Sometimes plans just go in a different direction...like last Saturday, when Baby Z was put into a music class with 4-year-olds, so he decided to walk out. So we continued on to Cabin John Regional Park, with its tot-sized playground and miniature train that Baby Z had to be pried out of. Then on to Canal Park for a playdate with a friend from the daycare, and then MoBob and Baby Z dropped me off for Kalye's Filipino pop-up restaurant with Sister P. The weather has been really tropical - oppressive heat and heavy rain - and little relief from either.
The BIG EVENT this past week was going to see The Book of Mormon - The Musical at the Kennedy Center. It was as blasphemous and offensive as everyone says, but the show did get a lot of elements about church history and culture right. I was mortified at how much I enjoyed myself. I totally lost it when I saw the dancing Starbucks cups during a scene depicting the Mormon vision of hell. I'm actually more offended at the way northern Uganda was depicted rather than the Church; the Church can defend itself (with ads saying "the book is better") but northern Uganda cannot.
Baby Z takes off a ring off the Ramadan garland for each of the 30 days.
Kicking around on a hot and humid afternoon.
"The Book is always better."
Interesting you mentioned the Book of Mormon musical and it's depiction of Africans. Just a few days, one of my FairMormon friends who spends a lot of time in Africa (the author of this book: http://bookstore.fairlds.org/product.php?id_product=1606 which I've heard great things about but have not yet read) was just complaining about that on Facebook. Ended up being a pretty long thread.
Some of his comments:
"For what it's worth, nothing in the Book of Mormon musical bears much resemblance to the Africa I've seen. For example, the King of Umuchieze has a Ph.D. from the University of Rome and was a Catholic priest at the time of Vatican II."
"But hey, it shows funny white Mormons. Who cares what it says about Africa?"
"As an Igbo elder told me this week (not in a hut bit a mechanic's shop: "Ekwensu bu amaghi." ("The devil is ignorance.")."
[comment from one of his friends] "That's by design, Russell. It's not meant to portray Africa as it is. Rather—and consistent to the point of satire—I believe it's meant to portray "Africa" through the lens of the horribly misinformed, and stereotyped American/Western/Evangelical mentality."
[Russell's response] "I'm not so sure of that. The absurdity of the Africans' doesn't come to us through the voice of Western missionaries alone in the musical. It comes to us from the voices of Africans themselves. When we laugh at the missionaries, we laugh at how naive they are.
But what are we responding to when the Ugandans say absurd things? Is it at a "horribly misinformed" missionary's depiction of Africa? No. It's at how two white guys and a Latino are depicting Africa. The only real redeeming value comes to the Africans once they have accepted Mormonism. Before that, they're benighted, in tatters, and/or depraved. At least the Mormons enjoy a certain goofy charm."
"Given the vacuum of experience people have with Africa, these kinds of productions only perpetuate nineteenth century thinking about the continent."
"One statement: made-up Mormonism managed to save the Africans from their "savage" existence.
Not all extremes are created equal, I'm afraid. When you make a Crack at the white Mormons, you're "punching up," as Colbert calls it. When you use nineteenth century stereotypes to depict 2015 Africans, you're now in the company of a long discourse used to misrepresent Africans. That's not an innocent exercise."