Letter: Musical is a Mormon verbal Kristallnacht

Saw “The Book of Mormon” recently on Broadway, then “Fiddler on the Roof” the following night.

“Book of Mormon” sets a new standard nadir in the field of raunchy, bigoted satire, making good shock effect use of F-bomb, bestiality, sodomy and other egregious acts. The target of this: Jesus Christ, Joseph Smith, angels Moroni and Mormon, the golden plates, not too admirable Ugandans and so on.

“Fiddler” was written and produced by Jews (Stein, Bock and Harnick) and with literary finesse satirizes Jewish quirks like patriarchal authority of the father and the injustice of mindless persecution by anti-Semitic thugs. It is a true and lasting work of art, leaving the viewers uplifted and entertained. Two hundred years from now it will still be performed.

On the other hand, the “South Park” seventh-graders (Parker and Stone) are stuck in the medieval tradition of dramatically shocking illiterate peasants in the village square, using every morally low, mean, dishonorable, crude, scatological, unrefined, harsh satire tool in the historical bag of literary devices.

Don’t get me wrong. Parker and Stone and “South Park” parody have a place and a market. If only they had developed fully the satire of the human foibles of the fictional missionary characters (Elders Price and Cunningham) and avoided ridiculing the sacred and nonfictional elements of the LDS religion. Perhaps then the money-making enterprise could also have approached literary art. I wonder if they had written a similar piece about Jews, would they not have been known far and wide as rabid anti-Semites?

When I emerged from the Eugene O’Neill theater I felt that I had witnessed a verbal, Mormon Kristallnacht. If you can find a performance of almost any other musical, choose it over the unfair and mean “The Book of Mormon” musical now playing in Salt Lake City. Look at what’s on the stage in Logan: Utahfestival.org.

Larry Rigby

Salt Lake City

from The Salt Lake Tribune http://www.sltrib.com/opinion/letters/2017/08/06/letter-musical-is-the-mormon-kristallnacht


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