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You Know You’re in Utah When... 

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“You know you’re in Utah when ... ordering a cup of coffee is a political statement.”

That’s just one of many quips in the new book Green Jell-O & Red Punch: The Heinous Truth About Utah! by C.L. Crosby. “This book says what other books are afraid to say for fear of being ex-communicated!” jokes the press release from Nez-Perce Press in San Francisco. Clearly, it’s a must-have for every Olympic visitor.

“You know you’re in Utah when ... you can never remember the rules for ordering a drink.”

“You know you’re in Utah when ... the most stylishly dressed people are wearing polar fleece.”

The book also includes a “How ta” guide on: “How ta get sex in Utah;” “How ta swear like a Utahn;” “How ta think like a Utahn” and much, much more.

Speaking of the outside world, The Salt Lake Tribune periodically reprints stories from other newspapers around the country about Utah. In its Jan. 14 editions, the Trib ran a piece by Los Angeles Times reporter Julie Cart under the headline, “Utah, Mormons Wary of World Opinion.” A Tribune editor’s note accompanying the article said: “...This is presented to show how others nationally are presenting this issue.”

Oddly, parts of the story were missing when compared to the original that ran in the L.A. Times. Among the items omitted was part of a quote attributed to Stephen Pace. In the Trib, Pace was quoted as saying, “The church has never shown much of a gift for a light touch with anything.” The part of Pace’s quotation that was left out said, “Utah is a theocracy. The reason they [the LDS church] don’t go overboard in their excesses is that you have this complication called the U.S. Constitution.”

When Tribune Executive Editor Jay Shelledy was notified of the omission by our crack team here at SmartBomb, he ordered the entire piece run again in its entirety on Jan. 17. Ahh, we feel so much better now.

Meanwhile, over at that bastion of freedom of speech called the Deseret News, the editorial board opined that people lawfully demonstrating during the Winter Games are akin to terrorists. The Jan. 16 editorial seemed to suggest that they be banned or even attacked. “In the weeks following Sept. 11... Americans were perceived as unwilling to stand by and tolerate such things, regardless of the cause.” The cause in this case was homelessness. “Why would advocates for the homeless feel they could gain any sympathy by ignoring designated protest zones and becoming a nuisance?”

First off, the homeless advocates are peaceful protestors with legal permits. But stranger is the odd notion that a newspaper, of all things, would be editorializing that speech should be squelched.

The truth is, the LDS editors at the News don’t want the “Mormon Games” to be the site of disruptions like free speech.

Where they stand is, apparently, where they sit.

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More by Christopher Smart

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