Thatz Not Okay: The Erotic Books of Mormon; A Facebook Snub HubbubSWelcome to Thatz Not Okay, a regular column in which I school inquiring readers on what is and is not okay. Please send your questions (max: 200 words) to caity@gawker.com with the subject "Thatz Not Okay."

I'm a literary agent specializing in Young Adult fiction, and I often hire recent college grads to give reader's reports on new manuscripts. Lately, I've run into some trouble with Mormons. There are a lot of Mormon women involved with YA, because literature is a big mission front of the Church. (I’ve heard that children's lit is a required course at BYU.) In the last few years, I've been getting scathing reader's reports that miss huge chunks of the story being reviewed. Several readers have told me that they abstain from reading any passages that are too sexy. I want to start asking applicants if they are Mormons, so that I can not hire them, but that feels like bigotry. But seriously, they can't perform the job. So maybe I should ask in my ads if they are averse to sexuality? Thing is, I'm not an erotica person and don't want to sound like one. I just like good books and don't like Mormonism. Is that okay?

Thatz not okay.

Good books and Mormonism are not two diametrically opposed things. Saying “I just like good books and don't like Mormonism,” is like saying “I hate lettuce and I love automobiles” or “Summertime girls are the kind I like but I’m allergic to walnuts!”

If you want to engage in religious discrimination without looking like a bigot, why not start a grassroots campaign to spread the word that Mormons are descended from an inferior race of hominids. Watch this DVD for DIY tips. If you'd rather get your message across with a big visual, you might steal an authentic (reproduction of a) “No Irish Need Apply” sign from memorabilia-barnacled wall of your local fast casual eatery, slap a photo of Donny and Marie Osmond over the second word, and hang it in the front window of your office.

Unfortunately the United States has laws forbidding religious discrimination (who’s running this place—the Taliban?) from "any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, fringe benefits, and any other term or condition of employment."

There is even an easy-to-use government website that explains how to report charges of employment discrimination, which hopefully no one who applies for a job with you will have to use, because you are not going to start asking potential job applicants if they are Mormon, RIGHT?

If you want to make sure the person you’re hiring to read a manuscript is capable of performing his or her job (which entails reading an entire manuscript), explain to applicants that, while the books are not erotica by any stretch, they do contain some “mature themes” and descriptions of teen sexuality that the reader must be comfortable reviewing, as a condition of their employment.

If you want to make sure the person you’re hiring to read a manuscript is not a Mormon, that is bigotry.

It’s unclear why you think sounding like a bigot is preferable to sounding like “an erotica person” (especially since smut peddling is a legal profession and official refuser of hiring Mormons is not). As a literary agent specializing in Young Adult fiction, you are no doubt aware that the most successful teen book series in recent memory was written by a Mormon. If you want to want to work in an industry where you are unlikely to encounter the Mormons you hate, consider applying for a position as a coffee taste tester, genealogical record destroyer, or make-out bandit.

By the way, that rumor you heard about Children’s Literature being a required course at Brigham Young University? Bogus. I scoured the graduation requirements section of the college website and didn’t see it listed as a mandatory course (because, come on, how could it be?), then emailed the school to double check. In response, I received a very kind email from a woman named Heidi who exclaimed “What an interesting question!” and assured me that, while it may be required for elementary education majors, it is “certainly” not a required course for all undergrads.

I just like good books and don't like Mormonism. Is that okay?

What an interesting question, indeed.


About a year ago my best friend decided to cut down on her friend group to simplify her life. I was not included in that simplification process, which happened to coincide with the year I got married. What has happened is a clear pattern of Facebook snubs. I don't want to be someone who notices that my first anniversary post was ignored by her and her boyfriend, but I did notice because the pattern of ignoring my happiness had already begun. These are my best friends who I love, and they like my inane cat pictures, but ignore my significant life events. This friend has a history of putting down my life choices (I love my life so I don't get it). Also I feel petty because: Facebook. I constantly feel like I am taking the high road, being above that, etc. when I refrain from treating her in kind. I give her space when she seems upset by my happiness, I initiate most interactions, and I know that she has very few friends, so I try to be a good friend despite noticing that she does not. I still feel hurt by her behavior. Is that okay?

Thatz not okay.

What has happened is a clear pattern of Facebook snubs.

What has happened is a clear pattern of Facebook snubs.

What has happened is a clear pattern of Facebook snubs.

Just had to type that sentence out a couple times because it’s one of the most intriguing arrangements of letters and spaces I have ever come across in my life.

What happened is a clear pattern of Facebook snubs.

I’m not sure where even to begin responding to this question, because it trips out of the gate and immediately veers sideways, at no point approaching anything close to logic. You’re mad that your friend is liking some of your Facebook statuses but not all of them? Or just not the right ones? She seems "upset" by your happiness but is also "ignoring" your happiness? You are taking the high road by not not-liking her Facebook statuses? What has happened is a clear pattern of Facebook snubs?

I guess we’ll start with the fact that most people don’t explicitly announce they’re going to whittle down their friend group in order to “simplify” their lives. That kind of thing tends to happen so slowly and naturally you don’t even realize it’s occurred until a year goes by and you think “Huh—Would it be weird if I didn’t invite April to my birthday dinner?” How did your friend declare her intentions? Mass email? Facebook post with 41 likes?

It’s come to my attention that are some redundancies in this group, so we're going to have to make some cuts around here. I’ll be announcing the friend layoffs over the coming months. I appreciate everyone's cooperation.

Secondly: You say that you were “not included in that simplification process,” which I take to mean you did not make the cut as part of her new, streamlined friend group. (Did she tell you on a Friday?) If that’s the case, the issue ends here. You’re not her friend anymore. She has simplified you out of her life.

(Since you are the kind of lunatic who repeatedly refers to “my happiness” in the abstract, it’s possible the friend simplification thing was just a ruse cooked up to cut out you specifically. For the sake of your pride, we will assume that multiple people were cast off. Would love to see some hard numbers on those friends whose positions were eliminated though.)

You say it bugs you that she (and her boyfriend—a united front implementing a clear pattern of Facebook snubs) like your “inane cat pictures” but ignore your “significant life events,” like your anniversary. If your anniversary feels like a “significant life event,” maybe your friend is right to worry about your marriage. Whew! Skidded across the finish line! Only 364 days to go until Anniversary 2! is not really a significant life event. Congratulations on not becoming divorced or widowed.

There are lots of reasons these people might not be liking your status updates. Facebook is a continuous stream of information; maybe your posts are getting buried. Maybe this couple is not self-centered enough to realize that their minor participation in a Facebook status provides crucial validation that your life is a life worth living. Maybe they just think that a funny picture of your cat is more entertaining than a boring old sentence like: Another year, another appendectomy! Every #event is a blessing, wanderin’ down this road that we call life.

Please don’t interpret me providing possible explanations for this pattern—this perceived pattern of Facebook snubs—as approval of your conspiracy theories. (I'm picturing a wall of your house covered in hundreds of Facebook printouts; numbers of status "likes" circled in red marker; lines of colored yarn running from a blown-up version of your friend's profile picture to various NON-SIGNIFICANT LIFE EVENT status updates.) At best, they are pointless, at worst they are insane.

You mention that you “refrain from treating her in kind”—I assume by very pointedly “like”-ing all of her status updates (maybe even commenting? “I really LIKE this status update!”)—because you “know she has very few friends.” But do not think you are committing an act of mercy by publicly appreciating your friend's observation of “beautiful sunset; so excited 4 halloween

You mention that this woman in fact “has a history” of putting down your life choices. Maybe you were never even Facebook friends? Maybe you were only ever Facebook acquaintances?

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