Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Get out the soapbox . . .

. . . 'cause I've got some venting to do. Feel free to skip this gripe session if you feel so inclined. My Sitemeter may suffer, but my feelings will be none the wiser.

Saturday night, while I lounged on the couch working on a NY Times Sunday crossword puzzle (one of my favorite short-term diversions), CPod watched one of his TiVoed truck shows. I don't know which one it was -- Truckz or Gearz or some other macho spectacle that ends in Z -- because they all sound the same to me: equally annoying. Anyway, after the show was over, CPod left the TV on and went to the kitchen to do the dishes. (While I was lounging on the couch. Yay, husband! Yay!)

Now, let me first say, that I know a lot of y'all are from Utah, and that's great. I don't have anything against people from Utah, except maybe the univowel. You know the one -- pan, pen, and pin can only be differentiated by context when pronounced by a native Utahn. Come visit me in the south, my friends. We've got five vowels for a reason, and I can broaden your language pronunciation horizons in ways you never imagined. But I digress.

I half-way listened to what happened to be on (because I was too lazy to get the remote), and what happened to be on was a new reality show about newlywed couples. Suddenly, I heard the univowel. I looked up, and saw this sweet little Utah couple talking about their marriage, and it became clear that they were LDS. Turns out, there are two Mormon couples on this show.

Now, of course, as a member of the LDS church myself, my ears perk up when I see a member of my faith in the media. I always hope they will conduct themselves in a manner that does not further the misconceptions and sterotypes that seem to be so widespread in the popular culture, and will not give my non-Mormon friends fodder for interesting questions. In defense of these couples, they didn't do or say anything that might cast the church in an unfavorable light. They were dressed modestly, and it was obvious that they were very committed to their marriages.

But. In what universe does blindfolding yourself and squishing another man's butt to determine whether or not he is your husband fall under the list of things it's okay to do in ANY marriage, much less one solemnized in the temple? Now. I can't be certain that they were married in the temple. But aren't all of these couples, Mormon or not, supposed to be in a commited relationship?

In their efforts to illustrate the strength of the Mormon marriage, these couples, probably misled by Hollywood producers, have done nothing but demonstrate that they are just like everyone else: willing to lower their standards in the right circumstances.

This is a producers dream -- a salacious window into the inner workings of that most enigmatic of animals, that statistic-defying, lasts-for-eternity institution -- the LDS marriage. I resent this capitalization of the media's tendencies to sensationalize anything that has to do with our church.

And the worst part? Other Mormons will watch it. Other members of the church will welcome filth into their homes that they would not ordinarily allow, because they will want to see how "the Mormons" fare. Instead of being a beacon of goodness, they have become the catalyst for debasing a significant portion of our demographic.

I was already pretty het up at that point. And then somebody trampled on the motherland by saying they thought they wouldn't like the couple from the south, because people from the south are stupid.

What?!? WHAT?!? People from the south are stupid? And all people from the northeast are rude, and all black people are good at sports, and all redheads have a bad temper. Fine. Underestimate my intelligence. That makes it so much more fun when you are utterly stunned, surprised, and shocked at my acerbic wit and incredibly sharp mind.

My dad grew up on a tobacco farm. He scholarshipped his way through college and professional school, and he could pass for Andy Griffith when you hear him speak. He talks a bit on the slow side, but that is in no way an indication of his nimble mind, extensive knowledge of almost everything, and a capacity to grasp any subject with extreme quickness.

When I went to BYU, some of my friends thought that my admission was some sort of Mormon affirmative action (someone actually used that phrase with me) -- you know, let in some of the less privileged/less educated/less intelligent ones so they can take notes about the way the church works in the promised land and spread the word back in the "mission field". They don't give an easier version of the ACT in the south, though, and there are plenty of smart people down here with me that will tell you the same.

Go ahead, Yankee snob on the annoying TV show. Try to beat my dad at Trivial Pursuit. Or any other thing in this world that requires a brain. Because I would put his southern brain -- or mine, my husbands, my mothers, or any of my siblings, aunts, uncles or cousins -- up against yours any day of the week. And you would have another song to sing about the south at the end of that day.

My husband says I should stop now. My soapbox has become a Rameumptom. But thanks for listening anyway. I feel so much better now.


  1. Soapboxes are fun. I enjoyed reading yours.

    I had some good friends from the South during my BYU years...one was from Mississippi and said "oil" and "pie" so darned cute.

    PS: That TV show sounds hideous. good thing I don't watch much TV.

  2. *clap clap clap clap*

    Well said, my friend. Well said and TRUE.

    This is why I don't watch TV.

    (I've missed you!)

  3. I just saw a bit of that show and thought that one couple had to be mormon. Then I wondered how they could be on a show like that? And then I turned it off.
    Yea for your soapbox.

  4. I hate it when other members let the rest of us down like that... good for you, for this rant!
    Rant on, Rant On!

  5. Well, now, let's have some Lamaze breathing, shall we? I'll take over the rant for a minute while you compose yourself!

    You're right about the LDS couple behaving like trash. Yes, I said trash, because that's what I think anyone who would treat marriage like that is.

    And I love the southern accent thing, although as a gal from Utah, I have to assure you that there is a clear distinction between my pins, pans, and pens!

    And as long as we're doing a little good-natured ribbing, I would like to submit that in the south, you have waaaay more than the traditional 5 vowels! A southern gal on a good tear can turn a one syllable word into a complete discourse!

    Hugs to you, brilliant InkMom!!

  6. Amen! and Amen!

    Although, that statement about redheads just might be true...

  7. I'm glad you're feeling better. Now I'm a little irked. How frustruating that anyone would think that is okay. And what's next.
    And then, with the generalizations. Don't even get me started on that.

    I have to agree whole heartedly with DeNae on the southern vowel thing though. I was thinking along those lines but she wrote it better than I ever could have. Although, again, it's an individual thing and not everyone has that talent.

  8. I have to say I am excited for the digital switch because I have decided not to buy a digital converter box... I know I have a t.v that is a huge box, and doesn't pick up a digital signal? What century do I live in?

    I have only been watching two shows this last season. Lost, cuz I can't help it, I love the mystery, and Biggest Loser. When I noticed that there were 4 mornmons on that season, I must say that I understand the cringing with your shoulders up to the hieght of your ears, that the mormons on the show really live the gospel.

    For the most part they all did well, but I have a soft spot in my heart for Sione and Filipe. I was especially proud at Filipe's attitude when he got voted off and pure love and no anger... It was touching, and a fabuolus example of how we live.

    But for the most part, all this reminds me of the scripture in 2 Timothy-ish that talks about the evils that will "creep into our homes and fool silly women" in the last days.

    But do not fear, I have learned my lesson, not to ever watch Oprah (tangent, I know) and never to be on a reality T.V. show. Not that I had the desire, because the reality is, I am not a perfected example of level-headed-goodness at all times(striving for this, failing so far). Although I am sure of my boundaries, so there would be no tushy rubbing for me.

    p.s. I am not from Utah, but have a wonderful husband from there, and I assure you, they are not all bad. But you did forget the "mow'ains" and "Sale" pronounced like "sell" to get a good "dill" (deal), by the crick (creek) where you "ought could" find a beautiful "pitcher" (picture)... I could go on, I won't this is long enough as it is.

  9. Whoever thought you got into BYU via affirmative action obviously didn't know you very well... You are one of the smartest people I have ever known!

  10. In Missouri, we called that "my dad is smarter than your dad".

    I was with you until "a salacious window into the inner workings of that most enigmatic of animals, that statistic-defying, lasts-for-eternity institution" and then I just couldn't keep up.

    Because I'm from Missouri. And every stereo-type about that place is absolutely true.

    And I'm a redhead, so basically I'm pretty ticked off too.

  11. Um, need I point out that anyone who willingly ends up on a reality TV show is not a good sample of whatever social cross-section they claim. People who want to be on reality TV are their own group entirely.

    Likewise, this is why I don't watch TV.

  12. I grew up in Louisiana, so I hear you. MAN, do I hear you.

    DeNae says you guys share a brain. This I have to see.

  13. One of the best things that we smart, sassy, southern women do best is leave many behind eating our dust...and they just don't know what hit 'em. And we are the only women in the world who can decimate the enemy while demurely offering, "Bless her heart." The gospel is so good for us...something needs to help us get over our pride! Now you must all understand that I grew up the only southerner in my very yankee family. For many years I tried to at least claim being conceived in the north. My brothers called me slave driver and cotton picker my entire life. It was not until much later that I learned that I was southern by the grace of God. And being a speech and voice major, my accent was beaten out of me...but I can, as Denae said, make a discourse if I want to and I am proud to know how...there goes that pride thing again. Ya'll help me now, ya hear?

  14. Okay, who, Mormon or not, wants to squeeze some other man's behind to determine if it is their husband? What kind of idiot does that anyways? I'm not Mormon, however, I too would NEVER lower myself to do the things that they do on shows like that. It's crazy! Also, I am so proud to be from the south. Most of the American Idol winners are from the south, which just shows you that the general public prefers southerners. We are just nicer. (The AI reference was for MommyJ.) Anyways, the south is a wonderful place to live, full of many intelligent and unintelligent people, who can be equally charming and add great character to our culture. Oh, and there is NO way that anyone who had ever even had a conversation with you would think you were at BYU because of affirmative action. Even as silly teenagers, it was obvious that you were a genius. You probably have even played the little triangle wood block game at Cracker Barrel to prove it! Now THAT is southern!

  15. Scoot over and make room for me on your soapbox. I get ticked off every time I turn on the TV. Hint to the wise, especially the Mormon wise: Any game that involves blindfolds and bodily squeezing probably does NOT preserve your dignity, and it certainly does not promote your cause. Unless your cause is to make a fool of yourself and bring shame to all things you "stand for."

    Having spent the majority of my childhood in the south, I will say that some of the greatest people I know are southerners. Some are not even that educated, but they are WISE and have taught me much.

  16. I just discovered your blog. Wow I also just decided from reading this post that I like it! Nice soap boxing, well done! Hope you don't mind another follower.


Sock it to me!