The “Distract the People with Bullshit” awards isn’t as glamorous an affair as the Oscars, but that’s the point.

While the Hollywood Oscars award ceremony is a barely avoidable cultural event, the Distract the People with Bullshit awards is a secretive affair. All founders and attendees are anonymous. Instead of a tux and evening gowns, everyone wears a dark, hooded cloak.

“Our work occurs in secret, as it must,” said the ceremony’s host in his or her introductory speech. “We are always working against the tide. Lately, more than ever. The cultural shifts brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a great questioning.”

At the word “questioning” the small audience booed and hissed.

“Under the stress of quarantine, the peons reconsidered what truly mattered. Once again, they asked questions so dangerous to us: Why do they struggle for basic survival, while we effortlessly inherit fabulous wealth? Why do we, the rich, get richer while they get poorer? We know the answer. They know the answer. And they would do something about it, if it wasn’t for the people in this room to distract them!”

That line received thunderous applause. Several in the audience nodded approval so vigorously their hoods almost fell loose.

As with the Oscars, after a winner is announced, a snippet of the winner is played on a large screen. Samples of the success of the Critical Race Theory Moral Panic included a montage of angry folks shouting at their local school boards. Then it focused on a single woman speaking to a news outlet.

“I’m a single mom, working as a hospital admin. No healthcare and three kids. During the pandemic they said I had to work because I was an essential worker. So I says, ‘You gonna pay me like I’m essential?’ And they didn’t. Got me mad. I started thinking we needed a union. But that got put aside when I heard someone was teaching Critical Race Theory. Not on my watch! That’s when I knew I had to act. I worked the whole pandemic. Still no pay raise, still no health care. But I’ll be damned if I sit silent while college profs and students discuss race.”

By the end of the night, the hooded, cloaked architects of the “Critical Race Theory Moral Panic” were struggling to haul several golden “Distracty” statuettes from the ballroom. The small sculpture is of an index finger crossing over lips, the universal sign of “be quiet.”

The architects of the “Critical Race Theory Moral Panic” controversy ended the night winning in several coveted categories, including:

  • Best Distraction from Wealth Inequality

  • Best Talking Point for Politicians To Avoid Material Change

  • Best Topic Turning Working Class People Against Each Other

  • Best Subject to Inflame the Culture Wars

  • Best Cable News Talking Head Pointless Debate Topic

  • Best All-Around Astroturf

As the night ended and the hooded attendees filed out to their limos, the winning creative team clustered together to celebrate.

“What’s next for your group?” someone in the passing crowd asked.

The hooded figure standing at the front answered. “We’ll be able to ride this Critical Race Theory for a while, I think. Then it’s back to brainstorming. Every year it gets harder to distract the masses from the fact that we’re robbing them.”

“There’s only so many times we can rely on the classic, ‘Who is disrespecting the flag now?’”