I actually thought of a comparison to the sacred nature of intimacy during the hubbub last week but didn’t know how to articulate it. I’m glad I didn’t because how Blake put it is perfect! Thanks for quoting that here.]]>
HBO drew the line in the wrong place. Here is the essential aspect of context: within the context of the privacy of one’s own bedroom and covenants of faithfulness to protect the procreative potential for human intimacies, human sex is just the best that it gets in this life (in most cases). Precisely because it has such value, the problem with pornography (and out of wedlock sex for that matter) is not that too much is given, but that not enough is given. The value of the intimacy and context is profaned by trading it for something that is not merely of less value, but even dismissive of the value that could be realized.
The context of privacy is one aspect; the context of the entire covenant-making-setting with the complete reverence for the capacity to be instructed and learn from personal revelation is the entire point. That entire point is missed — necessarily missed and mucked up — by what HBO did. The temple ceremony was mocked by taking it out of context and using it as a dramatic counterpoint to tell a story that has no meaning to non-Mormons. The rituals can only look confusing and silly from outside of the covenant relationship, just as your sexual acts with your wife are pornographic outside of the interpersonal context in which they have such sacred, even divine, meaning.
Thus, the comparison to pornography is apropos. It profanes the sacred, takes out of context the holy and makes the interpersonal level of ritual performances into befuddled nonsense. Rituals have their meaning only within a context. Those outside the context, like anthropologists, are keenly aware of their limitations in entering into the world-view that gives meaning to the performances and rites. What HBO did was sheer peeping-Tom voyerism.
Bret, as I understand it, there are no Nielsen ratings for HBO shows because there are no advertisers. Their revenue comes purely from subscriptions, so there is no purpose for the ratings used on broadcast television. I don’t know if HBO or the cable companies have any way of tracking how many viewers the show had, or if subscriptions to HBO have increased or decreased, but I have not seen such data.]]>
I’m curious to see the ratings of this episode over the others. Anyone know?]]>
You really need not carry on like that though. You’re the freaking Mormon church. According to the media, it was because of you that Proposition 8 passed in the 11th hour, and you did it blindfolded with one arm tied behind your back. It was also your fault that the ERA didn’t pass, screw Phyllis Schlafly. You’re the second wealthiest church in the world (and the only reason the Catholics are richer is because they have 45 times the membership and have been around a lot longer), you have skills at organizing and mobilizing that would have made Caesar cry. HBO should be afraid to piss you off.
I blogged my full thoughts here.]]>
I thought that was pretty good, in an otherwise pretty bad program. If HBO would stick to the story of the trials of a pretty normal family who just happens to be polygamous, this could be a pretty good show. Obviously, that’s not the strategy HBO has decided to pursue.]]>