Iâ€™ve been a little quiet lately on AMV because of dissertation work, but Iâ€™ll be finishing Zane Greyâ€™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. Donâ€™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 peopleâ€”including meâ€”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:
â€œThis is sooo inappropriate. I cant believe you think any body give[s] a crap about Mormon art and literature. If you donâ€™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 Â hell.â€
â€œdude. 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.â€
“I readÂ ByuckÂ 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.”
â€œI 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 [thereâ€™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.â€
“Your lucky obama is president cause im really wanting to buy a gun right now.”
â€œI 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.â€
â€œGet a life, man. No, get rid of your life. Do us a favor.â€
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 Â past few weeks have been for me.
At any rate, I understand that Black Beret Sunday may seem a little goofyâ€”or inappropriateâ€”to some people, but I think we should not stop trying to promote works of Mormon art, literature, and cultureâ€”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 doâ€”aside from wearing berets to church on Scout Sundayâ€”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 Menâ€”which has become a real champion (in my biased opinion) of the cause of Mormon literature. I am also optimistic about the feedback Iâ€™ve received on my academic work on Mormon lit. Maybe no one is reading it right now, but curiosityâ€”and genuine interestâ€”exists and continues to grow.
I say we keep up the efforts and not hesitate to let our maroon banners fly.