Monday, November 05, 2012

The Cult of Free To Be You and Me

Last Week, Steven Colbert, commenting on how Billy Graham endorsed Mitt Romney in spite of the fact that his website calls Mormonism a cult, also commented on another "cult" Graham doesn't like, the cult of Unitarianism.  (The Graham organization has taken this part of their website down since).

Colbert comments that the "dangerous cult of Unitarianism is so loose
 that their sacred texts are the Old Testament, the New Testament, and Free to Be You and Me.

Free to Be You and Me, some will remember, was children's album created by Marlo Thomas and a cast of stars with the explicit goals of loosening up gender stereotypes and empowering children to be themselves.  It's high spirited, freedom-loving, worth-and-dignity displaying and mostly pretty forgettable.  It came on Colbert's radar because it just had a 40th anniversary.

I owned the album when I was in my 20's...purchased with some thought of playing it for my own children, but by the time that child came of age, not only had technology morphed twice but so had society, and when I heard the Colbert piece I could only dredge up one song on the album in my memory and had to go to the internet to remember the rest.

After a trip down memory lane, I have come to the conclusion that a religious movement could do worse than be guided by the Old Testament, the New Testament, and Free to Be You and Me.   It beats the heck out of Atlas Shrugged or 19th century notions about race, family, and sexuality, the "third books" of way too many Christians.

My favorite, "William Wants a Doll", an ode to masculine caring, anti-bullying, and grandmotherly wisdom, which made me tear up.  It  can be heard, in all it's scratched-vinyl glory,  here

You can view the Colbert segment here.  It's about 7 minutes in...  I have to agree with Colbert that one good thing about this election is the de-cultification of the Church of Jesus Christ of the latter Day Saints.


Obijuan said...

I think it's only forgettable if you weren't in the target audience. My parents gave it to me when I was in kindergarten, and pieces of it stool sick with me.

Meredith Garmon said...

I got the album about the time my eldest was born. In our house, it was played over and over and over. RE: "William Wants a Doll," I think the first time I heard the line, "put diapers on double," I thought: "Double? Oh, yeah. That probably would be a good idea."

Robin Edgar said...

Oh dear. . .

That "stool sick" Spoonerism looks like a Freudian slip in every sense of the phrase. ;-)