of Eden room, animatronics of Old Testament figures, and the Noah’s Ark room. Bergson says that one source of laughter is seeing “the mechanical encrusted on the living” and this seems apt for understanding maron’s critique of displays such as these. Dogmatic religious believers can seem comical when their own beliefs interfere with their ability to adapt to new information—and this is exactly how the displays of the Creation Museum appear, thus making them targets for satire. Further, the museum, with its well documented and unscientific animatronics and dioramas (triceratops with saddles, tyrannosaurus rex eating a pineapple) creates its own dissonance when putting its ideas into sculptural forms. Museums often employ what Barbara Kirsehblatt-Gimblett has described as either in situ or in context display strategies, but both of these seem like empty, hyperreal rhetoric in the pseudoscientific position advocated by the museum.

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DOI: 10.1558/bsor.v42i3.27

References


Baudrillard, Jean. 1994. Simulacra and Simulation. Translated by Sheila Faria Glaser. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. Originally published in French 1981.

Bergson, Henri. 2009. Laughter: An Essay on the Meaning of the Comic. Translated by Cloudesley Brereton. Project Gutenberg EBook (#4352). Originally published in French in 1900.

Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, Barbara. 1998. Destination culture: Tourism, Museums, and Heritage. Berkeley: University of California Press.

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