May 2011 Archives

It Arrived!


Of course I knew that The Book of Mormon soundtrack was available to download last week, but the thing is, I wanted an actual cd with a case and liner notes, even if all that stuff did cost four whole extra dollars. (The same friend who likes to tease me about my quaint twentieth-century technology also thinks it's amusing that I buy books and CDs and keep them out where I can touch and look at and use them.) So when the album could be downloaded, I just went ahead and pre-ordered the cd, even though it wasn't going to be released until June 7. I knew I wanted it, so why wait?

Friday I got a notice that it had shipped. I thought, that's odd, since it won't be released for two and a half more weeks.

But look what I got in the mail today!


It's so lovely! The insert has all the lyrics and lots of pretty pictures.


There's a photo of Elder Price with blood all over his shirt after General Butt-Fucking Naked shoots a guy in the face at close range for daring to assert that the general had no business insisting that all the women in the village be circumcised. There's a picture of white guys dressed entirely in white singing "I Am Africa." There's a picture of Nabulungi, enraptured by hope, singing "Sal Tlay Ka Citi." There are lots of photos of smiling missionaries.

And the songs just sound so much better than they do played on Youtube, which is how I've been listening to them lately. :-)

Plus it arrived just in time for a road trip I'm taking tomorrow, with a friend who has yet to hear the entire soundtrack, so life is good.

Sacred vs. Profane


One of the highlights of my trip to New York a few weeks ago was an evening with my friend PR. PR is one of the reasons I love Facebook--we have truly delicious arguments there about all sorts of things, and a few people have told me that any time they see PR's name on a thread I've started, they read it, because they know it will be good. It had been ten years since I had last seen him, but we are much better friends now than we were then, and it's all thanks to Facebook.

PR is getting a PhD at Yale in early medieval religious history (6th to 9th century), so of course we talked about religion. He grew up black and Episcopalian in New York, and over martinis I asked him if he liked going to church. "I did," he said. "I liked taking time for the sacred. And you could tell it was sacred because you could look around at the building you were in and the clothes the priest was wearing and you could listen to the music being played on some magnificent organ and you could notice the rituals you were engaging in, and it all obviously wasn't profane, so it had to be sacred."

"That's an incredibly good point," I said, "and it helps me understand part of my dissatisfaction with Mormonism. Because you could look at everything in a contemporary Mormon worship service, and it clearly was profane, so it couldn't be sacred."

Him and Her (But Mostly Him)


First, check this out:

Then, consider this point: It's not the least bit surprising that Parker and Stone get so much about Mormonism right, in ways that entertainment produced by Mormons for Mormons never can. Parker and Stone have talked about doing and obviously indeed do a great deal of research and fact-checking about Mormon doctrines, attitudes and behaviors. Their interest is in discovering and portraying Mormons accurately--including LDS contradictions, such as their arrogant niceness--instead of reinforcing the basic tenets of the faith and avoiding difficult questions. So it's not surprising that the South Park guys arrive at all sorts of great insights about Mormons, and that their portraits of Mormons and Mormonism are faithful and accurate as opposed to faith-promoting and proper.

Over on Main Street Plaza, I've been involved in a series of discussions of mixed-orientation marriages between gay Mormon men and straight Mormon women (or gay man/straight woman MOMs, aka gm/sw MOMs), which many of you will know is a topic I've been writing about for years. Indeed, the discussions were prompted in part by an essay I published in Sunstone a few years ago the subject.

One of my contributions to the discussion was this comment about "You and Me (But Mostly Me)," one of my favorite songs from The Book of Mormon musical. I wrote:

It works perfectly in the show with two male missionary companions, in part because it's an attitude enough 19-year-old Mormon guys have. But imagine it sung with a young Mormon man and his fiancee: it works even better. Both of them very likely accept that she is "the side dish on a slightly smaller plate," precisely because that's how they've been trained to see marriages: he is the captain, she is the mate.

In a subsequent thread, Chanson wrote


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