Sunday, January 20, 2013

It's all a matter of context

It's been a couple of days and facebook is still rumbling a little bit with the program from Monday ( see previous post for those of you not paying attention :-) ) Although it is slowly starting to die down, asides from a little flare up caused by some American SA who felt the need to defend themselves.

Now one comment caught my eye from someone who said words to the effect that it was only looking bad as it was a matter of context, and that the behaviour was perfectly normal beach party antics in the USA.

This lead me think to the latest Mid Singles event held here in the uk, which I suppose when you tried to explain the concept behind a " inflatable chapel chill out day" members from another country might think we seemed a bit strange as well.

Grumpys response when I told him the name of the event was to say " Inflatable chapel? What's wrong with a brick one?"

Plus the way we socialise over here did seem a bit different as I couldn't really imagine a situation over there where you would get a really long hug from a ex-model who you have never met before and doesn't even know your name and then be called her angel simply because in a random co-incidence you happened to be carrying sudafeed on you.

But I'm sure no one wants to hear that story :-)

There was also a comment claiming the film did not show a very good side to church members because there were more non member producers then member producers.

But where did it all go so wrong and seems to have upset the majority of people?

Firstly I think it crossed the line from documentary to reality show. And no matter how good your intentions it's always terrifying easy to come across really, really badly.

Secondly it was on BBC 3 which has a very good history of documentaries. Okay so we weren't exactly expecting panorama, but then again we weren't expecting a repeat of the last documentary about the church on the BBC where the genius reporter asking a group of the trainees at the MTC what their criticisms of the church were! When we were told it would be about four single mormons looking for love and what it was like being a single member that's what we thought we would get.

We didn't. In only one of the cases did the man come across as what you would consider a "average" church single. He was doing the right things, acting and dressing in the right way but it hadn't happened for him yet as it were and even by the end of the film even though everyone on facebook was routing for him, he didn't get the happy ending we were routing for.

The others well they came across to me as superficial. Now this could be down to bad editing, but some of the lines they were coming out with, like saying they didn't have a requirement of looks for people to be their friends or that they would ask the lord for help finding a car parking space didn't exactly scream out well rounded and deep individuals.

Now this wasn't helped by the second issue, now I know you should not base judgements on peoples looks but the appearance of being superficial was not helped by at least 90% of them looking like they had just come off the set of the outset and the girls were affected by a ad version to wearing shirts and the girls were suffering from a critical shortage of material for bathing suits.

Although this did lead to a sequence which one of my non member loved in that one of the guys was trying to stop a girl toppling over and had a obvious moment of panic when he couldn't think where to put his hands to grab her without it looking a little dodgy.

Now a couple of Americans did turn up on the facebook group and offered a defence for the documentary and in particular the swimsuit issue.

Firstly that there were more non mormons in the producers and they had chosen the direction of the film.

Secondly,  beach activities are like that.

And lastly it was not a event organised or endorsed by the church but organised by church members.

Which was a interesting defence to say the least.

Now someone raised the opinion that it would have been better if it had been produced by the church. But firstly lets be honest, A it would never have been produced by the church for a non official activity and B the intended slant of the documentary is something I doubt the would have been wanted.

So where does that leave my opinion of the documentary at the end of the day?

It was a good attempt but missed it's intended mission statement and regardless of whether or not you thought people were superficial or it did or did not actually show the activity in it's "true form" missed that mission statement means you have to chalk it up as a fail


drat said...

Hi Saxon.

I saw the doc too. Im not sure if you know, but it was NOT filmed by the BBC, but was actually made by an American TV company, and then was re-edited for a British audience. (If you look on the iplayer watch the credits at the end)...

So maybe that explains why its not up to BBC standard.

Also, I must admit, I dont know very much about your church (well, apart from what I read on your blog) but the thing that got me the most was how much pressure you guys put on yourselves to get married.

It came across that people were so desperate to get married that it was almost like "wow, if I talk to that girl, maybe she will be with me my whole life - and the afterlife too"

That seems like a LOT of pressure. I mean, its tough enough anyway making new friends and for single guys to talk to girls just to say "hi" - but it must be SO intimidating to have to go up to a girl and say "hey I just met you, and this is crazy, but lets get married and spend an eternity together maybe".....?

(please note no disrespect to anything anybody does, and I know very little about your church, I am just saying as the point of view of a regular non-religious guy watching the show, I mean no disrespect or negativity its just an observation)

Saxon said...

ohhh just like that Drat goes and put a completely different spin on things

that's actually got me thinking, did it succeed after all? Did we as church members miss the message because we were looking at things from a member perspective instead of non member.