10.01.2010

All A Twitter

I'm one of those Twitter people.

Not just someone who has an account and occasionally posts about the delicious new lunch place I found or the cute guy I almost ran over with my car.  No.  I tweet.

I'm a tweeter.

When you're a tweeter, Twitter almost becomes a way to verbalize your inner monologue.  When happy or sad or humorous or surprising things happen, a tweeter's instinct is to let their followers know about it.  Ace a test?  We tweet it.  Bump our heads?  We tweet it.  Overhear something inappropriate at in the office?  You bet your ass we tweet it.  True addicts feel helpless when they can't get a signal out to share a funny thought that just popped into their head.

Case in point: 8 minutes ago, one of my twitter friends from South Africa posted that he had just learned his uncle had passed away.  I've never met this man in person, but because he is a tweeter I can say with some confidence that his tweet went out within minutes of hearing the news.  In a way that non-tweeters can never understand, this announcement sent into the Great Internet Void was an important part of this friend's coping process.  He needed to tell somebody, he needed someone to know he was hurting and he needed someone to respond with comforting words, and Twitter is a highly effective way of doing all of those things.

This weekend is the LDS church's General Conference.  I live in downtown Salt Lake, and I am eagerly anticipating escaping to friends' homes in the suburbs for the weekend, because the influx of out-of-town Mormons swarming around downtown makes traffic a nightmare.  Tens of thousands of Mormons flock to Salt Lake for the semi-annual conference, and anyone who ventures downtown is sure to spot crowds of clean-cut people in their Sunday best.

Earlier today, an employee for the ABC Salt Lake area affiliate who had access to the station's twitter account, @ktvx, posted a tweet which read:
I'm downtown eating. Surrounded by Mormons and repressed sexual energy.
By any logical assumption, the KTVX employee responsible for the tweet likely intended it to go out on his/her personal account but used the tv station's account by mistake.  It happens, particularly when using a mobile app that allows for multiple logins.  I have several different accounts myself, and have posted to the wrong one by mistake several times.  The tweet was almost immediately deleted, but not before a few people saw it.  Just a few hours later, according to Sean Means of the Salt Lake Tribune's Culture Vulture blog, the employee tendered their resignation.

Whether this was a forced resignation or entirely the idea of the employee, I don't know.  But either way, the reason behind it is the same.  Someone is now unemployed because Mormons are a) easily offended, and b) a huge part of the local population and economy.

One of these two things happened: either the (now former) KTVX employee realized they were guilty of Second-Degree Mormon Bashing (which I believe is considered light treason in Utah courts, but I'll have to check with my lawyer friend to be sure) and quit to help the station save face, or KTVX pressured the employee to resign to help the station save face.

For the sake of argument, let's assume it's the second scenario.

Because I'm pretty sure that's what happened.

As a culture, Mormons are taught that they are better than everyone else.  They backtrack and double-talk, quoting scriptures such as "the worth of souls is great in the sight of God" to prove that they value all men equally, but the facts remain.  Mormon theology teaches that they are special, a "peculiar people," the only ones on the planet blessed with God's true gospel.  They praise themselves on living "in the world, but not of the world."  They even believe that the reason why they get to be Mormons in this mortal life is because they were better than everyone else in the pre-existence.

A big part of Mormon culture that both feeds and feeds from this superiority complex is the idea that because they are at the top of the totem pole, literally everyone and everything else on the planet is being utilized by Satan to take them down.  I once had a seminary lesson in my teenage years where the teacher explained that one of Satan's most cunning tricks was using good people, like the then-recently deceased Mother Teresa, to make us think that it was possible to get to heaven without following the true Gospel.

Mother.

Teresa.

He then assured us that Satan's plan was sure to backfire, though, because she was such a good person she was sure to embrace the church in the afterlife.  But he warned us not to let that deceive us - because we knew the Gospel in this life, if we rejected it and just lived like good people but didn't keep all of the LDS covenants, we would perish.

This absolute paranoia, the fear that everything good or bad in the world is after your immortal soul, has created a hyper-sensitivity to criticism in Mormon culture.  Any time Mormons or their church are criticized in the media, flags go up.  Mormons accuse the critic of being disrespectful of their beliefs, a bitter anti-Mormon who doesn't care for truth, an obvious sinner who cannot understand the happiness the gospel brings them.  It is a Mormon's godly duty to pass judgement on others, but don't you dare pass any judgement on them.

Don't believe me?  Go find any news article, from any local or national source, online that gives less than a glowing endorsement of Mormons in any way, and read the comment boards.  You may need a stiff drink first.

Associating Mormons with sex is just about the worst offense you can make.  Inferring that Mormons have repressed sexual energy is pretty much like calling them wild animals who think about having filthy pig sex all day long.  You're sick.  You're perverted.  Mormons are a clean and healthy people who truly show love for each other by not having or talking about sex unless they're married.  And even then...

So, rather than face sure criticism from the local Mormon community for tweeting such offensive content - practically HATE SPEECH, isn't it? - KTVX fired the employee responsible for simply being logged on to the wrong account at the wrong time.

Shame on you, KTVX.  Shame on you for finding a punishment that fits the crime - like, say, a verbal warning.  Shame on you for not simply standing up and saying, "Sorry, we made a mistake. Our bad. Didn't mean to offend anyone. Won't happen again."

That's short enough that you could even tweet it.

3 comments:

Nick Wheeler said...

ANGRY COMMENT DEFENDING MORMONS!

Jk. I'd never do that. Sure do like this post.

Ryan said...

I enjoyed this blog post a whole lot. And I completely understand the whole "Twitter is my social life" phenomenon.

Too Hard Headed to Give Up said...

I had a conversation like this one about the Dalai Lama. Did you know he doesn't REALLY feel peace? He just doesn't know he could belong to a church where they pretend like they are perfect, fake their peaceful feelings, and don't even know it...

Can anyone honestly say that people like the Dalai Lama and Mother Teresa would WANT to be part of the LDS church? They just haven't had a chance to accept it??

Does that make sense to anyone else?