I’ve been a little quiet lately on AMV because of dissertation work, but I’ll be finishing Zane Grey’s surprisingly excellent (so far) anti-Mormon novel Riders of the Purple Sage (1912) sometime next week, and I expect to have a lot to say about it (and Ed Harris, for that matter).
Before tomorrow (2/3) comes, though, I want to remind everyone about Black Beret Sunday. Don’t forget to take this opportunity to raise awareness about Mormon Art and Literature by wearing a black beret, a maroon-colored item of clothing, and/or a cockroach pin. I know many people—including me—have certain reservations about the ethics and effectiveness of Sunday activism, but I am sure the following death threats I have receive will steel your nerves and lend conviction to your soul:
“This is sooo inappropriate. I cant believe you think any body give[s] a crap about Mormon art and literature. If you don’t like church art, you should just leave. Oh my gosh, I hate all of you hipocritcal Mormon baby-faced liberal pattycakes. I hope you all die and have a good cry in hell.”
“dude. no wear in [the] church handbook does it say you cant wear hats in sacrament meeting. this is so lame. makes me want to [c]lub you on the head with a wrench.”
“I read Byuck and I’m not sure I can support that kind of literature. It made me want to to do physical harm to the author, which is something I’ve never felt before. And now I want to hurt you for promoting it in church.”
“I understand that you are feeling concerned about the way Mormons devalue art, but I must admit that I find your concern unmerited. Our church is full of beautiful paints by eminent Mormon artists like Thomas Kincade and Joseph McLaughlin [Jon McNaughton?]. Clearly, no prejudice exists in the church against artists. I believe you are merely trying to stir up trouble to get on the news because that is what artists do. I will not be wearing a beret on Sunday, and I do not believe that anyone will either. Cockroaches are also an inappropriate [there’s that word again] symbol as they carry diseases that could be fatal. I am tempted to warn you not to wear a cockroach pin for that reason alone, but then I think the church might be better off if you do catch such a disease.”
“Your lucky obama is president cause im really wanting to buy a gun right now.”
“I don’t know who you are. I don’t know what you want. But what I do have are a very particular set of skills; skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you. If you stop this campaign now, that’ll be the end of it. I will not look for you, I will not pursue you. But if you don’t, I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you.”
“Get a life, man. No, get rid of your life. Do us a favor.”
I received a few more, but they were too full of expletives and brimstone to share on a site like this one. Did anyone else receive any? I hope that I was the only one. I can’t express how horrible these past few weeks have been for me.
At any rate, I understand that Black Beret Sunday may seem a little goofy—or inappropriate—to some people, but I think we should not stop trying to promote works of Mormon art, literature, and culture—particularly works that get little attention outside of sites like this one. All of us have ideas on how better to accomplish this promotion, and I think the best thing we can do—aside from wearing berets to church on Scout Sunday—is to keep at it.
I personally am inspired by efforts like the populist Everyday Mormon Writer contests, the art-themed firesides Theric has written about, and the book giveaways conducted on sites like Modern Mormon Men—which has become a real champion (in my biased opinion) of the cause of Mormon literature. I am also optimistic about the feedback I’ve received on my academic work on Mormon lit. Maybe no one is reading it right now, but curiosity—and genuine interest—exists and continues to grow.
I say we keep up the efforts and not hesitate to let our maroon banners fly.