Hey all. Since the economy has degraded to the point of near-Depression, I'm now considering alternative careers. One of those ideas that's been percolating is that of novelist. Below are some of my ideas (some half-baked, all deadly serious). Let me know what you think... 1. The Blogger A novel loosely based on the John Grisham paradigm: young lawyer gets sucked into soulless void of law practice; young, heretofore innocent lawyer realizes soul is being sucked away; young, outrageously attractive lawyer finds redemption outside of the law by brilliantly beating the law at its own game in a way that would never happen in the real world; young, now-world-wise lawyer makes money/gets girl/goes free/wins salvation, etc. Only this time, make it a young blogger. With a pseudo-serious blog. And a murder mystery. With attractive people. And cool technology. And Knights Templar. Speaking of which... 2. Templar, Templar! The true story of the Knights Templar, as told through their flamboyant, flippant, and final leader, Steven of Suxley. In the days leading up to the massacre of Friday the 13th, Suxley hilariously manages to offend the collective political leaders of Western Europe and Pope Clement V. Suxley's tragic adventure must be read to be believed, but let us just say that the Knights Templar were perhaps the first military-slash-musical group to attempt a world-wide "sing-in for peace." 3. Bucking Around: A Bison Story After spending years with a migratory herd of bison near the Yellowstone Caldera, author Carlos Frederick's autobiographical sketch reveals a man who has accepted his inner buffalo and shed the mortal trappings of humanity. Through his oft-harrowing narrative, Frederick cautiously meanders from the herd's reluctance to accept him as one of their own (they were "just so damned sulky all the time. It was like living with Eeyore. Only this was a herd of Eeyores that couldn't moan about their misplaced tails.") to his misguided efforts to literally "throw off the homosapien and embrace the bull raging inside." NOTE to Readers: Do not literally embrace raging bull bison. Ever. Towards the end of his journey, Frederick's post-punk, Mowatian tendencies lead him to the inevitable face-off between his latent humanity and his inner buffalo. All this set against the backdrop of Frederick achingly losing himself in the "deep, moony eyes" of a cow bison he tenderly nicknames "Bedonka-Donk." Like all such deep-immersion animal biographies, Frederick learns more about his own humanity than that of the buffalo--"They said nothing when I left them; but I knew that day that they would chew grass with a little more passion, grunt with a touch more panache, and awesomely defecate with a flare I would never reach in this brief mortality. I knew not what it was to be human until I moseyed through the plains with ... the bison." Consider us a part of the herd. Is it a tire-screeching, globe-trotting, page-turning thriller set in the Italian Alps, Northern China, and Antarctica, respectively... ...or is it a study in early childhood euphemisms for...ahem..."boom boom?" Why, it's BOTH! 5. My Big Fat Zombie Wedding This is my favorite cash-cow idea of the last five minutes or so. In it, I will simultaneously capitalize on: (1) Everyone's fascination with old horror-genre classes and turning tropes on their heads. My zombies, much like Stephenie Meyer's vegetarian vampires, will still desperately crave brains, but will heroically refrain from indulging in them. Unlike their "Night of the Living Dead" brethren who famously moaned "Brains," the clarion call of these high-class zombies will instead be a Shakespearean shout-out: "Stains." As in, "Out, damn'd spot! out, I say!" (2) The Wedding craze. Just check out Utah County's finest non-satirical(?) periodical: Square Magazine. (3) Satire. Loads and loads of unapologetic satire. If my generation was a mass of unthinking, crowd-following, quasi-neanderthals with only one desire, we would wander the streets with our arms outstretched groaning "Satire." That, or "facebook."
I don't know how to react to the HBO-"Big Love"-Temple Ceremony-drama. Granted, I haven't lost much sleep over it, but I find myself thinking about it today. Some of my peers and friends have already reacted very strongly--circling email chains, encouraging boycotts and sending strongly worded complaints to HBO en masse. They are not alone. For the Church's official reaction to Big Love's conflation of LDS theology and practice with some of the more unorthodox polygamous groups in the greater Intermountain West area, go here; and for how the Church encourages members to react, check this very interesting article. As for the actual depiction of the temple ceremony in Big Love, I haven't seen it. I don't know how extensive, detailed, or even potentially offensive it is. I think I can safely say that the whole thing doesn't quite pass the "smell" test, but I don't know exactly how to react. Yet. I'm sure I will develop a more full opinion in the coming days. However, in an effort to find the silver lining in every dark cloud (and fill up my yellow balloon even more), I have to look at this situation as another way to get my sometimes-obscure, oft-misunderstood faith out there in the public eye. I'm a firm believer in the marketplace of ideas, and as such, I view full, frank discussion of ideals--even religious ones--as a good thing. Putting pressure on ideas, questioning them, shedding light on them, can expose silly ideas--*cough, cough* the Snuggie...? *cough*--for what they are and reinforce and give support to the good ones. I love my faith. And I firmly believe that, after surviving decades of polarizing internal politics and scrutiny by heretics, skeptics, scholars, and even the US Government, that faith will survive the scrutiny of a mediocre fictional work on a pay-cable production. Obviously, misrepresentations, slander, and disrespectful portrayals of religious acts we as Latter-Day Saints hold eternally dear is done in bad taste. But if this Big Love episode does one thing, it gets the discussion ball rolling. And that can hardly be bad. One good fruit of this whole hullabaloo? Below you can watch a short clip produced by the LDS Church in order to better explain why our temples are so dear to us, and ultimately why Big Love's portrayal of what goes on in them could understandably offend.