The Shinebox: Where’s the ‘Big Love?’

By and

It may be terribly pretentious to begin with a quote from Abraham Lincoln, but I’m going to do it anyway. The Great Emancipator once said, “Nothing is more terrible than ignorance in action.”

I couldn’t agree more.

Needless to say, our 16th president did not have the HBO series “Big Love” and the ensuing local brouhaha in mind when he made that statement-hell, he didn’t even have HBO-but it fits like a glove, nonetheless. Ignorance is taking action once again, apparently in the form of a mass e-mail protesting the network’s newest show about a family of polygamists in a Salt Lake City suburb.

No doubt anyone living in Utah knows why such a topic is particularly sensitive around these parts, and this onslaught of (mostly uninformed) criticism is just about the least-surprising thing ever.

Reports have been circulating about an e-mail being forwarded by, and to, members of the LDS Church. Their mission (ha ha) is to get the show canceled once and for all. According to a recent article in The Salt Lake Tribune, protesters have inundated HBO with e-mails and phone calls calling for the show to be axed.

First of all, as a Mormon, I’m offended that I wasn’t a part of this whole chain e-mail thing. I feel left out. What’s wrong with you people? Can’t someone send me the e-mail and at least try to get me involved in your (unjust, misguided) cause?

Secondly, once again as a Mormon, I’m offended that I am now, by default, associated with the kinds of oversensitive people who not only don’t seem to respect the basic laws that govern media and entertainment, but who are also willfully and consciously ignorant of the very thing they are so passionately fighting against.

Yes, that’s right-read the stories and watch the TV reports and you’ll find that most of the people who are upset about the show’s content and want to get it taken off the air have never even seen the show.

This is the second-least-surprising thing ever.

Of course, many of these people have seen the commercials or read an article or had a friend whose cousin saw it or whatever.

Unlike most of these very, very angry people, I have seen “Big Love.” And no, I am not offended by it. It’s not a great show-at least not yet; although it needs some work, it has its moments and is consistently engaging. One of the most common complaints is that it makes fun of the LDS Church, which isn’t really true. Yes, there are plenty of references to it (the show is set in Utah-what do you expect?), but nothing about the show is cruel or mean-spirited in any way. And it’s made quite clear that, while some of the family’s customs mirror those of the LDS faith, the family is not Mormon. Plus, the disclaimer at the end of the show makes it clear that the church itself discontinued the practice of polygamy more than 100 years ago.

Of course, these protesters wouldn’t dare bother themselves with the facts. Hell, they won’t even bother to watch the show. Of course not. They’ve seen the commercials! And they’re hopping mad about it! Hopping!

The show’s opponents claim “Big Love” is offensive and misrepresentative of their beliefs. Well, guess what-every show on TV and every movie in theaters includes something that offends someone, somewhere, somehow. Everything is offensive to someone. But that doesn’t mean we should wipe it all away. In fact, we must not do so.

You know what offends me? Those asinine Mormon movies that completely untalented people keep making, which A) are poorly made, B) aren’t funny and C) make every Mormon on the planet look like a complete jackass. (“The RM,” I’m talking to you.)

And now, with this petty protest of yours, you look even more like jackasses. And in this particular case, the shoe fits.

Does no one understand how counter-productive these kinds of protests are? The bigger the protest gets and the more attention you garner, the more people will tune in and the more popular “Big Love” will become. And this will all be courtesy of a band of idiots who use ignorance as the wind beneath their wings. A job well done, indeed.