Performing Conservative Christian Fear and Hysteria

July 6, 2015 in General

One of the results of marriage equality within the United States has been a spate of amused observation of conservative Christian histrionics at the happy event in question. One viral outgrowth of this phenomenon has been an Elletsville, Indiana housewife, one Becky Wegner Rommel (64). And before you ask, no, as far as I know, she isn’t related to Erwin Rommel of the North African theatre of World War II infamy.¬† Anyhow, Ms. Rommel became a minor sensation when she paused in her cleaning activity to deliver a somewhat disjointed diatribe against President Obama, the US Supreme Court, Islamic extremists, abortion and the end of discriminatory marriage legislation throughout the United States.¬† The poor woman inadvertently spawned a legion of parodic impersonators, each with the original’s dishevelled hair and pancake makeup. So much so that her Facebook page has now been taken down. One does wonder if there’s a touch of classism amongst her imitators, given that her somewhat spectacular appearance is one of the constituent elements of her humourous appeal.¬† Of course, though, better dressed conservative Christians are just as likely to make inane and peculiar statements when they perform negative emotional registers such as anger, sorrow, hysteria or other behaviours for their audience.¬† And it isn’t as if Ms. Rommel is alone.

Disconnected from the marriage equality debate, but just as marginal due to her appearance, behaviour and performance is one Marguerite Perrin (54). Somewhat obese, Perrin compounds her representation as ‘eccentric’ or ‘histrionic’ through an unruly public persona. She has a vehement style of self-presentation, yells a great deal and engages in unexplained intervals of vomiting. She self-identifies as a Pentecostal “god warrior,” and also engages in repeated malapropisms that identify her as having a “limited vocabulary”, such as “dorksided” (‘darksided’), “gorgyles” (‘gargoyles’) and ‘slykicks’ (‘psychics’).¬† But there is sadness behind this woman’s bizarre public performance of her faith, having lost her daughter in a car accident after her fifty minutes of fame on the Fox Television Trading Spouses reality television programme.¬† For which one does feel truly sorry for going through that, given that is every parent’s worst nightmare.

What is the context of these performances? Rommel and Perrin appear isolated from the external world and seem to rely on conservative Christian media and social networks to interpret particular news items and current events. As a consequence, when Rommel hears about the Obergefell marriage equality victory, she only has the interpretative framework of¬† those ‘authoritative’ sources and those limited frames of reference to decipher it. Given the negative perceptions of marriage equality within such communities, it is understandable that her response is bewilderment, anger, fear and hysteria.¬† When it comes to encountering “New Age” family members from her counterpart family, Perrin responds fearfully, given that there is a particular stream of anti-syncretist and anti-immanentist rejectionist discourse within fundamentalist popular culture. (To put it more cynically, the real problem is that these spiritual competitors are after their market segment and disposable income).

No doubt we’ll see more of this strangeness, which is why I intend to turn this particular blogpage into a rolling blog to catalogue the sillier statements from marriage apology opponents. They’re so far gone, they make Bob McCoskrie look circumspect and respectable!

Recommended:

Jase Peeples: “Christian woman records herself losing it over marriage equality, gets remixed” Advocate: 04.07.2015:¬†https://www.advocate.com/comedy/2015/07/04/christian-woman-records-herself-losing-it-over-marriage-equality-gets-remixed

Marguerite Perrin On Trading Spouses: Youtube: 24.07.2015: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bOpva_iit-8