Last week the OC Weekly’s cover depicted Mitt Romney as the angel Moroni and called him a moron.
Needless to say, the Mormon community was not happy. Many of them insisted, presumably because their beliefs are so special, that the OC Weekly should be reticent to post things offending their beliefs (to hell with everybody else).
Starting on Wednesday and continuing ever since, Mormons from across the country but mostly centered around the Newport Beach LDS temple have called and written in to complain that our cover is offensive to their religion, that Romney is a good man, that Mormons have never hurt anyone (tell that to folks affected by Proposition 8), that they’re going to stop their subscription to the Weekly, that we would never mock Muslims that way (we did, by printing an image of the Prophet Mohammed back in 2006, and Muslims didn’t give a shit because they understood the context), that they’re never going to read the “Register” again (please follow through on that!), and that they’re going to start an advertiser boycott unless we apologize for the cover.
Many publications here would retract the cover. At best, they would keep the cover and ignore the complaints. But not the OC Weekly. No, they paid the Mormons the courtesy (and the respect) of communicating in a very forthright fashion. Like god said to the millions doing 40 day prayer rallies before Obama was re-elected, the OC Weekly firmly, and without equivocation, told the Mormons “no.”
We’re not going to apologize, because while Moroni might be a sacred part of the LDS, Jesus is even sacred-er–and we’ve depicted him as everything from a pothead to a businessman to hanging out with aliens to worse, and far more gratuitously than the spot-on satire that is Romney as Moroni, with the beautiful pun of “Moron!” thrown in (by the way, don’t think I’m humblebragging here: this is all the genius of Coker). What’s good for the Nazarene is good for some angel, no?
The most reassuring words I can tell you Mormons who have written in angrily is that we are equal opportunity offenders here, and we’ve barely even ever paid any attention to Mormons in OC in the first place except for asshole Garden Grove mayor Bruce Broadwater–and we blame his assholery on the fact that he’s an asshole and not his religion. Ustedes should be happy that Romney wasn’t a Catholic or a Chuckie-bot from Calvary Chapel, as we would’ve been ruthless, and I would’ve responded to complaints from those faithful with a big HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Mormons? Meh…
You know what’s a great way to inoculate yourselves against being mocked for your beliefs? Have beliefs that aren’t ridiculous. You’ll notice how people mocking evolution get regularly exposed as rubes. It’s hard to mock something that’s supported by evidence without looking like a dunce yourself.
In this case, Mitt ran an incompetent campaign in which he disparaged almost half the population before saying he didn’t mean it, and then doubling down on his original statement after the election, confirming what was obvious to 51% of the voters: that Mitt Romney was a gratuitous liar, even by politician standards, who would say anything and everything to get elected. His VP candidate shoved his way into a soup kitchen, not to help the poor, but to wash clean dishes to give voters the impression that he wanted to help the poor. Anybody arguing that Mitt Romney is not often comically foolish will lose on the facts. The only remaining way to come out of a discussion unscathed for such people is the kill the conversation. Many religious people have figured out that shrieking about how offended they are accomplishes this every time.
I dream of a world where those protestations are met with an ambivalent “so what?” leaving the faithful to defend their position if they don’t want to look ridiculous.