Saturday, March 14, 2009

....Aaand, Discuss!

Will the Fictional Mormons Influence the Real Ones? - Freakonomics Blog - NYTimes.com: "Will the Fictional Mormons Influence the Real Ones?
By Freakonomics

| Mormon church leaders have criticized HBO for planning to air a fictional version of a Mormon temple endowment ceremony on Big Love this Sunday, saying the ceremony risks being “misrepresented or presented without context or understanding.” But is it possible that more media exposure of Mormonism — like Salt Lake Tribune reporter Brooke Adams’s The Plural Life blog — might benefit Mormons like Mitt Romney, who hopes his religion won’t hamper his presidential bid the second time around? Quite a few Mormons are probably hoping the opposite. (0)"

4 comments:

Maren said...

I'm with these guys. Big deal. This show is a drop in the bucket of inconsequential drivel. That drop might make a splash for a little while, but then it goes away.

richintheory said...

Mormonism will handle this PR issue like it always does - with pitch-perfect spin.

I predict within the year of the show being cancelled, the apologists will claim its popularity as an advancement, not a detractor, for the faith.

"The characters are often unsympathetic figures who come across as narrow and self-righteous," says the church, whose doctrinal stance is that without it, a soul is forever lost from salvation. Hmmm... I wonder where Hollywood gets these ideas...

richintheory said...

PS - If, like Maren's article claims, there are enough Mormons still using AOL that their boycott can be impactiful, then that is the real travesty here. :-).

Gabe said...

First off, in the guise of full disclosure I am a watcher of the show and find it fascinating and compelling...oh, and a tv show.

While some of the official response's bits and pieces are, perhaps, a bit out of touch, the general call to action was close but missed the point. I agree that if somethign offends you, the most appropriate thing (especially when it comes to something like a television show) is to change the channel (or perhaps, dare I think it, read a book? make something? repaint a room in your house? pet your cat/dog/ferret/monkey? do something constructive with your kids?). I cannot stand it when people complain about this device and forget that they possess control over IT.

Anyway, the point that the LDS response misses (oh, and an aside, it is 330am and I am suffering insomnia, it is entirely possible that I mistype LDS for LSD, I promise you in advance that this is a typo...unless of couse this really gets off course and LSD comes up...but as of yet, Im not planning on it) is that despite having grown up around numbers of LDS and not being one shy about questions, the majority of my education about the religion has come from books that dont always paint the religion in a desirable light (from what I can tell, a fair one, but as with any religion there is a logic behind the metaphors, and if you dont get it [and it takes a while with any religion] it will seem negative, even if even-handed because it will seem shallow) or from such TV as the subject at hand. What it misses is that the response does not empower LDS to go out and make it make snese to people...to challenge them to answer questions. And perhaps this is a part of it that I simply dont get. Instead, just as the response and Maren's first comment echo...persecution and insults. I am not, by any means, defending HBO or Big Love at all (especially as I have not yet watched said episode, I cannot tell you if whatever was supposed to have been done was done tastefully, etc)...but coming from a religious background that knows from persecution...I can assure you, secrecy is not the way around that issue.

It is an interesting question all around...because what I have just written could very easily be read as a challenge for LDS to 'justify themselves' to me, or some such thing. I can assure you who have taken me that way, that I need no such justification, it is more observational, and perhaps a lesson as well. Somewhere on the life imitating art line, there is a point that is reflective. Sometimes that reflection calls one to change...if nothing else, so as not to be too cliche. So as the South Parks, and the Big Loves, and the Under the Banner of Heavens get out there...why isnt the LDS Church, as a whole getting out there and helping people understand that those representations arent correct, rather than just saying, "they dont understand, buck-up guys, just another aspect of society not getting us...they'll go away soon and we'll still be here."..?

I may (or may not) vehemently disagree with teachings or official proclamations etc of any Church (read, organized religion), but as long as you arent affecting my way of life and use those values to share your moral character...well, by all means brothers and sisters. In fact, more than by all means...tell me about it...because I am interested. But...in my experience (and while this may sound like an invitation, I dont think that a blog comment is the place to correct this), Im not going to get anything beyond some generalities. No one is going to explain what I will eventually watch on my DVR (although, in truth it will take a while as I am a little backlogged due to more pressing issues), the significance, nor why it has to be shrouded in secrecy.

I dunno, perhaps I will reread this once I have had some sleep and can form sentences that dont run on for seventeen lines and decide Im full of it (I usually am). But I think that's my basic frustration. To pointedly paraphrase the Simpsons, Why [are people] so infatuated with my secret closet of mystery? I dunno, but I wish I didnt have to sign up to find out...not my style.