Last week we were on ABC channel 4 here in Salt Lake City. In the past Channel 4 seem to be more hostile towards our culture but we recently read a blog post of the anchor Don Hudson and felt it would be worth doing as he described coming away with a different point of view.
The show was early and we are all so tired from the now third week of media. Thank goodness too for the many friends helping with kids. We arrived early and they put us in the “green room” as they call it. I don’t know why they are called green rooms but every media place we have been in has one. We certainly felt green in our first one on Good Morning America.
This one is the first one where the green room was not reserved for only us. It was a collage of the usual morning guests, representative of the typical Utah public. As we walked in we got the usual stares. First because the ladies are so beautiful. I’m always struck by how pretty people get unfair attention. Then everyone looks at the bald guy and they try to figure how I fit in. Because we don’t meet the stereotype of most polygamous families the reaction was typical, curious but not hostile. They weren’t sure who we were and why we were there.
In the crowd of guests was a man in a conservative suit, nervously studying his notes who turned out to be a professor plugging his own book. In Utah fashion, the room was boisterous with several young children there, children of three moms there to sing together in their segment. Additionally, there were some runners, complete with jogging shorts, to promote a 5k fundraiser. Finally was a group of people from a local business promoting their weight loss program. They seemed the most nervous I noticed as they made eye contact.
After the first segment we walked back into the green room. Polygamy is a topic bound to get notice. The first person to meet us was from the weight loss program. As is so often the case around here, she came from a polygamous family, though her coworkers had never known. It turned out her Father, who was a Fundamentalist Mormon doctor had delivered Alina. She was not in a polygamous marriage but was proud of her large family and thanked us for sharing.
The professor ignored us, busying himself in his notes. The singing trio pretended this time like we weren’t there. We sat by the 5K group, and I asked them what the 5K cause was about. The main guy, a tall man, with a weathered face and long runners legs explained politely. While we engaged in conversation the woman next to him, presumably his wife stared intently at me. Her gaze fixated on me, unless I turned my gaze her direction, then she would avert her eyes. Not one word about our book or our polygamous lifestyle came up. I am not sure what was going through their mind but I would say that it is a typical response among people. If people will open their minds and listen I think change will happen, but most would rather ignore you or gawk with prurient curiosity rather than engage you as a person. We felt the interview went well, but who knows if the television audience will receive us differently than those in the Green Room?