Don’t even ask me how I came across this, but I just had to pass it on. Here is conclusive proof that civilization is crumbling all around us — in the form of an article on the “hidden genius” of The Dukes of Hazzard.

The article points to the cultural achievement represented by Daisy Duke’s “costume” for the recent movie:

You probably haven’t thought much about the shorts that Jessica Simpson wears as Daisy Duke in The Dukes of Hazzard. Perhaps you assumed that Ms. Simpson simply stepped into her dressing room, grabbed a revealing pair of jeans shorts from a pile on the floor, and strolled over to the set. You could not be more wrong

To make her short-shorts, the costume department first had to make a model of Jessica Simpson using a Barbie doll. Next, they designed tiny test pairs of shorts sewn to scale. Once they had determined the perfect cut, they began the arduous task of building the full-scale short-shorts, which would be worn by Ms. Simpson herself. A pair of blue jeans were draped and sliced by hand, washed, and then fed into a dryer for authentic aging. Next, the seams were meticulously ripped to make it appear that Ms. Simpson had worn these jeans shorts all her life–that she was, in fact, Daisy Duke.

Finally, the jeans shorts were trimmed. “It’s truly a matter of centimeters where you approach the danger zone,” says costume designer Genevieve Tyrrell. “You risk cutting them up to here and having too much [unmentionable], or getting too close to [more unmentionables]. There are a million things that can go wrong.” All this precision paid off. Three pairs of Daisy Dukes were created, two in denim and one in white corduroy. They were not only contemporary–with a lower cut across the waist to expose more midriff–but shorter than the original Daisy Dukes worn by Catherine Bach.

Can a civilization that produces such cultural artifacts long survive? Should such a civilization survive? A society that measures centimeters from “the danger zone” is in big trouble.

“There are a million things that can go wrong,” the costume designer sighs. Well, the last thing we need is another “wardrobe malfunction” like that experienced by poor Janet Jackson at 2004′s Super Bowl festivities. She was just the most famous victim of malfunctioning clothing, a problem now thought to injure and embarrass thousands of innocent citizens each year. Consider yourselves warned.