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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Why be serious when you can make stupid jokes?

I suppose I could write something about the Romney campaign, how Romney has figured in news media and how Mormonism has, and my general ire that such a man is a serious candidate for presidency, but I would rather recount an amusing portion of a popular LDS book.

Everyone has heard of The Work and the Glory, right? If not, all you need to know is that it's a sprawling nine-book epic of historical fiction centering around the development of the LDS church. The storylines range from the earliest inklings of Joseph Smith in New York to the arrival of the Saints in Utah; most of the notable figures from LDS history factor into the plot, which is about the fictional Steed clan as members of the church. Obviously I read these ravenously when I was a teenager, and I suspect that if I read them now, they would likely hold up reasonably well as literature, despite the first six being practically hagiography of Joseph Smith.

ANYWAY. At some point--I think in Season of Joy?--one of the characters, an Irish girl named Kathryn, is struck by lightning. During her recovery, English boy (and later husband) Peter reads to her. One of the things he reads is Robert Browning's play-poem hybrid Pippa Passes. Now Pippa Passes is most famous for its line "God's in his Heaven, all's right with the world!"--an extensively quoted piece of literature--and Peter mentions this line before reading it to Kathryn. However, Pippa Passes also contains one of the greatest authorial misunderstandings in the Western canon: the inclusion of the word "twat" where a twat has no business being (the line in question is "owls and bats, cowls and twats/monks and nuns in a cloister's moods/adjourn to the oak-stump pantry").



So yeah, just imagine good little Mormon boy Peter reading the word "twat" to his good little Mormon girl future-wife Kathryn. I have no idea when the cultural ban on swear words occurred in the LDS church, but I do know that "twat" was a dirty word back then as it is now, and it's amusing to consider a gently-bred young woman like Kathryn being like...what did you just say? I have no idea if Lund was aware of this line. Either way it's funny, because I have a twelve-year-old's sense of humor.

Also, mostly unrelated, but I'm a little bit amazed that there is no filthy fanfic for The Work and the Glory. Get on it, writers! So many slash opportunities! So many husband options for Jessica! Lydia hooking up with Joshua on the side! Polygamy! Sorry I'm not sorry.

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