How does the situation between Buster Friendly and Mercer mimic the current situation between entertainment and God?
Beginning in chapter 7, John Isidore brings up the interesting point that “Buster Friendly and Mercerism are fighting for control of our psychic souls” (76). Believing that Buster somewhat made fun of Mercer and his eternal climb up a weedy mountain, Isidore makes the conclusion that the two are in direct competition. At the end of the novel, Buster exposes Mercer’s eternal climb as being made in a Hollywood studio using an old, drunk actor as the beloved figure supposedly created by the government for the suppression of the masses (206-211). Buster believes that he (an android) has destroyed Mercer and the concept of empathy, which has ‘ruled the universe’ as the determinant between human and non-human. But has he really destroyed everything?
This ‘fight’ strikes me as an allusion to the fight between God and TV. Today there is a passionate controversy that exists over the subjects being displayed on television shows. Attempting to destroy the morality and sacredness that has been created by Christianity and various other religions, the entertainment industry knowingly mocks and challenges the guidelines that have invisibly existed for many, many years. I believe that this began in the 1960’s when the book was written, and the author potentially added Mercer and Buster to portray this ordeal. As in the novel, one important aspect of life is fighting for complete domination, getting tired of sharing the spotlight with another important aspect. By diminishing God and religion, TV can solely rule our lives and our minds- so it seems. Also represented in the novel by Mercer, God and religion cannot and will not vanish from our lives. Humans need hope and wisdom, as did Isidore and Deckard. Mercerism will not cease to exist in the book because Mercer “is eternal” (76). And although society is being thronged by criticisms against God, religion is eternal as well. Entertainment and Buster are extremely popular and will grab attention for many years, but they will never completely destroy their opponents.