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
it was listening to "You and Me (But Mostly Me)" that made my whole youth and childhood pass before my eyes. Standing there, happy to supportively sing "my best friend..." while somebody Awesome! (in the spotlight) sings his heart out about serving God.
I completely agree with Holly's assessment that this would be perfect sung as a duet between a young LDS guy and his fiancee. I don't think that's reading anything into it that's not there. Hierarchy colors so much about Mormon interpersonal relationships. And the (officially unequal) partnership between missionaries sets the model for marriage.
One point that is pure genius is the fact that their unequal relationship isn't quite the central focus of the song. The leader's earnest desire to do something great for mankind and God is as central (if not moreso). And the fact it's tied in with his own ego is (at most) winked at.
You can see this symbolized in the temple endowment (which I haven't been through, but I've heard about it). The fact that the wife covenants to obey her husband is OK because the husband is making a covenant with God. If you complain (or do anything other than stand beside him being supportive), then you're the buzzing fly that's detracting from a man and his important business between him and God!
I can't imagine any song could more perfectly capture what Mormon patriarchy feels like.
I agree with her assessment of the temple ceremony. But what really got me thinking about the whole gender issue was how well the song reflected the basic relationship between Heavenly Father and our all but invisible Heavenly Mother:
Both: And as long as we stick together
Her: And I stay out of your way
Him: (Out of my way!)
Her: We will change the world forever, and make tomorrow a latter day!
Him: (Mostly me!)
And the song concludes
Him: And there's no limit to what we can do--me and you. But mostly ME!
Yep. That's pretty much what I was told to expect for all eternity. And I was told that I would LOVE my role, because I'd be playing it for the man I loved, and what more could I as a woman possibly want than that?
And I'll add here (and not there, because the discussion of MOMs got somewhat acrimonious, largely due to one particular idiotic and patronizing mansplainer who told all us ladies that we have no right to expect honesty from any gay man who might choose to court us, 'cause such a man don't owe no straight person--not even one he expects to bear his children--NOTHING) that the basic training in how to "stand next to you and watch" is part of what makes gm/swMOMs so insidious and hurtful to women: a woman's job in her marriage is to stand next to her husband and watch--even as he engages in behavior that hurts him, hurts their children, and hurts HER. It's all right and all righteousness as long as the harm and suffering is incurred through a husband's desire to do God's will for him.
p.s. I LOVE the line "I'll do something INCREDIBLE that blows God's freakin' mind!" I used it as a FB status: "Holly wants to do something INCREDIBLE that blows God's freakin' mind!"