It’s fun to see the Mormons at the zoo


I realized the other day when I heard the last five minutes of Terry Gross‘s interview with Trey Parker and Matt Stone about their musical The Book of Mormon that for all the times I’ve listened to Fresh Air, for all the interviews about Big Love and Angels in America and such, the closest she’s come to interviewing an actual Mormon is Warren Jeffs’s nephew or Dustin Lance Black. Now, I’m not saying a Mormon should be interviewed just by virtue of being Mormon or that anything is owed us, but when that point was raised to me I was able to generate a list of worthy names off the top of my head, but regardless of how worthy these folk are—are they Terry’s taste? I’m not sure they are.

But I got to thinking about it, and for all Ms Gross’s openmindedness on putting together shows about Mormons and evangelists and Muslims and big African cats, she does not do shows on those topics in which an actual Mormon or evangelist or Muslim or lion is interviewed.

I mention lions because, apparently, Mormons et al are about the same as lions. An interesting subject for art and journalism but ultimately too alien to speak with directly. And, you know, when a lion-penned novel hits the bestseller lists, we might interview a critic about the book’s success, but not the actual lion about his book.

I don’t know. Too cynical?

Author: Theric Jepson

. Theric Jepson has been blogging since 2005, but he's been a gadfly-in-the-making for much, much longer. Most of his professional publications have been under his legal name, Eric W Jepson, but online he is better known by a variety of monikers beginning with the digraph th. Theric first published about Mormon literature in Brigham Young University's now defunct Collegiate Post, a student-run newspaper. That article is (happily) unavailable online as it reveals the tremendous ignorance of the author at that time. Theric has worked as a reporter and, briefly, the editor of the Tehachapi News. His columns from this time and other writings are available on his website. Although he considers himself primarily a fictionist, Theric writes in other forms as well. A partial list of his work follows. Blogs Thutopia The Weekly Svithe Fob Comics Short stories Afterlife The Oracle The Widower Nonfiction Living Literature Saturday's Werewolf

17 thoughts on “It’s fun to see the Mormons at the zoo”

  1. (which is a reaction to your post and not an answer to the question you pose)

  2. I will bet dollars for donuts she doesn’t interview conservatives either, but talks a lot about Republicans and Tea Party members without inviting them as guests. I don’t know if its so much a “Mormons” so much as “Conservatives” as zoo animals. The rest of the MSM is only slightly better talking with a Mormon when doing a story.

  3. The political is a possibly related but separate issue.

    In regards to your list, Th., I agree with it but none of those names jump out as a big enough cultural figure with a big enough active project to interview, especially nothing related to Mormonism. Maybe Brandon Sanderson and WOT, but there’s no LDS connection there.

  4. .

    Right. Which is why is may be that we’re really not worthy of the attention yet. Which is an equally unhappy thought.

    As for NPR, I don’t really buy the It’s Crazy Liberal argument, although certain shows of course are. Fresh Air is liberal, but not upsettingly so. I think the ails of NPR are more closely connected to what conservatives expect to find in a media that received government funding. Although that logic strikes me as odd. Shouldn’t something that receives government funding be predisposed to conservatism?

    Of course, part of the problem is that “conservative” and “liberal” no longer mean what once they did and it’s difficult to know, moment from moment, what people mean by the terms.

  5. Have you ever read Shel Silverstein’s “Lafcadio: the Lion who Shot Back?”

    That’s another way to increase your chances of getting interviewed.

  6. Shouldn’t something that receives government funding be predisposed to conservatism?

    Ah, no.

    Conservatism doesn’t appreciate government funding of such things.

  7. .

    I don’t mean that kind of conservatism. Which means I’ve just demonstrated my final point, viz. “it’s difficult to know, moment from moment, what people mean by the terms.”

  8. I listened to the show (I’m hit and miss with Terry Gross) and I thought it was fine. It seems like her style to just interview the artist.

    For what its worth, I don’t think this is an NPR thing. Tom Ashbrook (On Point) did a similar show but with the Robert Lopez instead of Matt and Trey. The whole second half of the show featured an almost unnecessary amount of Mormons and Mormon bloggers.

  9. Spoke with. He had a couple Mormon guests on and took several calls from Mormons.

  10. Is Fresh Air not thinking about Stephanie Meyer? Is she too pop culture? I have moved to a radio-free-USA location and have not listened to NPR much for years, but surely there is some fresh angle to take with Twilight.

  11. Tre Parker and Matt Stone will be the public face of Mormonism until Mormonism grabs itself by it’s cajones, mans-up and does them one better. The problem with that is that most Mormons think Donny and Marie are witty, musical powerhouses. It’s no wonder, for the past two generations potential Mormons have been specifically targeted and recruited based upon their feelings for this less-than-dynamic duo. It’s no big conspiracy: like begets like, and like recruits like. The same nearly anti-social characteristics that makes for artistic genius makes for very bad sheep, and the LDS church values sheep more than shepherds. Another seven or eighth thousand words would explain it better. Check my blog. Thanks. Like the space here.

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