Posts Tagged ‘don’t judge me’

For real, though…

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

I’m sorry to be that complaining student, but it is a grey, grey Tuesday, and it is time to be blunt: does anyone feel like this book could DEFINITELY be more interesting?

I just feel like walloping Ms. Joiner upside the head and hollering, “Hey! You’re talking about class warfare and politics when you could be focusing more on the plights of individual prostitutes/converts! What about minstrelsy? What about carnivale-esque clashes? I need some ACTION!”

I thought things started getting pretty interesting with the gospel wagons, but they were only a brief snippet of what could have (in my opinion) made a really intriguing chapter or two regarding the convergence of religious and secular society. Sigh…

“I am the Mouthpiece. You are the Belly….

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

…Get into the harness, or get out of the way!”

Oh, what to make of this complex character, Brigham Young?!

https://www.google.com/search?hl=en&site=&tbm=isch&source=hp&biw=1366&bih=623&q=whip+and+carriage&oq=whip+and+carriage&gs_l=img.3...225731.244846.1.245006.27.15.5.7.7.1.244.1375.12j2j1.15.0...0.0...1ac.1.4.img.Z6bLEv2CREs#hl=en&tbm=isch&sa=1&q=cracking+the+whip&oq=cracking+the+whip&gs_l=img.3..0i10i24.473.2870.7.2983.4.4.0.0.0.0.538.699.2j5-1.3.0...0.0...1c.1.4.img.EGi9O_VaVf0&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.&bvm=bv.42965579,d.dmQ&fp=5d09ed3ab16fb5d7&biw=1047&bih=478&imgrc=VvPlf0lONXXOtM%3A%3B7dqcWZ5_raNDXM%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.christart.com%252FIMAGES-art9ab%252Fclipart%252F1769%252Frg-cartoon-1c.png%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.christart.com%252Fclipart%252Fimage%252Fwhip%3B300%3B210

https://www.google.com/search?hl=en&site=&tb

(Brigham Young cracks the whip on the LDS followers.)

Here’s just a smattering of what I picked up about this great Mormon leader:

  1. He was a redhead. (I don’t know why this surprised me; probably because I’ve never met a redheaded Mormon, and I know a lot of Mormons!)
  2. He claimed that he “only swore in the pulpit,” which I thought was kind of hilarious, since usually one would associate churchgoing with using LESS profanity, out of respect for God.
  3. He didn’t grow up Mormon. In fact, he was a Methodist for a while…
  4. He didn’t know how to read.
  5. At first, he was very averse to plural marriage.

As many others have said already, if we didn’t know these aspects about him were true, Brigham Young seems akin to Paul Bunyan– that is, he sounds like the protagonist of a tall tale centered around the American west. Considering he was such a fascinating guy just in and of himself, it’s easy to ignore the spiritual “repercussions” his leadership style had on so many people. But once we do, that’s when this American western drama becomes a horror story.

The Mighty Brigham Young, folk hero?

The Mighty Brigham Young, folk hero?

How can a man so devoted to his Heavenly Father preach against one of the Ten Commandments (“Thou shalt not kill”) by justifying mob-ocracy? In fact, I believe his direct words were that if anyone else dared bother the Mormons, they [the Mormons] would be justified in “cutting their damned throats.” That’s pretty heavy stuff, though I suppose he did feel they had been boxed into a corner of some kind (that corner being Utah), and had to lash out with whatever they had against “American meddlers.” As Mr. Turner pointed out, Mormons and politics never did have a harmonious relationship, which will make Mitt Romney an interesting candidate for study in the future of LDS.

https://www.google.com/search?hl=en&site=&tbm=isch&source=hp&biw=1366&bih=623&q=whip+and+carriage&oq=whip+and+carriage&gs_l=img.3...225731.244846.1.245006.27.15.5.7.7.1.244.1375.12j2j1.15.0...0.0...1ac.1.4.img.Z6bLEv2CREs#hl=en&tbm=isch&sa=1&q=Mitt+Romney+quotes+&oq=Mitt+Romney+quotes+&gs_l=img.3..0i24l10.8858.9921.4.11057.7.5.0.2.2.0.196.758.0j5.5.0...0.0...1c.1.4.img.aCXY9Pg73mg&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.&fp=5d09ed3ab16fb5d7&biw=1047&bih=478&imgrc=xbpf43UJCY7n3M%3A%3BElcVe4VfD6aM1M%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fa.abcnews.com%252Fimages%252FPolitics%252Fht_dirty_dancing_binder_ss_thg_121016_ssh.jpg%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fabcnews.go.com%252FPolitics%252FOTUS%252Fslideshow%252Fbinders-full-women-debate-quotes-17496665%3B541%3B411

https://www.google.com/search?hl=en&site=&tbm=isch&source

Then we have Blood-Atonement: let’s not forget about that little instance of “spiritual charity.” This scared me less than other things I have learned about the Church of LDS, but I can understand why it would horrify some people. As John Turner put it, Blood-Atonement represented a “chilling perversion of the Golden Rule” by advocating harm to others and feelings of guilt associated with the crucifixion. Now, as we all know, guilt and religion are no strangers to each other; in fact, they seem downright married in some cases. But when it is put in the following terms, one must really begin reckoning how he/she regards Jesus’ absolute sacrifice in a modern age:

“Will you love that man or woman/brother or sister enough to shed their blood? That’s what Jesus did.”

This example of fear-mongering within the Mormon community is definitely a troubling aspect in the Mormon community of Young’s time.

Not to geek out about ol’ Brigham, but I’m really fascinated by him still. He seems like (pardon my language, here) an asshole and a bully, but also a brilliant, dynamic, fervent leader who believed ardently in God and his own actions. I am doing a little bit of research on him on my own, and getting my Mormon cousins to give me their views about him as a central historical figure who shaped their faith. Therefore, I will probably be posting about him again later this semester!

Blog Anxiety…

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

I know this is just something I have to get over, but I am still not entirely comfortable with expressing my feelings about the readings on the blog. I feel like there is too much to say, and that I will bog people down by having to read my ramblings, or else I will abbreviate too much and then it won’t be insightful.

Any directional help from my fellow scholars? Regardless of whether anyone sees this post, there WILL be a blogpost regarding the reading and a separate one about Brigham Young come 8 A.M., but I’m just overthinking and stressing out in the meantime.

I’ve Just Met a Girl Named Mariaaaaa…

Thursday, January 31st, 2013

…and BOY, is she an awful liar!

Okay, I am basically going to repeat the sentiments everyone else’s posts have already expressed:

  1. Sex sells. Whether it be rape (*cringing, can’t believe I wrote that*), incest, or any other negative/questionable sexual content, it grabs the reader’s attention.
  2. Babies. Gotta have infant death if it’s a worthwhile story. (For the record, I HATE “dead baby” jokes. Can’t stand them.)
  3. Priests make good scapegoats. They’re the guys people love to hate. Who would come to the door of a convent, make hissing noises, and expect to be let in around midnight for some wayward sexual pleasure? A priest, of course!

But seriously. I know that in 19th-century America– and indeed, since then– there has been a strong anti-Catholic rhetoric going around. Sometimes, the faith itself was used as a basis of racial oppression, as well. Indeed, two of the most discriminated-against European immigrant groups– the Irish and the Italians– were primarily Catholic, and in the early 1900s, they were “hated on” quite a bit for this reason.

HOWEVER, I would like to believe that if I were alive when the Awful Disclosures of Maria Monk came out that I would have been at least a little bit skeptical. No matter how terrible you may think a particular religious sect is, would you really ascribe to them infanticide, rape, murder, and whatever else, all in the name of God? This seems to be a stretch, even for your average illiterate American Protestant who “didn’t know any better.”

Therefore, I must say that Maria (a.k.a., the shady Protestant males with a knack for tall tales…hey, that rhymed) may have put forth an interesting horror story through this volume, but no wonder it was disproved within months of its publication. It was simply “too bad to be true,” and the writing style itself left a lot to be desired– I think I yawned twice for each page.

Beauty and the…Bestiality

Thursday, January 24th, 2013

Just kidding! I will not actually be addressing bestiality much in this post at all, since that seems to be the theme most people have run with thus far, and I would like to add something a little different to the discussion. But I just really wanted to use that title, so there you have it!

What I actually wish to address for this week, however, is the ultimate “Catch-22” in Puritan Massachusetts (and, let’s be real, for much of history in many place globally): to be a woman. Oh, all right, we can nit-pick and excuse the “bawds” and official prostitutes from this category, although their lives were hard enough as it was. But for the most part, girls “were taught to please, to smile and fetch and carry, to stand on the table and sing” (95).

From this description, it seems as though females were regarded kind of like useful dogs: able to be of service to men when necessary, and be pleasant while doing so, and that they were indeed considered property, and therefore less than autonomous. The rules should have been clear if they [females in the community] were actually considered in this reductive of a manner, and there would be no question of whether one were committing a moral sin if she were only to behave in a way that is like that of a servant, pet, or child, and nothing more.

But of course, things are not that easy; on the contrary, the following paragraph struck me as confounding at best, downright befuddling (and harboring great punishment as a result) at worst:

“…A respectable woman did not undress before her male servants, nor did she lie under the covers with a man not her husband, but she might sleep in the same room as either. She did not sing or drink with strangers in the tavern, though out of hospitality she would certainly smoke at her own hearth or doorstep with any of her husband’s friends. She did not sit on her neighbor’s lap or kiss him in the barn, but with good conscience she could share his horse” (95).

As in our current age, the role of females here is a complex one– if a woman is capable of sharing a man’s horse, but culpable of adultery if she hugs him from behind in any other circumstances, where is it appropriate to draw the line?

I will probably do a follow-up blog post after tomorrow’s class, because there is a lot more that needs to be said regarding this topic, but I want to hear other people’s reactions first before I proceed any further with my tirades!