Thursday, March 7, 2024

Hofmann’s haiku: The Broo Jerroo

Yesterday's "tongues" post, in which it is assumed that an unusual word is intended to allude to at least two different words simultaneously, reminded me of a dream I had back in 2002 or 2003.

I dreamed that I was at some sort of social event, and that among those present was Mark Hofmann (who is known for having forged several Mormon historical documents and then murdered three people to cover his tracks, and who in real life is serving a life sentence in Gunnison). Mark stood up and announced that he had composed a haiku and would like to share it with everyone. He took out a small note card (about the size of a business card) and read, with what was clearly deliberately garbled pronunciation, something that sounded like this:

The broo jerroo
Ih is yerroo
The broo jerroo

I understood this as:

The blue Jell-O
It is yellow
The blue Jell-O

I repeated back the haiku as I had understood it and said, "Mark, that doesn't make any sense. And anyway, it's not a haiku because it doesn't have 17 syllables."

Mark gave a smug smile, clearly gratified at my playing such a perfect straight-man role in the joke he had set up, and triumphantly turned his note card around so everyone could see what was written on it. It read:

The brother of Jared
He is a hero
The brother of Jared

Utah Mormons are notoriously fond of Jell-O, so the Jell-O reading of the haiku is a stereotypical reference to the shallowest aspects of Mormon Corridor culture. I took Hofmann's trick as a sarcastic commentary on the current state of Mormondom, on how what should have been something deep and epic -- the faith of the brother of Jared -- had devolved into something having more to do with various colors of flavored gelatin. From Deseret to desert to dessert.


WanderingGondola said...

Hmm... Unless there's some silent-syllable trickery going on, that still isn't a conventional haiku!

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

At least it’s 17 syllables total, though the number of syllables per line isn’t right.

Behold, the Lord esteemeth all flesh as one

I was listening to an audio recording of the Book of Mormon, and when it got to the part where Nephi says they "did live upon raw meat ...