Authentic Fakes: Religion and American Popular Culture
Authentic Fakes explores the religious dimensions of American popular culture in unexpected places: baseball, the Human Genome Project, Coca-Cola, rock 'n' roll, the rhetoric of Ronald Reagan, the charisma of Jim Jones, Tupperware, and the free market, to name a few. Chidester travels through the cultural landscape and discovers the role that fakery—in the guise of frauds, charlatans, inventions, and simulations—plays in creating religious experience. His book is at once an incisive analysis of the relationship between religion and popular culture and a celebration of the myriad ways in which invention can stimulate the religious imagination.
Moving beyond American borders, Chidester considers the religion of McDonald’s and Disney, the discourse of W.E.B. Du Bois and the American movement in Southern Africa, the messianic promise of Nelson Mandela’s 1990 tour to America, and more. He also looks at the creative possibilities of the Internet in such phenomena as Discordianism, the Holy Order of the Cheeseburger, and a range of similar inventions. Arguing throughout that religious fakes can do authentic religious work, and that American popular culture is the space of that creative labor, Chidester looks toward a future "pregnant with the possibilities of new kinds of authenticity."
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accessed April 14 accessed February 20 According African religion alien American popular culture animals apartheid argued basic beliefs blood and money body Bois Brownie Wise Cape Town capitalist Chidester Christian Clinton Coca-Cola Credo Mutwa cult David Icke Discordians Disney divine European exchange fake religion February 20 fetish film genetic gift gion gious global haptic Hollywood Holy Human Genome Human Genome Project human identity Ibid ideology of redemptive indigenous African indigenous authenticity indigenous religion Internet religions Jim Jones Jonestown Louie Mandela McDonald's modern movement Muslims myths National negotiations object observed plastic religion potlatch president production promise redemptive sacrifice relations reli religion and popular religion in American represented ritual rock Ronald Reagan sense shaman significance social society South Africa spiritual study of religion superhuman symbolic tactile term religion tion Tokyo Disneyland traditional trans transformation Tupperware United University Press virtual religions W. E. B. Du Bois York Zulu