June 11, 2007

Can we "laugh at the bland, super-nice 'Up-With-People' vibe of Romney's cultural Mormonism"?

Andrew Sullivan says "it's going to be a long campaign" if we can't. I'm all for mixing personal remarks in with political analysis, and I agree with Sullivan's implication: The superficial look of things contains meaning that directly relates to the political debate.

But Sullivan is pushing the envelope in trying to legitimate criticizing people because of their religion. He seems to think that putting the word "cultural" in front of the name of a religion makes it acceptable: Once religion crosses the line from the purely religious and becomes part of the motivation for achieving various political goals, we've got to be able to criticize.

I agree that we shouldn't hang back and act respectful simply because it's religion. But anyone who takes the route and brings up religion in a political discussion invites scrutiny. Surely, he has legitimated the subject of whether he is bigoted against a religious group.

87 comments:

Sloanasaurus said...

I think it is fine to criticise Romney for the history of his church. However, what is BS, is that the media only associates Romney with the what they perceive as the bad things of the morman church.

For example, yes it is true that 100 years ago the mormans advocated polygamy. However, it is also true that the mormans were hired by all the bankers during the gold rush becasue they were copnsdiered more honest than the average citizen. How come Romney doesn't get any benefit for this honesty - he only gets the criticism about the polygamy.

Fen said...

This is the statement Sullivan is responding too:

"I know you think it is funny to make fun of Romney's squeaky clean Mormon image, and their sparkling enthusiasm does elicit memories of the Osmond show.."

Andrew wants to mock Mormanism for that, his call. But it makes him look small. Every Mormon I've known has this "squeaky clean Osmond" inage. The mormons I've met are better christians that most christians I've met. I think thats what bothers Sullivan the most. He's biased against them because he believes they're "biased" against gays. He's a bigot.

BTW, when will Andrew Sullivan "speak truth" to Islam? Has he ever?

Hoosier Daddy said...

But Sullivan is pushing the envelope in trying to legitimate criticizing people because of their religion

Indeed. Try that with a Muslim and watch how fast the 'racist' slur is leveled on you.

Fen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sloanasaurus said...

That Romney adheres to such a racist belief system makes him unfit to lead a pluralistic nation and to uphold a constitution that includes the Reconstruction-era amendments.

This is such crap. You are a racist yourself for trying to perpetuate such a lie. Not even some of the lefty trolls on this board have sunk so low.


Get a life.

Fen said...

I agree that pointing this out is to be anti-Mormon (given that one is in anti- white supremacist company), but it's not bigoted; indeed, it's anti-bigotry.

Its not anti-bigotry, its race hustling. No different than Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson.

Pogo said...

Wow. So Sullivan considers "Up With People" mockery as useful social criticism.

He's just retooling the old hatred for non-cosmopolitans, the damned hicks without culture, who can't stop breeding (and marryin' their sisters), who actually go to church -and like it, and follow some mythological moral code.

But the smart set knows better. Just ask andrew, he'll tell ya. Far better to be a gay atheist writer in a committed relationship than that sort of banjo pickin' idiot child bible-thumpin' racist homophobe.

Something like that.

peter hoh said...

Sullivan is making fun of the chirpiness that infuses everything Tagg Romney says, and I think that's fair. That chirpiness is associated with the Morman faith, for better or worse. One has to be careful not to cross the line into making fun of the faith.

I don't think it makes a lot of sense to criticize the candidate for the historical positions taken by his church, unless that church history seems to influence the candidate's public policy positions.

Is it fair to talk about whether or not evangelical Christians view Mormans as fellow Christians? I think so, and I don't think raising the question suggests bias, unless the question dominates all other consideration.

Jeff said...

How long until Sullivan starts bandying the term "Mormonist" around?

I don't know about past Mormon attitudes towards race, but my Korean and Chinese friends from Salt Lake CIty have attested to the large number of Pacific Islander Mormons that they've known. The fact that the LDS ancestry database spends considerably energy and money on researching records in places like China and India would seem to suggest that they have a catholic approach to proseltysing among the dead at least.

peter hoh said...

Mocking Up With People is not the same as mocking hillbilly rednecks or asserting that people of faith are just a bunch of well-dressed hillbilly rednecks.

Pogo, how do you assert that Sullivan is an athiest? He just got done a long debate with Sam Harris, in which he offered a spirited defense of faith and religion.

peter hoh said...

Also, when a reader wrote to Sullivan to tell his own perception of how Mormons reacted to the hierarchy's change in teaching about race, Sullivan printed the letter. It informed my opinion about this matter.

The LDS hierarchy was stuck with a legacy of racism, but managed to find a way out of it. And fot the most part, the people of the church were glad for it. Good for them. The history of racism in the LDS is history.

peter hoh said...

"for the most part", not "fot the most part."

Fen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fen said...

But the smart set knows better. Just ask andrew, he'll tell ya. Far better to be a gay atheist writer in a committed relationship than that sort of banjo pickin' idiot child bible-thumpin' racist homophobe.

We're going to see alot more of that from the likes of Sullivan. As evidenced on this very thread, the Left has a huge blindspot re bigotry and stereotypes.

Pogo said...

Re; "how do you assert that Sullivan is an athiest? "

Didn't say he was.
I am pointing out that Sullivan is reviving a corpse, the "make fun of the stupid country people" meme that New Yorkers like. They much prefer a hip hop urban thug to a Mormon on a bicycle, as long as the thug lives, you know, over with their own kind, and are happy enough with the dole just to kill each other.

In Sullivan's view, nice smiling honest Christians are to be feared, not the guys named Mohammed who keep trying to blow things up here.

Hoosier Daddy said...

As evidenced on this very thread, the Left has a huge blindspot re bigotry and stereotypes.

This reminded me of a conversation I had with a co-worker of very liberal persuasion. She had remarked about the house for sale that was next door to her and hoped that it wasn't bought by a 'multiple family'. When I inquired as to what is a 'multiple family' she said, you know, those that have 10 people living under one roof. Never did get a straight answer as to who 'those' were.

So as Pogo remarked, many liberals are very open to the idea of letting 12-20 million uneducated, low skilled people into the country, provided they don't move next door to them.

Yep. Huge blindspot.

Fen said...

the "make fun of the stupid country people" meme that New Yorkers like.

Yup. Provincialsim. Tribalism. Leading to bigotry based on stereotypes.

Huge blind spot. They really don't get it.

MadisonMan said...

"redneck" is a bigoted expression coined to denigrate immigrant farm laborers.

Nonsense. Redneck is a term used for any farmer who spends all his (or her) time in the sun. Some think it's a pejorative term, some don't.

Fen said...

No Madison, look it up.

The European Etymology suggests it was coined to describe Scots and Irish who rejected the Church of England and wore blood stained linens around their necks as a badge of their rebellion. But that was in Europe, not America.

In America, the term originated to denegirate Scot & Irish immigrant farm laborers [mostly redheads] who's fair skin was prone permanent sunburn from working the fields.

But regardless of what you believe re its origin, its a derogatory expression meant to denigrate people based on ignorant stereotypes. You guys use the term as a pejorative, the same way racists use nigger. Its a bigoted expression. Makes you look stupid and hypocritical. You should cull it from your vocab.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Some think it's a pejorative term, some don't

I've never heard it used in any manner other than a derogatory term to describe rural whites. Perhaps there are those who don't think its a perjorative term but the same can be said for those who think 'wetback' or 'raghead' are merely descriptive terms for Hispanics and Arabs.

Fen said...

Put it another way, Madison [and to pull the thread back on topic]:

If I called Sullivan a fag, would he buy the explanation that I was merely referring to him as a bundle of sticks for burning ?

peter hoh said...

Fen, I was merely trying to shorten this phrase from Pogo: the damned hicks without culture, who can't stop breeding (and marryin' their sisters), who actually go to church -and like it, and follow some mythological moral code.

As for whether or not the term "redneck" is racist, I guess I'm confused because of how it is bandied about by the likes of Jeff Foxworthy.

No, I will not accept the fake moral outrage of my use of "redneck hillbilly."

Fen said...

I guess I'm confused because of how it is bandied about by the likes of Jeff Foxworthy.

Blacks call each other nigger as a term of endearment. Same for the likes of Foxworthy. They don't mean it the way you do [btw, I think both are wrong, no one should "own" those words]

No, I will not accept the fake moral outrage of my use of "redneck hillbilly."

Wasn't outrage Peter, just a good faith effort to educate you. You can no longer claim to be ignorant.

paul a'barge said...

legitimated the subject of whether he is bigoted against a religious group

When did it become unclear that Sullivan is a raging bigot?

Oh, and Peter Hoh? Fen is right. Except that he should have written peter hoh: Mocking Up With People is not the same as mocking chinks or asserting that people of faith are just a bunch of well-dressed chinks as an example of your racist bigotry.

peter hoh said...

Fen, are you planning to educate the commentor here who goes by "The Edumacated Redneck," or however it's spelled?

I did not introduce the denigrating terms to this thread. Pogo did. All I did was point out that "Up With People" is not code for the damned hicks without culture, who can't stop breeding (and marryin' their sisters), who actually go to church -and like it, and follow some mythological moral code., as Pogo so eloquently put it. Is that any less offensive than the term "redneck"?

Perhaps Pogo needs educating, too, but maybe if you and Pogo agree, then that's not necessary.

peter hoh said...

Pogo, how is

But the smart set knows better. Just ask andrew, he'll tell ya. Far better to be a gay atheist writer in a committed relationship than that sort of banjo pickin' idiot child bible-thumpin' racist homophobe.

not an assertion that Sullivan is an athiest?

Pogo said...

Re: "...not an assertion that Sullivan is an athiest?"

Peter, I know Sullivan speaks of his catholicism.

My statement shows the usual blue city liberal preference for gay childless atheists with professional jobs over a religious Christianist WalMart manager with six kids. Just look at San Fransisco.

But hell, that trope been used since the 1930s. NYC has long felt itself the City of Light, and much more with it, enlightened, and important than the cornpone rubes too dumb to move out of Jesusland.

I'm using a stereotype to expose his use of a stereotype. It doesn't mean Sullivan is all those things.

AJ Lynch said...

Fen is correct as usual. "Redneck" has long been a negative aspersion aimed at the working class. A hundred years ago, it was not fashionable for the upper class to get either a sunburn or a tan because you would look like a working class "redneck".

Roger said...

If people dont me using the term "rag head" to describe some Arabs who still dress traditionally, I won't argue with you about the use of "redneck hillbilly." I thought all this crap about these terms was so much PC nonsense anyway. (I eagerly await to see the semantic gymnastics by which those terms will be dissected.)

Cedarford said...

It is worth pointing out that when George Romney ran for President in 1968, his Mormanism was not controversial, it was a matter of passing interest because JFK had pretty well disposed of the argument that religious belief was a bar to holding high office in America.
We have devolved into a new intolerance. And it is the Hard Left and the media folks sympathetic to the Gay activists agenda that are trying to fan the religious flames this time.

(And after an admirable hiatus where highly desirable, respectful acceptance was given to others running for higher office that happened to be Jewish, Catholic, Mormons like the Udalls, Evangelical candidates, and atheists like Ralphie Boy.)

Remember that the "Religious Right" was essentially a reactionary movement that arose after the Progressives and Hard Left had captured the courts to push a liberal, anti-Christian agenda. An agenda that had bypassed America's democratic institutions and shoved down everyones throats lawyers in robes various decrees on abortion, affirmative action, criminal and prisoner rights, eradication of certain Christian public religious celebrations done for 250 years - without a single public vote.

Sullivan's gay agenda has cost him most his credibility - even among many gays - because it is obvious that whatever "cause" he brings up for discussion somehow ties back to his rigid perception that it or the person involved is good or bad depending if it helps or hurts Sully's meta-criteria - his personal gay agenda.

Like most gay rights squawkers though, he doesn't have the guts to go after anti-gay Muslims, blacks, Jewish conservatives, or Hispanics. Southern white evangelicals and white Mormons are "safe targets".

But the bottom line is that America appears to be a less religiously tolerant nation than we were in 1960, 1968, or even 2000 when Joe Lieberman ran with his Orthodox Jewish morals considered a plus...

MadisonMan said...

[Sullivan] doesn't have the guts to go after anti-gay Muslims, blacks, Jewish conservatives, or Hispanics.

What on God's Green Earth are you talking about? Do you actually read his blog? It's full of condemnations of the treatment of Gays in Iran, for example, or Russia. Have you read what he's written about Theo van Gogh?

Invisible Man said...

Madison,

It shows what a waste of time it is to debate these people on issues. They are so blinded by their partisan hatred that they can't even recognize their natural allies. Sullivan isn't some hippy liberal but a staunch conservative who except for his stance on gays is probably more conservative than some of these commentors. But their seething hatred for dissenting voices causes a dishonest, irrational hissy fit anytime somebody goes against their orthodoxy. Imagine what they would say about him if he was a liberal.

An Edjamikated Redneck said...

Foxworthy defines 'Redneck" as gloriously lacking in sophistication, and that is the way I prefer to use it.

Almost any word can be used as an insult, depending on the tone of voice or context (think of the phrase 'and you a law professor'), and I have no doubt that it would be practically impossible for a New Yorker to describe me as a redneck in a way that would not start a fight.

I have always heard Redneck used to describe under-educated, rural southern whites, a demographic I still still claim three quarteers of, and can only deny the final quarter by virtue of late adult college classes, although I suppose some would still consider me under-educated.

I consider myself An Edjamikated Redneck because I was educated late enough that the education didn't completely overcome the redneck in me, and I can still revel in that glorious lack of sophistication.

peter hoh said...

Fen and Pogo, in the future, I will make sure to quote Pogo's offensive characterization of rural white Southerners instead of using a shorter term to indicate the same.

Thorley Winston said...

”Sullivan's gay agenda has cost him most his credibility - even among many gays - because it is obvious that whatever "cause" he brings up for discussion somehow ties back to his rigid perception that it or the person involved is good or bad depending if it helps or hurts Sully's meta-criteria - his personal gay agenda.”

Agreed, he is a fool who thinks the entire world should revolve around his baser urges.

bill said...

I was surprised to learn that Up With People is still around. Back in the early 70s, Eastern Airlines must have sponsored a tour because we had a few cast members stay with us once. Even got free tickets to the show.

Drew W said...

All three of my elder siblings were members of an Up With People! cast, and we lived in Fairfield County, Connecticut.

Now I'm going to have "Freedom Isn't Free," "The Ride Of Paul Revere" and "The Freeway Of Life" rattling around in my head for the rest of the day.

Thanks a million, people.

MadisonMan said...

If more people were for people all people everywhere, there'd be a lot less people to worry about and a lot more people who care.

That's what Up with People reminds me of. And now I've got the tune in my mind.

Christy said...

I honestly don't credit the religion of any politician. I always figure in modern America it is more cultural than spiritual.

However, the problem with Mormonism isn't polygamy, it is the Mountain Meadows Massacre and the Mormon efforts to stay separate from the United States. Also, I do think that Mormonism enables misogyny, more so than, say, Southern Baptists.

Speaking as a hillbilly redneck, myself.

Steve S said...

Pogo: the "make fun of the stupid country people" meme that New Yorkers like. They much prefer a hip hop urban thug to a Mormon on a bicycle, as long as the thug lives, you know, over with their own kind, and are happy enough with the dole just to kill each other.

then Fen: Yup. Provincialsim. Tribalism. Leading to bigotry based on stereotypes.

Huge blind spot. They really don't get it.


Are you kidding? Do you really not see that your classifying "New Yorkers" in such a manner is the exact provincialism/tribalism/ stereotyping you are accusing them of?

An Edjamikated Redneck said...

Steve S:

Maybe, but haven't; First- New Yorkers earned it; and Second- aren't they actually proud of the New York stereotype?

Pogo said...

Re: Do you really not see that your classifying "New Yorkers"...

Of course it's a stereotype. That's the point, innit? Stereotypes have a kernel of truth, yet are unfair to and they mean to wound.

Sullivan uses a broad brush he borrowed from Hitchens to paint the necks of Mormons red, and mock their smiley jesusy ways.

But the writer Florence King diagnosed the animosity more correctly. She said:

" If the South ever secedes again, she could get a good national motto out of the three qualities she embodies that have made her the target of twentieth-century America's envious rage: Identity, Eccentricity, Complexity.

Identity: "Analysts are scared to death of Southerners," wrote Mississippi novelist Willie Morris. It's hard to have a fruitful session with someone who feels no need to explain himself. Why do you feel that way? "I just do." Why is it so important to you? "It just is." Why are you so angry? "I just am."

Often mistaken for stupidity, these responses reflect a granite sense of self powered by a value-control center of pre-set codes guaranteed to threaten the kind of people who attend alienation conferences.

Eccentricity: Get a Southerner talking and sooner or later he will claim to know somebody who rode a horse through a hotel lobby. This has been the ne plus ultra of what the South calls "colorful" behavior ever since mad, bad Sally Ward did it in Louisville in the 1840s. Other favorites include drinking in a cemetery -- a staple of John Berendt's Savannah book, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil -- and the kind of family incidents that non-Southerners keep quiet about. (I wrote a whole book about my family but didn't think I had said anything particularly unusual until "eccentric" turned up in all the reviews.)

"Eccentricity," wrote John Stuart Mill, "has always abounded when and where strength of character has abounded; and the amount of eccentricity in a society has generally been proportional to the amount of genius, mental vigor, and moral courage which it contained."

Big Brother and the Nanny State hate eccentrics. They're too hard to control and they identify with aristocrats.

Complexity: "The Gothic Mall: Conflict and Duality in the New South" is the kind of topic Southern writers are invited to tackle in panel discussions. A whiff of attraction - repulsion always hangs over these gatherings, emerging full-force in the question period when a Yankee graduate student asks, "Are you presently tormented by anything, and if so, what?"

America likes simple open personalities who inspire instant childlike trust. We used to call them "straight shooters"; now we use the computer-graphics term WYSIWYG -- "what you see is what you get." WYSIWYGs never shop at the Gothic mall. Southerners, on the other hand, must constantly be explained. Our warring traits --manners and mayhem, for instance -- and our tolerance for self-contradiction drive observers to distraction."

AJ Lynch said...

Great stuff Pogo. Thanks for sharing with us.

Btw, I watched Brian Lamb interview with the Nation's lefty loon Katrina Van Den Huevel last night. I don't think she is from the south.

TMink said...

Interesting comments. As a redneck Christian, they brought up some thoughts in me.

My understanding of the term redneck is that it comes from a farmer whose neck gets red from working in the fields, looking at the ground and the crops. His hat would not cover his neck when he looked down, thus the color.

Now I do not care if anyone calls me a redneck because I was taught from an early age that words are harmless. I know that this has been widely repudiated in some circles, but I like my take on it as being called a redneck, a nigger lover, or a pseudo intellectual has never bothered me.

Regarding Mormons, there are Mormons and then there are Mormons. All the social science research that I am aware of shows that there is more within group variance than there is between group variance of almost anything you care to measure. Blacks and whites are more similar to each other than they are to themselves because of real diversity within the groups.

In religious terms, as a Presbyterian I have been to Presbyterian congregations where they spoke in tongues and held up their hands while they prayed as well as to congregations that were restrained, boring, and quite formal. There is no monolithic Mormon culture, there are individual Mormons and their culture.

As an Evangelical I would view Mormons as Christians who embrace a heresy, that there was further revelation after the gospels. That and a dollar will buy you a little gasoline, and it makes no difference to me or the way I treat Latter Day Saints, but that is my redneck, nigger loving, pseudo intellectual opinion on the matter.

Trey

Menorah said...

http://www.saintsalive.org/mormonism/israel_mormonism.htm

Mormon theology is itself an ancillary, though less tangible issue. Mormons
see themselves as Jews of the tribe of Ephraim, one of the tribes of Joseph,
whereas Jews are thought by them to be of the descendants of Judah. This
means that Mormons hold themselves as coequal in status to "other Jews,"
which is why to them all non-Mormons except Jews are "gentiles."

Mormon’s believe Native Americans are Jews. http://tinyurl.com/27b7sb

One of the 13 articles of faith #10 We believe in the literal gathering of
Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes; that Zion (the New
Jerusalem) will be built upon the American continent; that Christ will reign
personally upon the earth; and, that the earth will be renewed and receive
its paradisiacal glory.

Mormons view humans as ultimately spirits, who lived with God as spirits
before they were born on earth. God chose a specific time and place for each
spirit to come to earth to receive a physical body.

The Restoration of the Priesthood http://tinyurl.com/2fs6b4

Jesus Christ as Chief Editor of The Book of Mormon
http://www.cumorah.com/bookofmormon.html

LDS Church teaches that God the Father was once a man and was exalted to Godhood. God (and his heavenly Wife)
begat billions of spirit children, the firstborn of whom was Jesus. Lucifer was the leader of God’s rebellious spirit
children. Those spirits who did not rebel become human beings in order to begin process potentially leading to exaltation
to Godhood.

Death and Afterlife Joseph Smith also taught that Mormon families can live together forever in heaven
if they are "sealed" through special temple ceremonies. The rest of us are what?

And Romney wants to be President, Priesthood, and Godhood?

Triangle Man said...

Although the term has been used both derisively and familiarly to refer to rural southerners, the term redneck has a richer history than this aspect alone implies.

http://en.wikipedia.org/?title=Redneck

bob1435 said...

Just to add my two cents about the Southron meaning of both 'redneck' and 'nigger' and why it should be self-evident that they should never be used, unless you are willing to fight for your opinion.

The pejorative aggresiveness of both words does not reside in their casual basis as a racial signifier; it is more pernicious. It is an economic and social disparagement with the ultimate conclusion that I, assuming the mantle of the plantation or landed-class, have decided that you do not deserve your freedom, i.e you are too wild, uncouth or violent to be given space to exercise free will of even the most basic questions of human existence; you deserve to be subjugated under ME.

As a corrollary, in the deep south when someone crosses two lanes of traffic without signaling prior, that is referred to as a 'nigger turn'. The epithet is not the sole property of African-Americans, but is used for anyone who commits the act. Sure, you could say that it is patently racist and a patina of that usuage does exist, but the real meaning is not dont be a nigger (black person), but dont be a nigger--someone who through laziness, selfish disregard or inherent malice endangers his fellow drivers.

It pains me to see how casually these words are used of late in 'hip-hop' and that 'i'm a redneck' subculture. There are many people who would shoot you in the deep south, if you called them a 'redneck' or 'nigger' to his/her face. So Yankees follow the advice of that Southron inventor of the internet and put it in 'the lockbox'.

bwebster said...

First, of course it's ok to laugh at Mormonism. Mormons laugh at themselves all the time, though goofy movies ("The RM", "Singles Ward", "Church Ball", "Pride and Prejudice" [no, really, there's an LDS version of P&P]), cartoons (see Pat Bagley), novels, and my all-time favorite, _Saintspeak: A Mormon Dictionary_ by Orson Scott Card.

Second, if you want to read actual well-researched history regarding the rise and fall of LDS policy regarding blacks and the priesthood, I would recommend _Black and Mormon_, edited by Newell G. Bringhurst and Darron T. Smith (University of Illinois Press, Urbana, IL, 2006).

Third, LDS doctrine pretty much ensures that the vast majority of people who end up in the highest ('celestial') kingdom will be non-LDS (i.e., not even proxy baptism) and non-Caucasian.

Steve S said...

Re Pogo: Of course it's a stereotype. That's the point, innit? Stereotypes have a kernel of truth, yet are unfair to and they mean to wound.

Sullivan uses a broad brush he borrowed from Hitchens to paint the necks of Mormons red, and mock their smiley jesusy ways.


And it would seem that you've borrowed that broad brush to paint right back. If it's the use of the broad brush that you're criticizing, I fail to see how you're not just criticizing yourself along with him.

Re ER: First- New Yorkers earned it; and Second- aren't they actually proud of the New York stereotype?

First, NYers have earned it as equally as any stereotyped group has "earned it," and second, no, not when the stereotype we are talking about is intolerant, elitist hypocrites (my judgment-laden recasting of Pogo's formulation).

MadisonMan said...

but dont be a nigger--someone who through laziness, selfish disregard or inherent malice endangers his fellow drivers.

See, I would call that DWO -- Driving While Oriental, lexicon that entered my vocab thanks to an old old friend who lives in San Francisco. An acknowledgement, when I use it, that someone is driving like they've not been inculcated into driving culture for their entire life 'cause they've been in China for a good part of it. So it says something about cultural knowledge, not selfish disregard or malice.

Hmmm....I wonder if the huge increase in automotive traffic in China will make my usage obsolete.

An Edjamikated Redneck said...

Steve S- Hypocrites not so much, but definitely elitist and intolerant, based on my (limited) experience with New Yorkers.

Revenant said...

I don't get why Romney should have to answer for Mountain Meadows, polygamy, or any of the other past wrongdoings of his church. It isn't like the other branches of Christianity have squeaky clean histories; most of them have far worse atrocities in their past.

paul a'barge said...

Sullivan isn't some hippy liberal but a staunch conservative

To be sure, Sullivan is neither a hippy Liberal nor a staunch conservative.

He is a self-infatuated, rambling incoherent and dishonest loon.

Pogo said...

Re: "And it would seem that you've borrowed that broad brush to paint right back."

Steve, that's the humor. I was complaining about Sullivan's stereotype by way of a stereotype. It's meant to be ironic.

Joshua said...

Steve S., as a New Yorker, I'd like to ask you to please let Pogo, Fen, Edjamikated al continue to wallow in their ignorance and hatred of New Yorkers. The fewer asshole tourists we get, the better.

Revenant said...

To be sure, Sullivan is neither a hippy Liberal nor a staunch conservative. He is a self-infatuated, rambling incoherent and dishonest loon.

I wouldn't say he's a loon. He is, however, the kind of person who applies labels to himself and then defines those labels as meaning whatever he wants them to mean. So the "conservative" policy is whichever policy he currently supports, the "Christian" belief is whatever he currently believes, etc.

He's a conservative in his mind because "conservative", to him, means "someone who agrees with Andrew Sullivan". He's a Christian for the same reason.

Jeff said...

South Park says it all:

“Look, maybe us Mormons do believe in crazy stories that make absolutely no sense, and maybe Joseph Smith did make it all up, but I have a great life and a great family, and I have the Book of Mormon to thank for that. The truth is, I don’t care if Joseph Smith made it all up, because what the church teaches now is loving your family, being nice and helping people. And even though people in this town might think that’s stupid, I still choose to believe in it. All I ever did was try to be your friend, Stan, but you’re so high and mighty you couldn’t look past my religion and just be my friend back. You’ve got a lot of growing up to do, buddy. Suck my balls.”

Dave said...

I agree with johsua. New York already has way more assholes than it really needs. No tourists are necessary.

An Edjamikated Redneck said...

Now Dave, don't be mean.

Maybe Joshua was acting sterotypical to make a point.

Or maybe I'm just being sarcastic?

Thorley Winston said...

“Look, maybe us Mormons do believe in crazy stories that make absolutely no sense, and maybe Joseph Smith did make it all up, but I have a great life and a great family, and I have the Book of Mormon to thank for that. The truth is, I don’t care if Joseph Smith made it all up, because what the church teaches now is loving your family, being nice and helping people. And even though people in this town might think that’s stupid, I still choose to believe in it. All I ever did was try to be your friend, Stan, but you’re so high and mighty you couldn’t look past my religion and just be my friend back. You’ve got a lot of growing up to do, buddy. Suck my balls.”

Agreed, I’d put Mitt Romney’s lifestyle against Andrew Sullivan’s any day of the week.

Pogo said...

Joshua, as a New Yorker, do you find irony a lost art?

Ben said...

I'll have to second bwebster's comment. We laugh at ourselves. More often than not it might me considered an "inside joke," but I think that the Mormon culture referred to is more of a Utah-centric thing. Or perhaps more concentrated in Utah, since I do see some characters elsewhere.

To illustrate, my wife showed a clip of LA Story in a speech class in Utah to try and explain the pros and cons of a Southern California lifestyle. She showed the earthquake-during-brunch clip where the only person phased was the lady from England. Most of the class didn't get it. It may even have seemed like a weird joke. But having lived in SoCal most of our lives, we bust up everytime we see that part of the movie. So it is with the movies that bwebster mentions. We realize there are a lot of bubbly folks in Mormon communities, but aren't there also some in all other areas of the US? I mean, come on. A good Mormon joke would involve the jello salad pins that were sold during the 2002 Olympics.

So yes, you can laugh at us if it is really a funny comment. Unfortunately, Sullivan wasn't funny. I don't get what he was trying to say. It was juvenile stuff. Might be funny to a 12 year old...

AST said...

I am a Mormon, and there are some things about Mormon society that make me roll my eyes. When I was at BYU I used to post announcements from the Young Apathetics of BYU on bulletin boards, such as "The July rally has been cancelled." I ran a "banalities" contest asking people to submit their favorite BYU banalities.

That was before Donnie and Marie, but then they WERE creatures of their time, and a lot of the references to them are like making fun of the helmet hair, garish colors and wide ties of the seventies.

There are a variety of Mormons in politics. Would you prefer Harry Reid for President? Ugh.

Romney is very smart, and he does his homework. At the outset, I thought he was so energetic that it made me tired just to listen to him, but when I think about what it must take to be president and get things accomplished, all the while being blasted in the media, I started wondering how cancer survivors like Thompson and Rudy would handle the stress.

The main thing is substance. Rudy and Fred have a lot, but so does Mitt. He's very smart and an extremely good executive. I know plenty of Mormons and Mitt is just impressive on any scale you want to mention.

As for making fun of Mormon beliefs, fine, if you're willing to have your own deeply held beliefs made fun of. Current American society practices polygamy, which literally means many mates, to a greater degree that Mormons ever did, but it doesn't formalize it and assume responsibility for all the children it produces. There is serial polygamy and adulterous or promiscuous polygamy as well as the married kind. What the early Mormons practiced was plural marriage, with the emphasis on marriage for time and all eternity.

Frankly, I'm grateful it was done away with, because I couldn't earn the scratch it would take to live to the standard those people were able to.

Bottom line: living in Utah is not like living on the Donnie and Marie set. I'd prefer Randy Bachman, who is also LDS. For every sneering joke about Mormons, I can think of a few about Jews, Catholics and Baptists. Offensive is offensive. Kidding and good natured teasing is not offensive. Just get up to date. Jokes about polygamy are about 100 years out of date.

I grew up in Gurnee, Illinois, the only Mormon in my school, and never had any trouble with my peers. I didn't belittle their religion, and they didn't belittle mine.

Fen said...

peter hoh: in the future, I will make sure to quote Pogo's offensive characterization of rural white Southerners instead of using a shorter term to indicate the same.

Oh calm down. If I was trying to crucify you on this, you'd feel it. Pogo was characterizing what the blue city-states say about rural folk, he was not characterizing rural folk. You're the one who thought referring to them as "niggers" was more concise. I merely dispelled your ignorance - you can no longer use it as a defense against accusations of bigotry.

I'm from Texas. I'm used to being called a redneck, but its gotten worse since Gore was defeated in 2000. You guys have been calling us niggers ever since, then act all surprised that we're not so fond of you.

And the irony is rich. The self-proclaimed enlightened and tolerant crowd use "redneck" to imply we are ignorant and intolerant, completely oblivious that they are calling us niggers. Its like a double-barreled backfire. Always makes me laugh.

Of more interest to me is the blind spot the Left has re racism and bigotry. I think its because they've used racism as a political wedge - "conservatives are evil and racist, liberals are good and tolerant". I've even heard the Left defend the racism of blacks, saying "but blacks can't be racist, because they're um black"... But prejudice and bigotty and racsim are human flaws, not limited to one party.

Because of this culture war, conservatives have developed the habit of self-checking their thoughts and statements: "..could that statement be taken wrong and considered racist? Is my position on this issue based on some subconscious prejudice?". But the Left never developed the habit, and they use bigoted expressions like "redneck" without even realizing that it comes across as "nigger". I have to admit, its amusing to see the way the Left reacts [esp the committment and consistency] when they realize they've been bigots their entire lives.

But again, I've taken that defense away from you. Thats all.

Kurt said...

Thanks for a sensible comment, AST. This discussion reminds me a bit of an acquaintance of mine who often says bad things about Mormons and who rationalizes it by saying that his grandfather told him how insular and uncooperative earlier generations of people in some areas of Nevada (our state) found the Mormons. But if someone makes a Jewish joke in my acquaintance's house, he'll ask that person to leave. I asked him one time about the double-standard, and his reply was that it was unacceptable to make Jewish jokes because of the history of suffering of the Jewish people. Fine, I said, but do you know that the Mormons were a persecuted group in America during the 19th Century? His response was to express disbelief at that rather well-documented fact.

Fen said...

ast: Current American society practices polygamy, which literally means many mates, to a greater degree that Mormons ever did, but it doesn't formalize it and assume responsibility for all the children it produces. There is serial polygamy and adulterous or promiscuous polygamy as well as the married kind.

Ahhhh nicely done. I think I understand now why Sullivan feels threatened by Mormans - they bring a clarity to morality thats been lacking.

Revenant said...

Fen, the word "redneck" is not even vaguely the same as "nigger". Get a grip, and stop playing the "I'm a victim" game.

Fen said...

How am I playing the victim? I'm just pointing out the hypocrisy, and wondering about the double standard.

the word "redneck" is not even vaguely the same as "nigger".

LOL. You're making my point for me.

Thorley Winston said...

Current American society practices polygamy, which literally means many mates, to a greater degree that Mormons ever did, but it doesn't formalize it and assume responsibility for all the children it produces. There is serial polygamy and adulterous or promiscuous polygamy as well as the married kind.

Trivia question: which US presidential candidate do you suppose has the most recent examples of polygamy in their family?

Revenant said...

How am I playing the victim?

Because you're trying to pretend like "redneck" is some sort of horrible slur -- a suggestion just about anyone who's lived in the south would laugh at.

I'm just pointing out the hypocrisy, and wondering about the double standard.

It isn't a double standard. "Nigger" is a racial slur, "redneck" is not.

Charging Rhino said...

I"m not supporting a Mormon for President; but not beaciase of their past; I'm disconcerted by their Prophet and his theological authority over any believing Mormon today and tomorrow. As a beliving Mormon and Mormon bishop, Romney does not answer to his own moral comscience; he answers to his Prophet. What pressures might a Prophet have over the decisions and actions of the President of the United States; who holds the powers of life and death over the entire planet via the Presidential "football"; if the Prophet calls in the middle of the night? At what point does his oath to uphold the Constitution and protect the people of the United States conflict with his obidience to his Prophet over some moral, ethical or even apolcalypic crisis?
I want a President of the United States who owns and answers to his own conscience; not to his Prophet, his Holy Father, nor any any other failible third-person. The presidency is dfferent than anyuother elected-office in America, and requires special consideration of who has access to it's unique powers....and who has access to the President in the middle of the night.

"Mr. President, the Prohpet on line-1."
"My son, I've had a Revelation, and ..."

Joshua said...

Joshua, as a New Yorker, do you find irony a lost art?

Nah, but I find folks who live in less-populated areas and have some kind of victim complex about it incredibly tedious. So please stay away. Normal tourists are welcome, it's just people like you who should stay away.

Mark said...

Charging Rhino - and how, specifically, are your coments any different from the papist accusations against JFK? Look, it is apparent that you know little of the LDS community or the LDS church's stand on involvement in politics, so I will excuse your misgivings and reassure you that while they may not be entirely baseless, they are exagerated and misdirected. The Church leadership rarely speaks out on specific legislative issues, rather they rely on teaching concrete principles and let the people govern themselves within that framework. In Utah, many non-mormons worry that state legislators are getting direction on how to vote from Temple Square. That is about as likely as the Dioces of Boston or Cincinnati ordering those city councils to tow the Catholic line. In each of these cases, the predominant religious teachings of the population are reflected in the way the community votes and lives. It would be wrong to infer that any church is running a shadow goverenment in any of these places. It would be just as ridiculous to expect that the core values of the respective constitiencies not be reflected in the political affairs of the community.

Fen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fen said...

It isn't a double standard. "Nigger" is a racial slur, "redneck" is not.

Celts are not a race? m'kay...

peter hoh said...

Fen, I could have been more careful in wording my statement with the word "redneck" in it. You may note that I was doubly redundant, using "hillbilly redneck" to reflect the "this is the way certain people perceive a certain cultural group" flavor of Pogo's 8:54 comment.

I should have been clear that I was not in favor of making fun of people by labeling them as rednecks. I was trying to contrast that sort of speech with Sullivan's teasing of Tagg Romney's chirpy, Up With People vibe.

I do not go around referring to Southerners as rednecks. I know that referring to people as "White Trash" is highly offensive. "Redneck," I assumed, was less so. I'll take your word for it that you are offended.

For what it's worth, I do know something about the discrete or covert racism practiced by many middle class Northerners.

I comment here with my real name. I object very much to your use of my name with words that I did not type, as in your 9:11 comment.

If you want to educate, fine, but don't put words in my mouth, so to speak.

Fen said...

Peter: I could have been more careful in wording my statement with the word "redneck" in it... I was trying to contrast that sort of speech with Sullivan's teasing of Tagg Romney's chirpy, Up With People vibe.

Yah, I can see that. You were simply trying to be more concise.

I'll take your word for it that you are offended

I'm not realy offended, and shouldn't have jumped you, I'm just tired of the double standard.

I object very much to your use of my name with words that I did not type, as in your 9:11 comment.

Fair enough. Deleted.

Fen said...

Rev: It isn't a double standard. "Nigger" is a racial slur, "redneck" is not.

Hispanics aren't a race. Neither are homosexuals. Are you really going to argue the shades of grey between ethnic slurs? Lemme guess, the darker the hue, the more offensive?

Fen said...

Rev: I don't get why Romney should have to answer for Mountain Meadows, polygamy, or any of the other past wrongdoings of his church. It isn't like the other branches of Christianity have squeaky clean histories; most of them have far worse atrocities in their past.

Well that I can agree with. I don't understand why anti-christian types care about Romney's mormonism. Its not like they take the other Christian branches seriously.

As for theology and scripture "gotcha" games, I've always considered religion to be mankind's interpretation of God. And men are imperfect creatures.

peter hoh said...

Fen, Thanks.

TMink said...

Fen, stand up thing to do there. I did not follow the conflict, but I like a person who admits to a mistake and corrects it. Outstanding.

Trey

submandave said...

"Once religion crosses the line from the purely religious and becomes part of the motivation for achieving various political goals, we've got to be able to criticize."

You may not intended it as such, but this seems to echo the standard "you can't force you religious morals on me" argument that considers only the source of the moral teaching and not the content. For example, this is most often used to denigrate people who are pro-life based upon their faith but does not address the moral merits of the pro-life position itself.

All positions and beliefs are based upon something. That an individual may base their position or belief upon what another may thing as faulty logic does not necessarilly invalidate the final conclusion reached.

Fen said...

Fen, stand up thing to do there. I did not follow the conflict, but I like a person who admits to a mistake and corrects it.

Well, I guess I must still irritated with the Lefty demonization bs outlined here. Paul Begala is not an available target, and Peter just happened to skyline himself behind my target reticle. Again Peter, I apologize, it was wrong for me do that to you.

Revenant said...

"Nigger" is a racial slur, "redneck" is not.

Celts are not a race?

"Redneck" doesn't mean "Celt", so it doesn't matter if the Celts were a race or not. But, in answer to your question -- no, when the Celts still existed (i.e., long before the term "redneck" entered the lexicon), they were not their own race. They were caucasians.

Hispanics aren't a race. Neither are homosexuals.

"Nigger" isn't a term applied to Hispanics and homosexuals, ergo their racial status is irrelevant to my point. But I have to ask -- if, as you believe, "Celt" deserves its own racial category and "Hispanic" does not, what the heck racial group do you put Hispanics *in*?

"Nigger" refers to black people in an insulting manner. "Wetback" refers to Hispanics in an insulting manner. "Faggot" refers to homosexuals in an insulting manner. "Redneck" refers in an insulting manner not to Celts, not to Southerners, not to white people in general, but to ignoramuses and racists. And who gives a shit if those folks are offended or not?

And that's far too many words wasted on your pathetic little plea for victim status.

Are you really going to argue the shades of grey between ethnic slurs?

Southern dumbasses are not an ethnic group.

Fen said...

Revenant: Redneck" refers in an insulting manner not to Celts, not to Southerners, not to white people in general, but to ignoramuses and racists. And who gives a shit if those folks are offended or not. Southern dumbasses are not an ethnic group

Thanks for playing Rev. Wear that bigot badge proudly.

Ann Althouse said...

The answer to the deleted question about why I deleted your posts is that you are a banned commenter. It doesn't matter what you write: everything you write will be deleted, unread, as long as this blog exists. You can never redeem yourself here. I will never explain this again. Everything of yours will be deleted.

Mary said...

Ann, I think you're confusing me with someone else, perhaps someone else who goes by "Mary." I've only commented on your blog a couple times ever.