I could easily be a Polygamist. I like girls – and I’ve met many I would have a long term relationship with. If one, why not three? However, the TV series ‘big love’ makes me sick. Not because of the Mormons, which they often show in a negative, critical light anyway – constantly harassing the family’s decision to refuse Mormonism. No, what I hate about “Big Love” is that it’s the story of a bunch of scared, neurotic, needy, jealous, easily angered and spiteful family members all trying to hurt each other. It is the quintessential dysfunctional American family times three.
The little children are often neglected or ignored, the teenagers are rebellious, and of course it doesn’t hurt that the entire family isn’t allowed to make friends or bring guests home because they don’t want the secret to get out. Polygamy is illegal still – but apparently common enough in Utah that missionaries automatically assume, if you don’t want to be Mormon, that you must be a polygamist.
A major “plot twist” is that the husband isn’t satisfied with his blonde, evil-looking, perpetually pissed off wife (who he may have married only for some business deal with his nemesis anyway), nor his cute, but dim-witted hardly adult newest wife, and instead sneaks off for passionate hotel sex with his first wife, who he’s obviously in love with and doesn’t get to screw enough because of his sexual duties to his other wives.
I just don’t get it. What’s the draw? Nobody in this family seems happy. Except the husband, but he’s one of those Neanderthal types who just press ahead getting their own way, not caring or understanding what other people feel, prone to anger and violence. (Yes, I know, he’s always friendly, optimistic and happy. But that’s just a case of over-confidence. He’s the type that is unable to cope with real failure. He’s got an inbred sense of “Justice” as do many of the other characters – they treasure the virtue of “righteousness” which includes kicking the ass of those who’ve done you wrong, the Old-Testament “eye for an eye.”
I think Polygamy could work really well depending on the circumstances, but could only be pulled off by competent, spiritually mature adults. What I’d love to see is a family, any family, who are wise, loving, and happy; although, this would never be exciting enough to make primetime HBO.
Sure, a lot of people (inferior people – people at their worst) can identify with the negative qualities in Big Love’s cast. There are characters dealing with overwhelming credit card debt, characters dealing with teenage rebellion, jealousy, homosexuality…all sorts of things. And people dealing with the same problems can sympathize with these characters and feel understood. “I’m not alone,” they think. “This is a big enough problem that even TV show characters are dealing with it.” And by extended reasoning, they get the feeling that these situations are normal and OK.
Yes, they may be Normal. If the vast majority of humanity is struggling with selfish, baser needs, if they are consumed with fear, worry, pride, jealousy, then these are “normal” qualities. But wouldn’t it be great if we could grow up and learn to be bigger people, better people? Abnormal People?
The path to greatness, or abnormality, can be found in religion. Religion gives many lessons on how to become better. But unfortunately, religion in the hands of mediocre people becomes nothing more than a crutch or bandaid. It becomes a “Help Me” cry for assistance, rather than a burning belief in our own power to improve our own experiences.