Why is my blog called Inhuman Swill? Because you can unscramble the pieces to make William Shunn.
A couple more temple-tour accounts have come to my attention. Fascinating reading, to see the experience from so many different viewpoints.
First, this one, from the discussion boards at exmormon.org:
The first thing I realized as the tour began was that this was not going to be an interactive tour. The whole point was to get us in and out with the message they wanted us to hear before we could notice any oddities and so all we would remember was what a nice, quiet building it was, with so many cheery, helpful, people. You are invited to think about this and ponder that, but questions are NOT encouraged; there were no chances to do ask. To do so you would have literally had to interrupt your handler’s presentation. They give their message; questions can only come afterwards when others in the group won't hear. [more]And second, this one, from LJ blogger alphistia:
Once inside the building though, I felt like I was on the Starship Enterprise, Mormon-style. The place was loaded with Mormons of all ages, all with name-tags. Some of them were effusively smiling, others slightly suspicious of these infidels in their midst. Of course to be wearing a tag meant you were the truest of true believers. For a moment, I wasn’t quite sure who were the "aliens". In any case, the contrast to the chaos outside on Broadway and the controlled activity inside was startling. [more]Bilmo says check 'em out.
Christ, I'm sick of getting email from moveon.org telling me that the White House doesn't want me to see The Day After Tomorrow. Is it just me, or are these people getting annoyingly shrill? They're starting to sound like the PAC that cried wolf, which is too bad.
Roger Ebert relates the following anecdote in one of his reports from Cannes:
During the screening of [Australian film] "Human Touch," I had the misfortune to be seated next to a pathetic creature who was receiving e-mail messages on his pocket device, and replying with taps on his clever little keyboard. The tiny screen was bright green in the darkness. I asked him to stop. He said, "I have to do this." I said, "Then you have to leave." He continued to tap away. "The director is sitting right over there," I said. "How do you think he feels?" "I don't care how he feels," the cretinous man replied. "Stop it, goddamn it!" I said. He stopped for a while, and then took a little peek at his screen from behind his hand. "Why don't you go outside?" I said. He did. He was the only person who left the full house; his electronic masturbation had blinded him to the film's greatness.
After the screening, I mentioned the incident to ["Human Touch" director] Paul Cox.
"If he had started typing one more time," said Cox, a genial and philosophical man, "I would have ripped his bloody toy from his hands and smashed it to bits beneath my feet."
"I don't think he has an attitude problem. He just doesn't have a human interface."
Laura and Ella and I spent last weekend in western Massachusetts, at the country home of our friends Liz and Jim (yes, Liz and Jim of merry temple adventurers fame). Their house was fabulous and we had a terrific time. But one image in particular stands out in my mind.
Ella is a very furry dog, furry and fluffy and soft. Her coat, of course, makes her look much fatter than she really is. The country house is situated on a little lake, and when Jim and I took Ella walking in the back yard, she was bold enough to venture out into the lake until the water was to her knees. When she came back to shore, the fur was plastered to the bottom six inches of her skinny little legs.
Swear to god, she looked just like a sheep. I wish I had a picture.
Today at The New Republic Online, Alan Wirzbicki writes an interesting article about the significance of Tom Clancy's name on the cover of Gen. Anthony Zinni's new book Battle Ready:
from Paperback writer When Ph.D. candidates of the future write the literary history of the Bush presidency, the day that a Republican administration became the bad guy in a Tom Clancy book will surely stand out as a cultural Rubicon crossed. [more]I enjoy pointedly hyperbolic statements like that one. Does Tom Clancy wield as much influence on public opinion as Wirzbicki asserts in the article? I doubt it. But as one indicator on a political barometer, there may be something to his argument.
A clash of symbols
Our next stop on the tour was the Terrestrial Room, although Brother Creigh never did refer to it by name. This was a high-ceilinged, very bright and spacious chamber just down the hall from the Creation Room, and painted all in eggshell white. The light came from teardrop-shaped fixtures suspended from above. Several rows of theater seats were arranged in gently curving arcs before a sumptuous ruffled curtain hanging inside a proscenium arch at the front of the room. The room might have functioned as a particularly high-class playhouse or cinema.
"This is the next room to which the visitors come for instruction on their visits to the temple," said Brother Creigh, "and again it's very symbolic. The high ceilings indicate that we're moving more and more into the presence of the Lord, while the brightness of the room is symbolic of the light of Christ that's shed forth upon the earth."