I'm supposed to be working on a presentation for Liberation Theology class tomorrow, but before I get to it I need to let out a few thoughts about Monday's LDS Newsroom commentary.
*"Internet references to Big Love indicate that more and more Mormon themes are now being woven into the show..."Internet references to Big Love? The show is available on DVD and the internet. The Church is a big organization and there are numerous LDS viewers of the show that they could have consulted with, but instead the Newsroom chooses to almost invalidate their so-called "commentary" by practically admitting that they have not seen the show, but instead are appealing to anonymous "Internet references."
As Latter-day Saints who are often widely misportrayed on the web, for the LDS Newsroom to base their commentary on "internet references" boggles the mind and shows that the Newsroom is not there to provide informed commentary.
*"the [Mormon] characters are often unsympathetic figures who come across as narrow and self-righteous."The show also depicts many sympathetic and Christ-like Mormons as well. I can't help but feel that the "narrow and self-righteous" Mormons in the show were modeled after the "narrow and self-righteous" Mormons who started a campaign to fight the show before it even aired.
*"The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as an institution does not call for boycotts. Such a step would simply generate the kind of controversy that the media loves and in the end would increase audiences for the series."This is exactly what happened. This wasn't national news until HBO felt they had to respond to the hundreds of angry calls and e-mails they received. Until then, it was only covered in the Utah news. Now it is in the AP, Reuters, and nearly every national news outlet.
*"As someone recently said, “This isn’t 1830, and there aren’t just six of us anymore.”"Who said it? Just someone.
*"In other words, with a global membership of thirteen and a half million there is no need to feel defensive when the Church is moving forward so rapidly. The Church’s strength is in its faithful members in 170-plus countries, and there is no evidence that extreme misrepresentations in the media that appeal only to a narrow audience have any long-term negative effect on the Church."I agree with this here... sort of. The Church is big and this isn't going to make much of a dent (rather I think it will do the opposite). As Latter-day Saints we have to realize that we aren't a small minority along the wayside that can only be referenced in faith-promoting or demeaning ways. Mormonism is now part of the public discourse. We have to deal with it.
This statement, however, also implies that Big Love is an example of "extreme misrepresentations in the media." I can't help but see this as a rhetorical ploy made by someone who (as I pointed out) has not actually seen the show.
*"When the comedy writers for South Park produced a gross portrayal of Church history..."See my previous post.
*"When an independent film company produced a grossly distorted version of the Mountain Meadows Massacre two years ago, the Church ignored it. Perhaps partly as a result of that refusal to engender the controversy that the producers hoped for, the movie flopped at the box office and lost millions."Actually it was probably because the movie was poorly written, directed, and acted. Rotten Tomatoes has it scored at 13%. I find it interesting though that the Newsroom didn't mention the film by name - September Dawn.
*"The Church has refused to be goaded into a Mormons versus gays battle..."That's right. Instead the Church chose to preemptively fire the first shots.
*"[The Church] has simply stated its position [on gay marriage] in tones that are reasonable and respectful."Can anyone else sense the irony here? The Newsroom is defending its rights to belittle what is sacred to others (same-sex marriages) in "tones that are reasonable and respectful" while at the same time preemptively and ignorantly criticizing HBO for affirming the value of what is sacred to us (our temple rites) in a manner which HBO believes is "reasonable and respectful."
*"Meanwhile, missionary work and Church members in California remain as robust and vibrant as ever, and support for the Church has come from many unexpected quarters — including some former critics and other churches."Our enemy's enemy is our friend? This is starting to sound a lot like neo-conservative foreign policy (let's not forget the preemptive attacks and responses based on anonymous and suspicious sources).
*"Now comes another series of Big Love, and despite earlier assurances from HBO it once again blurs the distinctions between The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the show’s fictional non-Mormon characters and their practices."I'm guessing this is based on their supposed "internet references." Anybody who has followed this show would know that this statement is blatantly false. Rather than blurring the lines between mainstream Mormons and fundamentalist Mormons, the show has rather strongly pointed out that line and made that line a very key aspect of much of its storyline. You cannot watch Big Love and not know that a fundamentalist Mormons are different from mainstream Mormons are that the two are often very opposed to each other.
This is further proof that the LDS Newsroom here is ignorantly commenting on something they know little about.
*"...the show’s fictional non-Mormon characters..."Referring to fundamentalist Mormons as "non-Mormon" goes along with the Newsroom's hypocritical attempt to monopolize on the term 'Mormon' See more about that here.
*"Such things say much more about the insensitivities of writers, producers and TV executives than they say about Latter-day Saints."Such commentaries say much more about the LDS Newsroom and the Church's public affairs department than it says about Big Love.