Daily Archives: March 25, 2011

Quote of the Day: “The Book of Mormon”


A reminder that Parker and Stone are also brilliant writers of catchy satirical songs: “It’s Easy, M’Kay,” from Bigger, Longer and Uncut

“All religions constitute an intellectual handicap; the worth of a religion depends on the intellectual honesty it permits. It’s silly to respect all religions: Anglo-Israelitism, for example, is pure shit, and cannot be accepted without destroying one’s whole sense of reality. The Mormons, the Christian Scientists, the fundamentalists, increase the handicap by crippling the brain. Some handicap, probably, one must have: to accept a crippling one. . .is neurotic.” (Denham, Northrop Frye Unbuttoned, 146-7)

An excerpt from Andrew Sullivan’s review of the premier of Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s new Broadway musical, The Book of Mormon.

That is not so say that Matt and Trey are proselytizing. They are merely judging faith by its actions, and judging Mormonism by Mormons. We need a higher calling, they seem to say as an empirical observation; we need a grander narrative; and if religion can do that, and bring compassion to the world, why should we stand in the way?


It is the best thing they have ever done – musically, theatrically, comically. They are slowly becoming the Hogarths and Swifts of our time – because by trashing the world with anarchic humor and biting commentary, they are obviously also intent on saving it. And loving it regardless.

Shelley’s Atheism

A page from Shelley’s pamphlet

Percy Bysshe Shelley was expelled from Oxford for atheism two hundred years ago today after publishing his pamphlet, The Necessity of Atheism.

Frye discusses with David Cayley Shelley’s “atheistic” cosmology compared to Blake’s Biblically-based one:

Cayley: How does Blake relate to the Romantic movement?

Frye: I think Blake wraps up the whole Romantic movement inside himself, although nobody else knew it. You can find a good deal of the upside-down universe in all of the other Romantics, most completely, I think, in Shelley, where a poem like Prometheus Unbound everything that’s “up there,” namely Jupiter, is tyrannical, and everything that’s down in caves is liberating.

Cayley: But Shelley takes this in a more atheistical direction than Blake does.

Frye: Shelley doesn’t derive primarily from the Biblical tradition in the way that Blake does. Blake is always thinking in terms of the Biblical revolutions, the Exodus in the Old Testament and the Resurrection in the New Testament.

Cayley: In other words, Blake has a given structure of imagery from the Bible that he works with, and that distinguishes him from the other Romantics.

Frye: It certainly distinguishes his emphasis from Shelley. (CW 24, 959)