A couple weeks ago Pastor John Hagee started attacking atheists again. He told them that if they don’t like Christmas then they can get on the next plane out of the country. He also told them “You can take your Walkman and stuff it into your ears!” (You can watch the clip here.)
Observation number 1: The whole Walkman? Wow. That’s harsh. How would one go about stuffing an entire Walkman into one’s ears? Ear buds, sure. But a whole Walkman?
Observation number 2: What’s a “Walkman”? (Answer: a small personal cassette player with headphones for private music listening.) And what’s a “cassette”?
Technological metaphors always age, and they don’t age like wine. They age more like a painted fence.
Case in point, Billy Falcon’s modest 1991 hit (it just managed to crack the top 40), “Power windows”. The song is meant to convey a simple but good message: personal fulfillment only comes through relationships with people, not the acquisition of material things. Unfortunately, Falcon chose as a metaphor of material excess a car with, gasp, POWER WINDOWS!
In our day when even a bargain basement Kia boasts a heated steering wheel, the power windows option doesn’t wow like it once did. Consequently, those listening to the song are less likely to be moved by the material excess of a lonely man who can afford power windows and power brakes for his car. (Power windows as a big deal? What, does this guy live in Cuba or something?)
As for John Hagee, attempting to enrage the mob by telling atheists to stick Walkmans in their ears has the same counterproductive effect. Who has a Walkman these days? I haven’t even seen one for sale at the Goodwill for at least five years.
If I were a despotic Southern Baptist preacher, I’d attack the atheists like this:
If you don’t like Christmas then stuff yer precious transitional fossils in your ears. Oops, I forgot, there are no transitional fossils. (Pause for riotous cheering from congregation) Okay then, stuff yer atheist values into yer ears. Oops, I forgot, atheists have no values! (Pause for more riotous cheering and foot stomping)
Looks like we got nothin’ to stuff in yer ears. (laughter) I guess the only option left is to leave the country. (look at watch) Let’s see, the next plane flies out at noon! If you hurry you can make it. (More riotous cheering as the worship band begins to play the song “People need the Lord” and congregants warmly greet visitors.)