Can Mormons Now Make Fun of Gays?
On the Sirius Satellite radio in my car, when Rush is not on, I usually switch back and forth between the Sinatra station and the Broadway station.
The primary host on the Broadway station is a fellow named Seth Rudetsky. Openly gay, Rudetsky occasionally lets his politics bleed into his insider commentary, as he did not too long when he gratuitously denounced, on the air, former Frasier star Kelsey Grammer.
Grammer was taking over the lead in the long-running La Cage aux Folles, one of the many gay-themed shows now on Broadway. Grammer's sin: being a straight, out-of-the-closet Republican. In Rudetsky's view, Republicans are homophobes. He thought it hypocritical of Grammer to play a gay man and went on to cite some of Grammer's heterosexual peccadillos.
In June, however, a happier Rudetsky turned much of his attention to the upcoming Tony Awards Show to be hosted by the openly gay former Doogie Howser star, Neil Patrick Harris.
Rudetsky was particularly excited when a play that he liked, that just happened to be produced by the openly gay Scott Rudin, won nine Tony Awards, including Best Musical. (If you have not noticed, gays have a fair share of influence on Broadway.)
The show Rudetsky gushed about is called, hang on here, Book of Mormon. It is pretty much what it sounds like -- a musical satire about Mormonism. The following lyrics come from the song, "All-American Prophet." They are typical:
You all know the Bible
Is made of Testaments old and new.
You've been told it's just those two parts,
Or only one, if you're a Jew.
But what if I were to tell you
There's a FRESH third part out there?
That was found by a HIP new prophet
Who had a little...
Donny Osmond flair.
These come from the song "I Believe," a song that caught my attention because I live in the storied Jackson County.
I believe that God lives on a planet called Kolob.
I believe that Jesus has his own planet as well.
And I believe that the Garden of Eden was in Jackson County, Missouri.
If you believe, the Lord will reveal it.
And you'll know it's all true. You'll just feel it.
You'll be a Mormon
And, by gosh!
A Mormon just believes!
To be fair, the show's creators, crypto-conservatives Trey Parker and Matt Stone, are the only equal-opportunity satirists making a living in show business. Their puppet movie, Team America: World Police, opens with a pitch perfect parody of the gay-themed Broadway show Rent and its imagined showstopper, "Everyone Has AIDS."
My father (AIDS!)
My sister (AIDS!)
My uncle and my cousin and her best friend (AIDS AIDS AIDS!)
The gays and the straights
And the white and the spades
Everyone has AIDS!
My grandma and my dog 'ol blue (AIDS AIDS AIDS)
The pope has got it and so do you (AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS)
C'mon everybody we got quilting to do (AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS)
We gotta break down these barricades, everyone has AIDS
The more observant reviewers on the left were not amused. J. Hoberman, writing in the Village Voice in October 2004, observed, "No matter how you parse it, the South Park guys' election-season intervention is a flag-waving, fag-baiting farce that -- all puppet all the time -- celebrates, even as it debunks, good old-fashioned American know-how."
Note how just seven years ago, a writer on the left could casually use the phrase "fag-baiting" without fear of losing his job -- or his fortune. For instance, it cost basketball star Kobe Bryant a cool $100,000 and a rash of apologies when he uttered the word "faggot" on the court in the recent NBA playoffs.
Bottom line: Team America: The Musical would never get produced on Broadway. Even more unthinkable would be a "Book of Mormon"-style send-up of the Koran. On the great white way, some cows are much more sacred than others.
When Parker and Stone attempted to satirize the ban on images of Mohammed by having the prophet show up in South Park wearing a bear suit, the proudly iconoclastic Comedy Central censored the episode. Parker and Stone received their share of death threats nonetheless.
In a scarily short period of time, alas, the organized gay lobby has moved towards an Islamic-style imposition of its own norms.
The wicked 2009 assault on Miss California, Carrie Prejean, for venturing her support of traditional marriage marked something of a turning point in the movement's history from the vaguely libertarian to the fully totalitarian. The formidable Camille Paglia, herself a lesbian, has dared to say what others have observed, namely "just how insanely Stalinist gay activism has become."
If truly interested in the tolerance and understanding it ceaselessly preaches, the gay lobby could learn a thing or two from the Mormons themselves.
"The production may attempt to entertain audiences for an evening," said the church in its official comment on the show, "but the Book of Mormon as a volume of scripture will change people's lives forever by bringing them closer to Christ."
Parker and Stone described the church's measured response as something "we actually completely agree with." They continued:
Before the church responded, a lot of people would ask us, 'Are you afraid of what the church would say?' And Trey and I were like, 'They're going to be cool.' And they were like, 'No, they're not. There are going to be protests.' And we were like, 'Nope, they're going to be cool.' We weren't that surprised by the church's response. We had faith in them.
Seth, my man, there is a lesson to be learned here.