The Book of Mormon: Why are people freaked out by athiests even when they're funny?
First of all, The Book of Mormon is, bar none, the best thing I've ever seen. Ever. I've seen a lot of things, too. Even George Carlin. The Book of Mormon is so good, I wish it was running on a loop in my head twenty four hours a day. It makes me want to move to New York and see it every day. I laughed so hard I wept. When it was over I thought I was afraid I would fall into a deep depression because I don't think I'll ever see anything better. But I digress.
The Book of Mormon is a musical about religion written by athiests. It is about the absurdity of religious dogmatism and belief. Not even just Mormonism, but the absurdity of all religion and the ability to believe it and base your life around it. I'm really not trying to be controversial. That's just what it's about. Like Cats is about cats. There is no room for interpretation because it couldn't be more blatant. Penn, I am so glad you addressed this and talked about Maureen Dowd's ridiculous editorial and as glowing as the New York Times review was it said the same thing: "in the end, it's really about faith". WTF?? That is insane. It couldn't be less about faith. I just don't understand why people (reviewers, friends who have seen it, people on the street, etc.) have such hard time admitting what the show is actually about. Is it because it's just so damned enjoyable that they can't possibly wrap the head around the fact that they enjoyed something created by the godless? Is it too much to ask that a piece of art with a brave, incredibly clear message and opinion could actually make them think and question their own lives and beliefs? Isn't that what art is about anyway? I have never once sat through a great production of Jesus Christ Superstar or Godspell or listened to an amazing sermon and music at a Gospel church and said, "hey, that was great. But in the end, it was really about athiesm," just because I happen to be an athiest, because that's just not what it's about at all. It makes no sense to me. I don't understand. I actually saw the show during previews and while being completely blown away, was so excited to see how this would inspire a provocative dialogue and maybe even possible self reflection for all the faithful. Alas, no. It's 2011 and there is still so much vitriol for athiests and actually questioning these ridiculous mythologies that people can't even admit when they have enjoyed something that is all about it. My point is My Big Fat Greek Wedding was not about Chinese people. I still have no idea what makes people invert a message so completely. Thoughts, anyone?