Anti-Mormonism
March 01, 2008, 04:27 PM
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The intensity of anti-Mormon feeling displayed during the defeat of Mitt Romney must have come as a shock to Mormons. They put up the most competent-looking Presidential candidate, and he gets kicked around. In a very recent poll, 32% said they wouldn't vote for a Mormon for President, compared to only 4% who wouldn't vote for a black.

That must send a wake-up call to Mormons. For generations, they've assumed that because they have a weird religion, they will have to be the most normal of Americans. But now, being a normal American is considered weird.

It will be interesting to see how Mormons respond.

The next test of the strength of anti-Mormonism in the U.S. will come in the "American Idol" voting, because a 17-year-old Hispanic Mormon kid from Utah named David Archuleta appears to be more talented than anybody else. Here's a video of his rendition of John Lennon's "Imagine," in which he somehow turns the most hackneyed song in the world, the quasi-national anthem of Brussels Eurocrats, into a thing of beauty. The kid won "Star Search" at age 12 and appears to be a professional singer, so it's kind of like a 17-year-old Stevie Wonder competing against a bunch of amateurs ("Hey, Little Stevie, weren't you in all those Beach Party movies with Annette Funicello four years ago?" "Shhhhh.")

But the anti-Mormon Evangelical demographic makes up a big chunk of the phone-in voters on "American Idol," so it will be interesting to see if anybody can upset Archuleta.

By the way, it's fun to compare Archuleta's slight reworking of Lennon's limited melody to contestant Jason Yeager's attempt to make up his own melody for Henry Mancini's exquisite "Moon River." Check out the video beginning 45 seconds in, when Yeager gets a proud smile on his face as he unleashes on humanity the new tune that he's dreamed up for the line "Two drifters off to see the world."

Take that, Henry Mancini, I totally pwned you! Next, I'll do a couple of songs I like to call "The Purple Panther" and "Baby Hippopotamus Walk."

Yeager looks like Val Kilmer doing an American Idol parody on Saturday Night Live.

Also, I didn't find much on Archuleta's ethnic background, but if I had to guess, I would bet he's descended on his father's side from settlers who entered what's now the American Southwest under the King of Spain's rule many centuries ago. There's a county in Colorado named "Archuleta" down on the border with New Mexico, and most of the Archuletas in genealogical databases are from that general area.