February 7, 2023

Distinctly American religious architecture: Mormon temples standardized Block Symphony style

In the previous post about the highest civic architecture in America -- state capitols and city halls -- I mentioned that political and religious buildings tend to be the most resistant to change.

Most state capitol buildings are some kind of Old World LARP (usually Roman), and the handful of exceptions are located along the old meta-frontier with the Indians, not close to the nation's origin. These exceptions are mostly of the American Block Symphony style, separating our national style from those of the Old World as described in the post before the last one.

Now we come to religious buildings. We are in a very lucky position in America because we don't have to look at the buildings of existing popular religions, to see how well they've adapted our national architectural style -- on the whole, they have ignored it, preferring various Old World LARP styles (Romanesque, Gothic, etc.). We're talking about the big impressive kind of buildings, not the more informal weekly meeting houses for every neighborhood all around the country, few of whom have enough money to build something impressive in any style.

* * *

We can do better, and look at the new global religion that was created in America -- Mormonism. It is not Christian or otherwise Abrahamic. (None of those religions accepts it as their own, and religious communion is socially constructed -- if they say it's not, it's not.) It's brand-new, created right here in America, with a distinctly New World genesis narrative, and a whole new set of sacred texts (Book of Mormon, Doctrine & Covenants, Pearl of Great Price). It does posit links to Old World roots so it doesn't feel so historically invalid, although generally the links are to the ancient Saharo-Arabian sphere like Egypt and Syria, not Greece or Rome or Medieval / Early Modern Europe (where we actually trace our roots to). In their genesis narrative, ancient or medieval action takes place in the New World with a mixture of New World and Old World ethnic groups.

The buildings most suited to impressive architecture are not the weekly meeting houses, but the Mormon temples -- a separate building for different functions. This is where Mormons hold their initiation rituals (endowment), wedding ceremonies (sealing), and baptism of the dead. This building has no counterpart in Christianity, where the daily / weekly meetings and the rare big special events like marriage, baptism, conversion, etc., are all located in a church or its surrounding complex.

Unlike Christian churches in America, the Mormon temples not only adhere to the American Block Symphony style, they were early adopters of it. Yep, you heard that right -- the supposedly stodgy, conservative Mormons were the avant-garde of American religious architecture. How else could it be? -- they just invented a whole new religion, why wouldn't they choose a whole new building style as well? If you want narratives that take place entirely back in the Old World, and a building type like Gothic cathedrals, you can join the Catholics. If you want New World narratives, and American blocky architecture, you should join the Mormons.

These developments both stem from the Mormons being a literal pioneer group that headed out West during their collective identity formation, before the frontier with the Indians was closed circa 1890. They eventually made Utah their base, but they spread out all around the West, and into the Pacific Islands and Latin America and other American frontiers that trace back to the Southwest gateway out of America proper (and even up into the Rockies and Pacific Coast of Canada). Shedding their back-East Euro-origin identity as they were trekking through the American Plains and Mountains, facing New World Indian foes, they needed a distinctly American religion to unite them in a sacred way, and a distinctly American style of architecture to express that.

For contrast, there was a splinter group early on that rallied around a blood relative of the founding prophet Joseph Smith, rather than the not-blood-related figure of Brigham Young. This splinter group did not head out West, choosing to stay in Missouri, no further out West than where the movement initially cohered, in Illinois. This not-so-pioneering group did not adopt the distinctive Mormon practices -- polygamy, temple underwear, Masonic iconography and initiation rituals, etc. They do believe in the Book of Mormon, and its New World genesis narrative, but none of the other stuff we associate with Mormons. They keep changing their name to disaffiliate more and more with the Mormons, so I won't bother looking it up. By now, they're de facto just another American Protestant group. And their architecture reflects that -- they never built temples at all, let alone in a distinctly American style.

So, even within this uniquely American religion (the Latter Day Saints movement), we can trace its distinctly American character to the fact that it made the out-West pioneering trek, well before the frontier was closed and safe. Their former fellow travelers who didn't want to travel with their fellows out West, never built distinctly American religious buildings, and were not at the vanguard of a distinctly American style.

* * *

To survey the evolution of Mormon temple architecture, see this list from Wikipedia, and eyeball the thumbnail, hover over them, or click and view a larger series of images for that temple.

When the movement began in the 1830s and '40s, they built two temples, in Ohio and Illinois, neither of which looks like a new style -- they're eclectic borrowings from various Old World styles that were popular at the time.

By the time they reach Utah, they start building temples for real, and the first examples are completed between the 1870s and '90s. The first one, in St. George, is clearly derived from Medieval / Early Modern European sources. However, notice how minimalized it has become, compared to more elaborate and faithful revival styles back East at that time. Much blockier and simplified in form, with sparse ornamentation. Also note that unlike Romanesque, Gothic, etc., cathedrals, or Medieval castle keeps, the main entrance for this temple has the highest tower in the center, rather than two high towers or turrets flanking a shorter central portion. The entrances are two, to either side of the center, unlike the central portal of a cathedral or castle keep. Finally, note the bright white color -- no drab dark grays, muted browns, heavy brick reds, slate blues, or anything Old World-y and back-East like that.

The Logan and Manti temples are a bit more openly LARP-y, and highly eclectic, reflecting the fact that they were still groping around for their own style. Still, they are restrained for ornamentation and as blocky as such revival styles can get. The Logan temple has more dark earth tones, although the Manti temple is more light and bright.

The last of the early temples, the global pilgrimage destination in Salt Lake City, shows them still groping for an answer to, "what if it were European, but in an undone way?" The grouping of three spires at either end has the center one being tallest, again unlike European cathedrals or castles. And the windows on either end are arranged into vertical columns, rather than horizontal rows ("stages") as in various historical European styles. Americans are obsessed with spires, towers, and skyscrapers, because they let us escape placing windows into the horizontal stages of all European styles that predate us and were created in the Old World. Still, although it looks minimalist compared to the source material, it does look like an attempt to "do European in America".

By the time the next temples were designed, in the 1910s, the American revolution in architecture had taken place. Now the Mormons didn't have to invent their own style -- they could take the new American Block Symphony created in Chicago, and be one of the many out-West adopters of it. The Mormon architect duo of Pope & Burton immediately seized on the Prairie School approach of Frank Lloyd Wright, and with the temples in Laie, Hawaii, and Cardston, Alberta (Canada), they began the standardization of Mormon religious architecture to adhere to American Block Symphony, rather than grasp at European roots or do outright Old World revivals. The Mesa temple from the late '20s is also minimalist and blocky.

There are isolated examples of non-Mormon religions building a blocky American style church -- including the Prairie School, such as the Unity Temple (for Unitarians) in Chicago, from a decade earlier, in the 1900s. And there's a '30s Art Deco building for Catholics in suburban Detroit, Michigan (National Shrine of the Little Flower Basilica Catholic Church).

However, no other religion took this style and standardized it for their future buildings. Only the Mormons have made the American Block style sacred and inviolable, rather than an amusing fad in the fashion cycle. Nearly all of the roughly 200 temples by now have respected that choice, however it may sometimes syncretize with local styles outside of America -- or indeed, back East, where the culture is only kinda-American, and kinda-Old-World-LARP. (One of the few major exceptions is located in WASP central of Hartford, Connecticut.) Mormonism is the only religion for whom so-called "Modernism" is traditional, historical, and sacred.

The only stylistic innovation left after those three from the early 1900s was the inclusion of a strong vertical form, since Americans have to have a spire, tower, or skyscraper. The next temple, in Idaho Falls, Idaho, was planned in the late '30s and mostly built by the early '40s, although the interior was delayed by WWII until a final dedication in 1945.

Borrowing from Art Deco or Streamline Moderne, it was the first to put a single spire jutting up from the rest of the block symphony, in this case atop a step pyramid of sorts (supposedly recalling New World pyramids, although just as plausibly a typically American blocky pixelation or low-res-ification of a smooth shape from Europe, like the tetrahedronal or conical roof of a tower.) Aside from the block symphony, this temple also cemented the "central tower" profile, in contrast to the "two towers or turrets flanking the shorter main entrance" from Europe, or fairly uniformly flat roof of Ancient Greek temples. And it made bright gleaming white the ideal to strive toward, also in contrast to every European style before it and on another continent.

If anything, it looks futuristic or space age-y. But we were still an expanding empire, growing in a continent we had only recently settled, and where Mormons were a brand-new religion. It *had to* look futuristic, because Americans were forged into a new, not-European culture by their meta-ethnic frontier with the Indians. And Mormons were forged into a new, not-Christian religion by the same process, more than other religious groups, since they were pioneer settlers out West before the Indian threat was over.

In a world used to Ancient Greek architecture, the Roman revolution that produced arches, vaults, and domes all over the place must have seemed futuristic as well, especially for engineering projects like aqueducts that the Greeks could not have dreamed of.

* * *

Crucially, it's not about a technological discovery -- the main one in America was steel reinforced skeletons, and Mormon temples don't use that to make skyscrapers. Nor do they have neon lights or anything futuristic like that. It's a purely stylistic choice to do blocks in all sorts of sizes and scales, grouped into complex arrangements, that makes it American. Ditto for Roman arches, vaults, and domes -- they didn't need to discover concrete to make those, it was a stylistic choice to distinguish themselves as a wholly new culture, where before they were just borrowing the Eastern Mediterranean standards.

New architectural styles do not wait for a technological revolution, but a social psychological one, whereby a large group of people start to feel closer together, united in a struggle against a foe on the other side of a meta-ethnic frontier. Without that, they don't feel like a special newly forged ethnic group requiring their own new architectural style to embody that.

Well, it also has to wait for a political event, too -- healing after a civil war during the initial imperial expansion. The Roman style had to wait until the late 1st century BC, after the Crisis of the Roman Republic, and peaked in the 2nd century AD, before the collapse of the empire during the Crisis of the Third Century. Likewise, the American style -- whatever it could have been -- could not have emerged until after the Civil War and Reconstruction was over, yet before the current fragmentation, collapse, and anarchy of the post-2020 stage of our empire.

But that is a topic for another post, requiring more empires to survey.


  1. I wondered about megachurches after reading this and came to reallze I had no idea what they look like even living in a region where they thrive. It turns out they are mostly blocky box combination structures out away from downtown congestion. If you didn’t know it was a church it might also be an office block of a relatively well off corporation. Google image searching for the church brings up almost exclusively interior shots - all very stadium like, dark, no visible features except the stage and the masses crowds. You have to specifically search for the exterior photos - the opposite of historic churches image results.

    Also,the Crystal Cathedral, which I remember being a notable church design 20+ years ago is defunct and taken over by the Catholics, it’s like that late modernist phase of American churches in the 60s-80s died off. It might just be the Mormons left giving a crap about church architecture other than the preservationist mainline larpers.

  2. The breakaway sect that didn't move west (Community of Christ) did eventually build one temple in Independnce, Missouri in 1994. It's round with a corkscrew spire in the middle.

  3. Mormonism is so committed to the American style that it is targeting the few partial exceptions, and making them over into clearly Block Symphony buildings. And these are being done since the early 2010s, and continuing into the 2020s.

    First was the Ogden temple, which originally had a Space Age design, from the late '60s / early '70s -- minimalist, blocky / segmented, center spire jutting up, bright white color. But its outer shell was mainly a cylinder (although pixelated / low-res-ified into tall rectangles placed side-by-side along the circumference). American architecture really doesn't want circular or curvy shapes, especially at the highest scale (maybe for some smaller decorative elements).

    So its exterior was totally changed into one of rectilinear forms of varying sizes, grouped and nested into complex arrangements, while still being symmetrical overall. It looks exactly like something from the 1920s or '30s -- but was actually built in the early 2010s! There was an Art Deco revival in the '80s for American architecture as a whole, but nothing this committed to sacralizing the Block Symphony style, 100 years after its birth.

    Overview from Wikipedia, and extensive photos (click on the "gallery" tab, then scroll down / "load more" until the last 3, which show how it looked before minor changes in 2002):



    Its twin temple, in nearby Provo and built at the same time and from nearly identical plans, is the Provo temple. After the Ogden temple was altered into a Block Symphony exterior, the Provo one will be as well, according to an announcement and artist's rendering from 2021:


    Although not a Mormon, I still bristle at the inclusion of those arches in what is otherwise a complex grouping of block shapes of widely varying scales and proportions. The new Smithfield temple, whose plan is shown at the end of that article, departs even further with two -- count 'em, two -- domes. Sorry, but even a heathen can tell that domes don't belong on top of Mormon temples.

    Some temples have an inner dome or rotunda, though generally not -- but none has a huge dome as part of the exterior.

    This is clearly a nod to all the non-Mormons flooding into Utah, mainly refugees from the West Coast, and trying to entice them into joining Mormonism without shocking their Christian sensibilities too much. Or maybe they're actually from back East, who expect Old World LARP in major buildings -- I think Californians are familiar and comfortable enough with American Block architecture, they're surrounded by it.

    Like I said, they have sacralized the blocky style, so any concessions they make will be minor and based on syncretizing with the culture of the target audience. If adding a few arched windows is the biggest violation of a style that has been preserved for 100 years so far, that's infinitely more than can be said for what non-Mormons have done to preserve or rather desecrate the American style, letting it degenerate into the "big glass grid-box" trend.

    It's hilarious as an outsider hearing them call the look of the 1920s "classical" -- zero classical styles on any continent resemble American Block Symphony. We invented it. But they have to root things in the past to lend them historical validity, and in a new nation like America, 100 years is pretty classical relatively speaking.

  4. As for interiors, I won't do a whole post now, but briefly emphasize that Mormon temples are extreme examples of American Block Symphony, in applying it inside as well as outside.

    Some iconic American Block examples have somewhat Old World forms on the interior. I mentioned the Nebraska state capitol as the best one in the earlier post, an Art Deco masterpiece. And yet, on the interior, there are extensive Greek / Roman / Byzantine structures, like columns with circular cross-sections, arches on top, filling out a vaulted ceiling, not to mention arched windows and domes.

    But Mormon temples rarely have such an Old World look inside. See the Ogden temple gallery above -- only one dome that's visible on the interior alone. Almost without exception, the walls go straight up, the ceiling is parallel to the ground, and the intersection of the walls and ceiling has no curvature.

    That doesn't keep it boring or bereft of details and ornamentation, though -- just that they are rectilinear. The ceiling may have rectangles of various scales nested within each other, or recessing into the ceiling with a rectangular border at each level. In the photo section, click the "Official" tab and look at the interior. Here's an example of a heavily pixelated / blockified Classical column, rectangular recessing in the ceiling, and a decorative band around the top of the walls with blocky groupings and sub-groupings:


    Or from the Cardston temple, this insane amount of Block Symphony scale variety around the upper walls, the corner walls (which have an L-shaped cross-section, not a rectangle), deep rectangular recessing and varied rectilinear patterns at the ceiling level, windows and columns alternating around the top of the walls, with (leaded glass?) subdivisions within each window pane.

    There are two structural arches in the walls, but the curves themselves are not adorned and don't draw too much attention to themselves. They're surrounded by blocky forms on the walls, and the area between the arch and blocky portal or mirror ("tympanum") is intricately adorned with strictly rectilinar shapes playing within various scales of arrangement.

    You don't need curves to be aesthetically fascinating and well ornamented. (Things I thought I'd never say, but we're talking inanimate architecture here...)

    As a reminder, the Cardston temple was inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright's Prairie School, which contributed a religious building, the (Unitarian) Unity Temple in Chicago from the 1900s. Just look at all those rectilinear forms at varying scales, around the walls, ceilings, and their intersections. No curves, yet very active and dynamic and exciting!


  5. Photo of the Cardston temple interior:


  6. Mumei singing "Jumper" during emo night is another pleasant reminder that Zoomers appreciate culture in a broad survey way, from the Midcentury to the present, in contrast to Millennials for whom it's always the 2000s. That's a generational difference I did not have a good understanding of before watching the Holo honies doing regular karaoke streams.

    Just checking... looks like Moom and Goob are the only EN girls to sing "Driver's License" (and Moona from ID). So it's not like they're stuck in a different single decade or narrow range of when they were in middle / high school -- they travel through the whole history of pop music (and musical theater).

    Has "Semi-Charmed Life" not survived because it wasn't included in other media along the way? It's crazy to think that most ubiquitous of teen angst anthems from the late '90s would be less covered than the more mellow accoustic "Jumper".

    My hunch is that "Semi-Charmed Life" is one of those End of History songs from the '90s and y2k, when everyone felt so safe and prosperous that it was almost boring being alive and young at the time. No more dynamism, being adrift, nothing to struggle with other than middle-class suburban alienation. All that went out the window after the 2008 depression from which we have never recovered, and really feels out-of-place after the anarchy of 2020 and after. No one feels safe and prosperous anymore, let alone to the extent that it's taken for granted and indefinite.

    Whereas "Jumper" is about telling someone not to commit suicide, set in a more troubled and hopeless context. We still have plenty of that mood going around, way worse than back then.

    Mumei would love "She" by Green Day, too, when she gets into one of her emo moods. Or "Pulling Teeth" -- perfect for her persona of a girl-next-door holding a gun, while also tenderly feeding meals to her chat, hehe. That whole album is a no-skip album. She's already done some pre-2000s Green Day, so she'd love that whole album, whether or not she sings other songs from it on-stream.

    Ditto for "Dammit" by early Blink-182.

    BTW, the improv Shakira impression is yet further proof of Moom being a butt-girl with an hourglass figure. She may not have planned that, but we appreciate the spontaneous fan-service nonetheless. ^_^

  7. The other major global religious movement born in America is Pentecostalism, misleadingly referred to as "Protestant", although that's certainly who made up the early pioneers. But that's like calling Mormonism "Protestant" because of the background of the founders (Mormonism is not even Christian), or calling Christianity "Judaism". It's more of a spirit possession cult, in the sense of Ioan Lewis' work on ecstatic religion, which has syncretized with Christianity -- specifically focusing on the Holy Spirit as the spirit that possesses the followers.

    "Protestant" means only those religions that were born in the Reformation, during the birth and expansion of the Early Modern Euro empires (mainly the Prussian / German, and British, and the civil war within the French). They are Old World.

    That may have been where most Americans-to-be came from, but due to American ethnogenesis in the New World, we needed something distinctive. No longer Protestant, though still Christian or Christian-ish. Enter Pentecostalism, with a rather late birthdate, in the early 20th C., unlike Mormonism from the mid-1800s.

    But like Mormonism, forged in the out West frontier region, not back East -- starting in the Plains (Iowa, Oklahoma, etc.), and heading all the way out to southern California (Azusa Street Revival, one of the founding scenes).

    I'm lumping them all in together -- Pentecostals, Charismatics, splinter groups of all types.

    Like Mormonism, they do missionary work around the world, making it a global / Pax Americana / American Empire religion.

    Unlike Mormons, though, they were not literal pioneers who had to battle Indians and the American military alike. And they did not create a wholly new religion with new sacred texts, etc. They're decentralized and anarchic and unstable at the big-picture scale. And they appeal more to the lower classes -- as a spirit possession cult typically does. Mormonism has more of a middle-class base, and has representatives at very high levels of wealth and power (like the Romneys), unlike Pentecostals.

  8. As for Pentecostal architecture, they have been willing to depart from Old World styles, true to being a distinctly American religion. However, their looseness, their less-than-stark creation of a new religion -- no counterpart to the wholly new Book of Mormon, for instance -- means they haven't settled on a standard style of architecture. Unlike Mormons, they don't have their own new building types like temples -- they're still churches, inherited from Christian roots.

    So they pretty much adapt to wherever and whenever they find themselves. They may have Gothic LARP or Neoclassical buildings back East, and Space Age structures out West -- when Space Age was popular, though, not as an enduring standard.

    Here's a quick pictorial essay on the kitsch of Pentecostal architecture (the writer doesn't use the term, going with the vague and unhelpful "evangelical" term):


    It's not just the megachurch, but other monumental architecture like the Prayer Tower at Oral Roberts University (in Tulsa, Oklahoma, out West). And the Neo-Deco meets glass-box Crystal Cathedral in SoCal (originally a Dutch Reformed group, not Pentecostal -- later sold to Catholics after bankruptcy). Not shown, but also part of the American Block style: the CityPlex Towers at Oral Roberts University.

    The chapel at Florida Southern College built by the Father of American Architecture, Frank Lloyd Wright, part of the largest collection on a single site, doesn't seem to have to do with megachurches or evangelicals. The College belongs to the United Methodist Church, a Mainline Protestant group, not Charismatics or Pentecostals or other televangelism centers. But at any rate, it is crucially located in central Florida, on the old frontier of the Seminole Wars -- not northern Florida, which belongs to the southern half of the back-East region.

    The biggest megachurch, Lakewood in Houston, is housed in a former sports stadium, so that doesn't tell us about the Pentecostals' styles when building new structures.

    Anyway, true to their highly non-standardized, non-hierarchical, non-cohesive nature, they have not standardized an architectural style like the Mormons have. They are open to American Block, but they don't insist on it, only when and where it was trendy.

    They were ideologically between the Old World Christian groups and the wholly New World one of Mormonism. And that was reflected in their architecture -- not wedded to Old World LARP, but also not choosing a New World style to standardize either. American-ish, Christian-ish.

    I don't see them going away any time soon, but they will clearly not lead the way forward like the Mormons will in the imperial collapse stage of American history and beyond. Just as Christianity was born in the Roman Empire but was persecuted by it and did not become standard until a new empire was born (the Byzantine), Mormonism was born in the American Empire but has been persecuted and then tolerated but not taken over, which will have to wait for a new empire in the New World, or perhaps the out-West rump of the former United States.

  9. Imagine viewing architecture as the execution of a theory, and not the incarnation of a people's collective identity...

  10. Moom excitedly asking her fandom to make her a mixtape. ^_^ She really cares about them, respects & is curious about the things they like, and wants to bond over the collective mixtape they send her. Cute!

    I don't know what it was like for Zoomers sending playlists to each other online, but for Gen X-ers a mixtape -- or later, the mix CD -- was only for close friends. You don't just ask any ol' buncha randos to recommend some music to you. And you would never make a mixtape for any ol' rando "uh, just cuz you look like you'd enjoy cool music" or whatever.

    I still have the mix CD that a close friend from college sent me, after we graduated. She's from Tokyo, although I think the only JP song she included was "Kaze wo Atsumete" (around the time it was featured in Lost in Translation). It was mainly contempo (y2k) indie and electronic. Hand-written song titles in sharpie on the disc itself, too. :)

    Did Zoomers even sign each other's yearbooks in middle and high school?

    I think the only tangible mementos they might have from friends is from the twilight of physical entertainment media. "Oh wow, that's my friend's copy of Halo that he must've let me borrow and said keep it."

    I know Millennials used to gift physical media, since one of my tutoring students had a biiiiig fat crush on me, and at the end of our last session, she reached into her bag, "oh and i... uh, i have something for youuuu..." -- a copy of Heathers on DVD. I'd told her earlier about Mean Girls being inspired by it, and how she might like it -- she caught it on TV and said it was funny but kinda weird. I also mentioned not having many DVDs at some other point, and she put those two factoids about her crush together and brought me a copy of Heathers on DVD. :)

    Why are girls the cutest sweetest things in the world? Imagine not loving them...

    I'll think of some more additions to the collective mixtape that Mumei's fandom is making for her.

  11. BTW, the girls already make us mixtapes -- in fact, perform them live with us in the audience! That's what their karaoke streams are like. "Oh just some songs I've been in the mood for, and thought you'd appreciate hearing them as well, something we can bond over, teehee."

    Very sincere and heartfelt. :)

    Moom's come a long way from the quiet emo kid in high school she was telling us about recently. Performing sincerely for others, and asking them to make you a mixtape, shows how open she's become about making social & emotional connections.

    On that note, I hope she knows that when her fans occasionally talk about appreciating her anatomy, they're mostly talking to each other, as guys do about cute babes -- not to directly hit on Moom herself.

    And that it's only a secondary reason why they like her so much -- if they were the coomer type, they wouldn't care about her musical interests, and wouldn't be excited to make her a mixtape. That's what friends do.

    But if she's a friend with squeezable buns & thighs, so much the better, hehe. If a guy's female friend is cute, he notices and appreciates it. Doesn't mean he's just spending time together to try and make out with her.

    And I think the girl appreciates that, too -- "Hmm, my guy friend checks out my butt a lot... I must have quite the pleasing shape. Nice! And yet he isn't trying to get in my pants either, just being friends... not making it weird. I thought guys only thought with their dicks and can't ever keep it in their pants. Maybe he's just shy, or maybe he thinks I'm out of his league, or maybe he's getting over a bad break-up, or maybe one of his friends likes me too and he's being polite to his bro, or maybe....."

    Or maybe guys have friendship needs, too, and the fact that his friend has a bubble butt is just a pleasant stroke of good luck for him. :)

  12. Mumei received quite the serenade last night -- "What Makes You Beautiful" from both Kronii and Bae during their karaokes. I have a hunch if she asked Gura pwetty pwease, she'd sing it too. ^_^

    It's crazy how sharply that song, and One Direction overall, separates the Millennials from the Zoomers. Good thing the singers last night were Zoomers! Or Mooms would've been left pining away, sadge.

    And if she's still in an insecure mood, maybe something from the fandom can help...

  13. Silly, you color our world like you're painting cels
    You whisper facts in our ear, you're so hyper to tell
    You share your brand of perfume so we imagine the smell

    You don't know, oh-oh
    You don't know you're Mumeiful

    If only you heard your consciousness stream
    You'll understand why we're longing to hug the screen
    You treat your chat as a friend, not a CCV

    You don't know, oh-oh
    You don't know you're Mumeiful, oh-oh
    That's what makes you Mumeiful

    Doo doo-doo doo, doo-doo doo doo-doo
    Doo doo-doo doo, doo-doo doo
    Doo doo-doo doo, doo-doo doo doo-doo
    Doo doo-doo doo, doo-doo doo

  14. You're Goobaful, you're Goobaful
    You're Goobaful, it's true

    You were singing Train
    Through the buffered frames
    And it felt so cursed and cute
    That my heart just can't reboot

  15. Seeing Faunya's view of the cozy little homes around the lake / river in the new Minecraft server makes it feel like a lakeside resort... a place where you get away from it all, for retreats or something. A vacation spot where you can still get crazy, but there's not so much craziness to the built environment. Visiting your grandparents' rural home in a small town during the summer.

    The HoloEN server has always been the caveman world, but it still does have a lot going on -- like the Flintstones world, primitive but heavily built and complex. And the JP and ID servers were even more urbanized and built-up.

    So maybe the way the girls can distinguish this new server, make it complementary to the other ones instead of replacing them and repeating their earlier efforts, is to go with the "resort / retreat" theme. Especially around Fauna's house -- that place looks and feels exactly like a "second home" retreat area, with a bunch of lake homes that people visit to get away from it all.

    Not like a mega-theme park with an international clientele, vast parking lots, and ten-hour-long lines for all the rides. That's a resort, but crazy in its own way. This would be a more humble, cozy, carefree kind of resort that only a few select locals know about and hang out at.

    And Kronii, if she still wants to build a bunker in that snowy mountain area, could make it into a ski resort. She gets to indulge her dominant / bullying side by making it a comical chore or trek to wind your way up to the top, there's teasing signs about paying respects to the greatest ski resort of all time, etc.

    And Fauna could build an Alpine ski lodge there! She was already starting with that separate village on the EN server...

    No economies! No slave mines! No workday drudgery and grinding! Renewing yourself by going on adventures in a retreat resort. Camping, skiing, swimming / diving in the lake, climbing trees, hiking over hills, etc.

  16. That would help entice Gooba back into Minecraft, right as she's returning to streaming. Her ADHD sharkbrain is optimized for adventure, socializing, and being playful, not slaving away on long-term projects that come to feel like a burdensome chore. Make a simple cozy lakeside resort cottage, and that's it for building!

    The magic of Minecraft for them has always been more about the bonding than the building. She just needs a group of friends to hang out with, go on adventures with, let their filters down around each other, and make memories!

    The trouble with prioritizing the building projects is that there's only so many structures you can make, especially in an all-branch server. You can't do that regularly, endlessly, with the same amount of fun and entertainment each round. You build up a certain amount, and that's it, too crowded or cluttered, time for a new server if you want to keep building.

    But socializing, unhinged discussions, sharing the latest images from your cursed memes folder, and other such interactions -- those can unfold indefinitely. There's no boundary you're going to quickly run into, where you have to start a new server in order to keep socializing and playing around. And you can't exhaust the resources -- there's always something going on their your lives that you can gab about, new memes to share, channeling your pent-up horniness and IRL cabin fever into giggle-fests and other unhinged slumber-party antics with the other girls.

    Even for solo streams, you can do stream of consciousness, zatsu with the chat, vent / rant, get nostalgic or reminisce about any ol' memory, etc. -- without needing to build new structures or start a new server when the existing one gets crowded. Also no exhaustion of resources there -- girls will always have something they need to chat about, go over what they've done during the day IRL, worry about the future, seek reassurance from the chat, and all that other social / emotional stuff (unlike the physical building stuff).

    Just look at how much Mumei got into Minecraft last month -- exploring the neighborhood, perfectly diving off of Pekora's tower, exploring the snowy mountain alone and zen-loss, the treasure-chest hunting adventure with Kaela, scandalizing Towa by her flirty-birdy antics with Haachama, discovering and then fighting the Warden with Fauna and Bae... and only building a small shack and garden during all that time! ^_^

    It's about the social interactions, including with her chat if she's solo, and not so much about the construction projects.

  17. Moom & Goob room review sequel: fans share their Minecraft homes, either as a still image, or if it's not too technically difficult, a short video clip to show the 3D layout, interior / exterior. Seems simple, though: fan does video capture while playing Minecraft, uploads clip to YouTube, sends YT link to M&G, they put these into a YT playlist, they put the video on screen during the stream and react to it, one by one.

  18. Real, LARP, blurry or sharp,
    I believe that the shark will log on
    Swim, ashore, our session restored
    Through the screen comes my shark
    And my shark will log on and onnn

  19. Mumei blaming Kronii for being a bad "dad" in a dream that Mumei herself had, is a hilarious example of the girl-mind, for the innocent hootlings who have never experienced this before.

    Women treat dreams as 100% real -- they only seem somewhat not-real to women due to the fuzziness of the perception and recollection. But those events totally happened! -- however imperfectly they may recall them after the "fact" (i.e., waking up from dreamland).

    If you point out that they had the dream, not you, they will continue to blame you -- there must've been something in your real-world behavior that made their wOmEN's InTuITioN sound the subconscious alarm, and reveal the true facts of the real world to them in their dreams. They're too funny. ^_^

    It's another aspect of female nature being more childlike than male nature, where kids have more trouble distinguishing fantasy from reality. And it's one of the cutest and most charming things about them. :)

    You can't surgically add and remove the components of the constellation of female (or male) nature. Sometimes you like them, like when girls get excited and fantasize like kids who are still full of life and wonder. And other times it can get frustrating, like when they blame you for what "you" did in THEIR OWN dreams, hehe. But those two things are inseparable, two sides of the same coin.

    If you want hyper-rational, analytical, logical girls when it comes to separating dreamland from reality, you will never enjoy their emotional excitement and zest they bring to your life on all those other occasions.

  20. It's the same difference with male vs. female sex dreams. When a girl has a sex dream, it actually happened, 100%. When a guy has a sex dream, it's just an unplanned fantasy.

    Back during the Trump years, it was super common for libtard women on Twitter to blab to the world that they'd had a sex dream about Trump. Clueless right-wingers thought that meant they really lusted after the God-Emperor, wanted a real man to put their dumb SJW ass in their place, etc.

    But in reality, they were horrified, not thrilled -- it was like getting molested or raped. It was against their will, and Trump the real person was 100% responsible for their psychological trauma -- his handsy real-world behavior, at least what the media blew it up to be, made their women's intuition reveal to them in a vivid dream just how molest-y he was IRL.

    It was not hate-fucking or anything like that, which was how they felt about the hot guys at the gym wearing MAGA hats -- another common Twitter genre, but one where they actually were getting horny, and simply saw it as problematic or unfair, not that they were made horny against their will or whatever.

    On the other hand, when women have a sex dream about some guy who's hot, famous, and who they desire IRL, they treat that as 100% real as well. How did she manage to score with such an elite male specimen? -- she must be sizzling hot desirable stuff herself! She tells the story to her gal pals with a sly grin, just as with real gossip of an actual one-night stand over the weekend.

    Since the hot celeb guy actually did have sex with her, he did so willingly -- and enthusiastically! -- not because he was compelled to by the woman's own horniness that manifested in her own dream. Therefore, the only explanation is that she has the power to drive men crazy with desire, even the most sought-after men who have infinite options.

    "Wow, all those other women out there in the world -- and he chose ME for his dreamworld sex partner... never knew I was so irresistible!!!"

  21. And her gal pals treat the sex dream as real, too! It's not just the dream-having girl inflating her ego. If it were that, her girl friends would instantly throw cold water on her delusion:

    "Oh girl, get a grip! It was only a dream -- you could never!"

    Instead, they all react as though she actually had sex with the famous man-babe.

    "No way! [Lead singer X]??!?!?!?!! High five, girl! -- you really know how to wrap them around your finger!"

    "Omigosh, what is he like in bed?!??! Is he as ravishing in the flesh as he is on the big screen?!"

    "With YOU? Why?! I mean, not to be mean or anything, but you're... y'know, you're not exactly... I'm just trying to figure out why he would choose you to sleep with, of all the girls out there. You must really know how to ride 'em, cowgirl..."

    All the girls agree -- it really happened! xD

  22. Not to spoil a joke by explaining it, but we're being descriptive here too. The remark about "in the flesh, is he the way he appears to be in a fictional portrayal?" -- that shows that women still do carry a notion of fiction vs. reality into their dreamworld.

    For example, the other girls might ask for clarification -- "Wait, did you have sex with the actor, like at a celebrity-filled party, or did you dream you were in one of his movies as a character, and you had sex with his character?"

    And she could answer, "With the real guy! It was at a meet-and-greet, and he wrote a suggestive message when he signed my poster, slipped me his phone number, and said we should hang out after the convention is over."

    Women can treat movies, TV, video games, and other cultural products as fictional, with the characters and actors being separate entities. Although they do conflate them more than men do, but still, they're separate.

    But dreams? Oh hell no -- those are 100% real, and anyone saying otherwise is just a saboteur trying to throw you off the scent of what her women's intuition is trying to reveal to her about the real world, or is a jealous hater who isn't desirable enough to score with hot famous guys like she is.

    There is still a separation between dream-truth and dream-fiction, but the dream world as a whole is just as real as the waking world, to her.

  23. Quick but instructive contrast in how songs about romantic / sexual dreams differ by the sex of the singer: "Mr. Sandman" by the Chordettes vs. "All I Have To Do Is Dream" by the Everly Brothers.

    Both from the '50s, pop genre, radio-friendly, aimed at a young audience, romantic and wholesome... same basic context for both songs. But one is sung by, and identified with, by women, and the other sung by and identified with by men.



    In "Mr. Sandman" there is absolutely no acknowledgement that dreams are not reality. If you didn't know that "sandman" is a nickname for a being that makes you fall asleep and begin your dreaming process, you could just as well think he was an actual IRL matchmaker, and that the singer is writing her wish-list for actual male suitors to go on dates with.

    If she thought dreams were not reality, she'd have to take sides on whether it was worth it to spend so much time in dream-world rather than reality. Maybe she would say it's worth indulging her fantasies, or maybe that she was wasting her precious time by ignoring real men in the real world.

    But she thinks dreams *are* reality, so there's no treatment of that topic.

    In "All I Have To Do Is Dream," however, there's a crucial twist in the chorus: "Only trouble is, gee whiz, I'm dreaming my life away." There's the awareness! They're two totally separate worlds, not equivalent, and the more you spend time and thought and effort in one, you are prevented from spending in the other. They're in competition with each other!

    He comes down on the "reality is better than dreams" side, since he's lamenting how much he's wasting his real life by fantasizing all the time. He also acknowledges the temptation and allure of dream-world, though -- so easy and effortless to just will your wishes into being!

    None of that jaded male awareness in the innocent carefree female song -- and that's part of what makes the girly songs so cute and girly! :) And what makes the guys' songs more mature and subtly painful, like guys are supposed to feel about fantasies.

    1. There's a reason "dreamboat" was a popular female slang terms for males they liked in the 1950s.

  24. Same male perspective for "In Dreams" by Roy Orbison, around the same time as the other two, and also name-checking the "sandman".


    It's magical, wonderful, full of positive emotions and intense social connection -- but alas, dreams are not reality. When he wakes up, she's gone, already said good-bye IRL, and she's never coming back. The only place she's coming back is in his dreams, which he is therefore using as a copium supply.

    Dreams are beautiful but artificial -- more of a positive tone than the Everly Brothers song. He seems to favor indulging his fantasies because huffing copium gets him through daily life in a cold cruel world where his one true love is never coming back.

  25. You should do a future post about how the peak of egalitarianism in the mid-20th Century co-incided with the peak of social capital for brawny men who served in blue-collar unions and as veterans:


    The Victorian/Edwardian era was remarkably proto-woke in terms of just how ...queer...it was in many respects. For example, boys were all kept in dresses until a certain age (you can look up photos of FDR and Ernest Hemingway in dresses).

    Gender distinction solidified as the mass-wars and revolutions of the early 20th Century solidified gender.distinction and egalitarianism.

    1. The push for gendered clothes for infants and toddlers was also an American invention and my guess is largely tied to aspirational consumerism, so largely middle class. It seems to be about the ww1-ww2 period when it developed, too, especially after ww2.

  26. And another female perspective on dreams being real, from "These Dreams" by Heart (cool '80s surrealist music video, too, to emphasize how lifelike the dreamworld is).


    It's not quite as straightforward as "Mr. Sandman," but it also treats dreams as real -- only saying that dreams are another region or space within reality, like two countries, or a vacation spot vs. your home turf, or special places you go on the weekend vs. your workday grind location.

    In the dreamworld "I live another life" -- sounds like an addition, not a subtraction, from her waking life. Not in competition, complementing or adding to each other, making her experience well-rounded and varied rather than uniform and monotone.

    When she's in the waking world, "the further I'm away" from the dreamworld. OK, there's a distance between them, but not that they are a fundamentally different substance or space.

    It's like saying you are a party animal in the nightclubs on the weekend, and when you're a working stiff during the week, you long to get back to that other location and other persona and other behavior. Such a person doesn't think that there's a difference at the level of "real or fictional" between those two spaces.

    Having an alter ego, as suggested in this song, is not the same as being two fundamentally different people, one imaginary and one real. Two facets of the same holistic individual. The dreamworld is a space where she can liberate one of those facets, unlike in the waking world.

    But that's like a gay or lesbian going to a gay / lesbian bar, instead of being in the closet at work or around family (back when they did that). That's not a matter of imaginary and fictional vs. real.

  27. Imagine not being fascinated by all the quirky puzzling things that make girls so girly...


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