Today I've lived in Utah for ten years. On the one hand I can't believe it's been that long, and on the other hand I can't believe it's only been that long. Time is weird. I feel twenty-eight going on eighty. Now is the time to wax all poetic about this milestone, but I realized I said everything I need to say on this day last year, so I will redirect any inquiries to that post. I commemorated the date, though, by attempting to recreate in Spotify playlist form a CD-R labeled "Alternative" that I found on the kitchen table after my roommate moved out. This would have been in late August 2011, but as I don't remember the date I still associate it nostalgically with my Utah debut. I still have the CD somewhere, all scratched up, and someday I'll check what order the tracks are actually in and adjust the playlist to match, but what really matters is creating the playlist today so that the date next to all the tracks when viewed in the desktop app will be July 11 even though, as previously noted, July 11 is not the date I found the CD. It was on shuffle the first time I listened to it anyway, so the incorrect order here doesn't drive me crazy in the meantime. "Sad Sad City" was first.
Now I will continue to record some of the thrilling events of my life. The night of Independence Day, I set out to walk to the Temple Boulevard to watch the fireworks and subsequent fires, and it almost immediately started to rain. I was so happy. I didn't care how wet I got. Utah desperately needs rain. I watched fireworks in the rain for a bit and then suddenly I was starving, and then I saw, as tends to only happen when I stop checking my phone every ten minutes, that I had missed a message from some girl in the ward inviting everyone to get s'mores, and I was so hungry that I decided to try my luck even though I was an hour late by the time I found her house. No answer at the front door, but I saw the kitchen light was on so I went around and tried the back. She was in her backyard alone watching the fire die. We put on some more wood, I had five s'mores, and we talked from 11 to 12:45, and I suffered for that for a couple days. It continued to drizzle and it was wonderful.
The next day I went up to Idaho with some people to float down the Oneida River. As we got close, the sky became so grey that I planned to say "Do you think it will rain?" but never got a convenient pause in the conversation to do so, and then the question became moot because it rained. It rained hard. It rained buckets. It continued to rain as we arrived, got out of the trucks and got our tubes ready. It felt miserable, but again, I was so happy. Idaho desperately needs rain. I'm happy for others to be blessed as I am blessed.
As it happens, the weather was perfect during most of the actual floating, with a lot of sunshine and just a bit of drizzle as the clouds remained menacingly in the background. The river flowed faster than usual. This only became an issue when I got separated from the others as the current took me off the main route to a dead end, and I got out and walked my tube along the shore back to where the current went the right way, but when I got there it was too fast and pulled me right into itself, clinging vertically to the tube and unable to pull myself up, feet hitting against the rocks. An overhanging tree branch promised salvation, then stubbornly squeezed through my fingers. I swore a bit. My experience walking barefoot on asphalt and gravel just because I can paid off, though - I had cuts on the sides and tops of my feet, but none on the bottoms. So with the exception of those five minutes, it was a good time.
Technically I have a lot more time to write on this blog than I did while in graduate school, but I find week after week that I just don't feel like it. I'm relaxing, dang it. I've been reading books in preparation for my thesis, watching The Bad Batch and The Simpsons and The Chosen and Nostalgia Critic and The Legend of Zelda fan films, and studying German a little bit. While I'm hardly being the most productive person ever, I find day after day that I run out of time to do everything I wanted to do, which is a good problem to have compared to being painfully bored and lonely and having to think of busywork just to make the time go by. Anyway, that's why this post is crap. (Insert your own quip about all my posts being crap here.) What I need to do now is really set out in earnest on writing my thesis, but I've procrastinated on that just a bit. It's intimidating to start with nothing toward the end goal of a novella. I've always worked better under pressure. Summer still feels like it will never end, though with this drought and heat wave, I sure hope it will.
For my birthday I went hiking up the Logan River Trail and then to Panda Express and then to Hyrum Reservoir, with guests rotating in and out as their schedules permitted and only a few stalwarts making it all the way through. This year, fed up with month after month of soul-crushing isolation, I took matters into my own hands like never before to make something happen and invite people to it instead of just hoping someone else would take care of everything - a couple of my graduate school friends helped, but I didn't ask them to or drop hints about my upcoming birthday. I had a rough plan in mind and invited them to it and then they offered their assistance. The last time I took this much initiative to plan basically anything was a surprise party for someone else years ago. I had also planned to watch the classic sci-fi "Metropolis", but we ran out of time at the beach and I decided to adapt rather than insist on a strict schedule to the point where it ceased being fun. That movie's kind of an acquired taste anyway.
I had reached out to this one guy years ago because he was also autistic and needed friends, and continued to invite him to things sometimes, but I rarely saw or talked to him. I knew he was gay, but that fact almost never crossed my mind because it simply wasn't relevant to anything. I had not the slightest clue why he asked to talk to me in private when we got to the beach. He began, "Remember when you asked if I'm interested in anyone?" No, I had no memory of asking him that or anything like it. I don't ask people about that kind of thing, mostly because I don't care. But he continued before I could say anything. He said, "Well, I'm interested in you."
He hastily went on, "I know I'm probably not your type," which was true enough, and not just for the obvious reason. And it should have been the simplest thing in the world to just say, in case there was any confusion, in case whatever mannerisms caused everyone on the school bus to call me "faggot" five times a day had also given him an erroneous impression at any time, "Sorry, I'm straight" - not a strictly accurate statement, but close enough for the present intents and purposes. Yet I couldn't bring myself to say it, because it felt in that moment like such a cruel and gratuitous thing to say, a bit of knife-twisting, and I thought back almost a decade to Kelsey's attempt to comfort me after I caught feelings for her.
If it helps, I've always had that problem. Straight girls.
It didn't help. It destroyed my faith that God loves His children, as I imagined how much it must suck to be gay because of that very problem, no matter how accepted by society or even religion one may eventually be. So now I didn't say anything.
We hugged, and I was very grateful that I'd kept my shirt on as I always do at the beach. He said, "I would have kissed you for your birthday." We let go. He said, "I'd still like to kiss you."
That didn't register, but after a moment he interpreted my blank stare as consent (it wasn't) and moved in. Oh well, I thought, it's only a kiss, and I'd kiss a guy if I were an actor playing a gay character, so it's not like it's the worst thing in the world that I'll never do under any circumstances, and anyway, the few kisses I've shared with women didn't mean anything either so the difference is kind of arbitrary. I stood stiff as a board and let him do it and then we rejoined the others. That's all he's going to get from me, so I'm not sure if it made him feel better or worse.
My neighbor Hailey got some pictures of me that I don't hate, that rarest of rarities. She saw me walking along the beach and made me go back and start over. I'm glad she did.
Later it transpired that Hailey and Mia had both observed my contentious comments on public Facebook posts without me being aware of it. Hailey found them alarming and Mia found them amusing. So I'm still not likely going to stop.
One of the greatest birthday presents I could ask for was delivered a couple days later in the form of a 22.5-year prison sentence for Derek Chauvin over his murder of George Floyd. Though far less than he deserves, it's about as much as one can expect under current laws. I think Peter Cahill is about as fair and impartial a judge as you can get, and I'm not surprised in the slightest that his sentence didn't give either the prosecutors or the defense what they really wanted. But the fun doesn't stop here. In a few days, Chauvin and his now ex-wife begin their trial for $21,853 worth of tax evasion - yes, 1092.65 times the amount he murdered George Floyd for - and this fall, he begins his federal trial for civil rights violations in both the George Floyd case and another one where he split a (black) teenager's head open with a flashlight and pinned him down for 17 minutes for no reason. If experiencing joy as I watch this fascist pig's life get ruined is wrong, I don't want to be right.
Of course, even a fascist pig has friends and family who love him. (The emotion bootlickers feel toward him isn't love - it's more akin to the mindless biological drive of a male preying mantis to let his mate tear his head off.) Chauvin's mother reminded us that he isn't Satan incarnate. She extolled his years of service as a police officer and his dedication to the job, conveniently neglecting to mention how many conduct complaints he accumulated during that time. She didn't want him to go to jail for a long time because she might be dead when he gets out. And she maintained that she believes in his innocence. Okay, so she isn't wrong to love her son or to be distraught over the situation, but I'm sorry to say that love has made her delusional. If I ever have a son who murders someone and everyone in the world sees the murder, I don't intend to show up in court to try and protect him from justice. Familial love and parental mortality are not arguments for letting people out of jail early.
Chauvin, we were told, has run through what if scenarios in his mind constantly since the day of the murder. What if I hadn't volunteered to work that day, what if I hadn't responded to the call, and so on. Notably absent were the questions he actually should be asking himself: What if I had taken my damn knee off his neck? What if I had moved him onto his side like Officer Lane suggested? What if I had offered medical assistance after his pulse disappeared? What if I hadn't completely disregarded my law enforcement training and ethics? Excuse me, but are we really supposed to sympathize with a 19-year police veteran for whom nine and a half minutes isn't enough time to make a split-second decision? Are we really supposed to feel bad that he feels bad - assuming he does, though we've seen zero evidence of that? Get out of here. He's had ample opportunity to apologize and/or show some degree of remorse. He never has. Not once. And the obvious reason is that he's a fascist pig who doesn't think he did anything wrong.
He did express his condolences - not an apology - to the Floyd family on this occasion. And all I could think of was a line from Kylo Ren (aka Matt the Radar Technician) on Saturday Night Live: "Hearing that Zack lost his son really struck a nerve with me. Especially since I'm the one that killed him."
I got a root canal, and I'm so happy to have it over with! It wasn't exactly pleasant to pay over a thousand dollars for the privilege of laying back with my chin tilted all the way up and a sheet of rubber prying my mouth open for an hour and a half, although I'm sure some people are into that. And reading on the waiver that root canals only have a 90% success rate even if the receptionist hadn't already told me "It will be tricky, but we'll do our best" didn't put me in the best mood. Virtually no actual pain in the tooth, though. And now it will never hurt again because the nerves are gone, if I understand correctly. (Not that it was hurting at all before the dentist "fixed" it earlier this year.) I went about my day and then all of a sudden I felt some wistfulness, even regret, over the fact that these little parts of my body have been removed for the rest of my life and been replaced with plastic or wax or whatever. It's just a little sad.
With daylight savings time messing me up like always, I'm not in the mood to write much or do anything that isn't sleep. I'll be lucky to have recovered by this time next week. So I thought I'd just comment on a few of the recent cancel culture controversies that make life worth living.
As I mentioned in a previous post, she's a garbage human and deserves what she got for spreading dangerous medical misinformation and conspiracy theories. It's just a shame that the future course of "The Mandalorian" has to be dictated by real world political crap. Cara Dune is a cool character. Rumor has it she'll be replaced with Hera Syndulla of "Rebels" in her live-action debut, though, and if that happens I can't complain too much. Hera is a cool character and she's not another bleeping human.
Mr. Potato Head
This is a really stupid controversy. Mr. Potato Head and Mrs. Potato Head are still characters. They have not been made gender-neutral. Their overarching brand name, however, has been changed to Potato Head. And there will be a playset later this year that lets you make a Potato Head family with two dads or two moms, but you don't have to, so chill. People are really freaking out because one company has taken a small step toward no longer acting like male is the default status for every living thing.
I truly regret the apparent necessity of no longer publishing six of this great man's books. Although he was horrifically racist toward Japanese people in his World War II political cartoons, he called out American anti-black racism in the same cartoons. But I seem to remember another controversy years ago when people discovered that he used the n-word once in the 1920s. People are complex, okay? I haven't read the books in question in a long time. I remember half of the examples of racism cited from them, and I remember not giving them a second thought and not realizing they were racist until it was brought to my attention to the books no longer being published. I'm not sure if that makes it less of a big deal, or more. Children are susceptible to stereotypes. Maybe the books should still be published but with warning labels and marketed toward adults alongside "The Seven Lady Godivas". Yes, Dr. Seuss wrote a book for adults called "The Seven Lady Godivas" and yes, it's a picture book.
Oh wait, what's this? Conservatives are the ones trying to cancel Lecrae and boycott his Christian rap music over his political views? How interesting. Okay, look, I know it's really strange that a black man doesn't support the party that defends police brutality and pretends racism doesn't exist, but get over it.
Dieter F. Uchtdorf
Due to an oversight that accidentally violated church policy, Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf's family donated to Joe Biden and other Democrats in his name. (He can vote for whomever he wants, but as a General Authority, he isn't supposed to campaign for or donate to anyone.) After this got media attention the other day, conservatives, again, were the ones shocked and outraged to discover that when the First Presidency said "Principles compatible with the gospel may be found in various political parties", they actually meant that principles compatible with the gospel may be found in various political parties. People who think their political views are the gospel went ballistic about him "voting against life" and supporting "baby killers" and not worshiping the same god they do. (Donald Trump, in case that isn't obvious.) Some are threatening to cancel him by leaving the Church, and to them I say, please do, and while you're at it, piss off into the sun.
Pepe Le Pew
I'll just repeat what I wrote on Facebook earlier today because why waste time duplicating effort? Apparently the deleted Pepe Le Pew scene from "Space Jam 2" - a movie that doesn't need to exist, and for that matter I don't know why we insist on pretending the first one is a good movie instead of the unfunny poorly acted feature-length commercial that it actually is*, but whatever - is actually about him getting put in his place and learning that consent matters. So why on Earth would they want to delete that??
Pepe Le Pew exists. I don't think he's a great character or that the one joke he's based on gets funnier after the first fifteen times, but he exists and he won't stop existing or suddenly be forgotten just because he's no longer in this one movie. The scene that was cut seems to me like the only reasonable way to deal with that reality and send a clear message, especially to impressionable children, that we have evolved as a society and that some of the messaging in his cartoons, which still exist and will still be watched regardless of anything, was wrong. (And dismissing it as "normal animal behavior" in a cartoon franchise that presents normal animal behavior about as accurately as Donald Trump presents normal human behavior is just too stupid for words.) Instead they're just sweeping it under the rug and not addressing or fixing anything. Le sigh.
*One of my Facebook friends disputes this. I'll grant that it's not an objective fact like my political views are, so I'll let that slide.
It occurred to me when I started working as a graduate instructor at Utah State University that maybe I should start to be more careful about the things I say online, lest I become cancel culture's latest victim. Speaking of cancel culture, I think Gina Carano is a garbage human and I'm not the slightest bit sympathetic to her, but I do think it's a shame that the future course of "The Mandalorian" will be so determined by real world politics and repercussions. Cara Dune is a cool character. She doesn't necessarily need to be in Season Three, but whether she is or not would ideally be determined by the natural evolution of the story and not by her actress spreading conspiracy theories on Twitter. So for a while I was more careful about the things I say online, but then I kind of forgot about that and just said whatever I want. And because I'm nobody, it never presented an issue until just recently.
It was weird for a few reasons. First, because this is the first time anyone has noticed or cared about my job, and suddenly they were all fixated on it. Second, because the parasites in the Salt Lake Tribune comments section tend to be of the liberal variety. I'd expect to be accosted by conservative parasites in the Deseret News comments section, but not here. Third - seriously? I can't emphasize enough how stupid Jared Tyler is to think I'll face any consequences from USU for this comment. It isn't even in the top thirty least flattering things I've written on social media about police officers. In fact, I have a 25-page essay that I plan to share with my Creative Nonfiction Writing class when my turns come, in which a substantial portion is devoted to explaining exactly what I think about police officers in general and Officer Nelson of the Logan Police Department (may he choke on a cactus) in particular. Oh no, I might get in trouble. I'm so worried.
Nick Savas is bad at stalking, though. This was the second time in a month or so that someone decided I must live with my parents because... I don't know, I guess the clever insults store they usually shop at ran out of clever insults. I didn't even bother to respond to him at the time, but to whomever it may concern, I moved to the opposite side of the country from my family a couple weeks after my eighteenth birthday, and as of July 11 I will have remained here for a decade. My parents, in the meantime, moved a bit closer, so I can see where someone like Nick Savas would get the misconception that I live in their basement and commute from Indiana to Utah every day, but no, I actually don't.
I get it - conservatives hate universities because they're bastions of liberal groupthink. (But somehow, at the same time, think that a university that's been actively promoting an anti-racism agenda for the last two semesters would punish me for accurately observing that police officers are pathological liars. Derp.) I can sympathize with this view, since I sometimes feel out of place in the English department myself, like an imposter who will be outed as not liberal enough. But their open contempt for education itself, and their wearing of ignorance as a badge of pride, is pretty nauseating. Note that Kevin Heffernan thinks "intellectual" is an insult. How else could they continue to say over and over that COVID-19 is a hoax, climate change is a hoax, evolution is a hoax, vaccines are a hoax, spanking is a normal and harmless way to discipline children, Trump won the last election, and so on? No wonder sociologist Jacob Rugh recently found that educated Latter-day Saints are leaning more Democratic. I'm not a Democrat, but anything that weakens the Republican cult's stranglehold on Utah is fine with me.
Utah, of course, has also put its contempt for teachers as people on full display during this pandemic. Utah thinks teachers are cheap, expendable babysitters. I get it, I wouldn't want to have my own kids at home all the time either, and I've never been more grateful to not have any than during the past year. But even that doesn't explain why parents in Utah have made national headlines for throwing literal temper tantrums about their children having to wear masks to school, or why they laugh and boo at teachers at town meetings who express concern for their own safety. As one who doesn't particularly value the opinions of people with fewer IQ points than fingers, I'm not offended or angered for my own sake about being on the receiving end of this harassment. But I think of my ex-neighbor, whom I still think the world of despite what she did to me, who's an aspiring teacher, and I think of the probability that these maggots will subject her to this crap as well because she has more brain cells in her pinky finger than they do in their collective skulls, and it pisses me right off.
Whatever you do, please don't forward this blog post to anyone at the university. I beg you.
Prior to Christmas this year, I accompanied my sister and brother-in-law who already had the you-know-what, and my infant niece who already has you-know-what antibodies, to visit my aunt and uncle and cousins who already had the you-know-what, and then my grandparents and other aunts who already had the you-know-what. We came home on Christmas Eve and I spent actual Christmas at home alone and didn't get the package my mom sent that was supposed to arrive on the 16th until today (I assume it arrived yesterday, but I didn't get it until today when I went outside and nearly tripped over it, so I'm glad it didn't get stolen overnight), but that's okay. The highlight of my brief travel was playing Legos with my ten and six year old cousins. Ten year old said at one point, "Who wants to get drugged?" I thought I must have heard her wrong, but no, she showed me the Lego "drug shop" she built where Lego people could "drink drugs" that made them grow extra torsos. Afterward, they "smoked" out of Lego saxophones. I just - what?
Also, two year old cousin found my scriptures and highlighted them for me, so that was thoughtful.
In the spirit of Christmas, I want to think about the good things that have happened this year, gifts from God, if you will. For most people, this year started to go downhill in March or thereabouts, but for me, January 14 was the literal worst day of my life, so everything after that was just kind of whatever. The best things that happened to me specifically were that I got accepted into graduate school and offered a graduate instructor position that I accepted and enjoyed, and my sister had a baby. Those don't go on the official list because they don't mean anything to most people and my purpose here isn't to brag about how great my life is, but I wanted to mention them.
1. We got Covid-19 vaccines in record time. I attribute this in part to the global fasts called for earlier this year by President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, especially the second one. In the April 2020 General Conference, he said, "I invite all, including those not of our faith, to fast and pray on Good Friday, April 10, that the present pandemic may be controlled, caregivers protected, the economy strengthened, and life normalized." The only immediate discernible result of this fast was an outpouring of love and fellowship among people of different faiths all over the world, which was really great but not the purpose of the fast. Within a few months, though, multiple companies have used new technology to create multiple vaccines faster than any other vaccine in history has been created. Skeptics will say it's a coincidence; I say it's not. I guess that's why they call it "faith".
2. The extent of racism still in the United States is finally being recognized and addressed by white Americans. Of course, many white people are fighting this recognition tooth and nail, insistent on deluding themselves that racism ended after some laws were passed in the 1960s, or that whatever racism still exists will go away by itself if we refuse to acknowledge it, but they've already lost. The protests and riots going on are generally regarded as another reason why 2020 has been a dumpster fire, but they're actually a good thing in the long run. They're the inevitable and long overdue symptom of a disease that's been festering for centuries, they're a step closer to healing, and they're what this country deserves. I don't condone or support riots, but as Martin Luther King (who didn't condone or support them either) pointed out, "in the final analysis, a riot is the language of the unheard." This unrest could have been prevented if people in power had addressed these problems a long time ago, but now they have no choice.
This seems to be a direct silver lining of the you-know-what. If people hadn't been stuck at home spending all day on social media, the necessary outrage probably wouldn't have materialized, just like it never did in the past.
3. Police officers are finally being put in their place. While I recognize the huge racial disparity in police abuse, I count it as a separate issue from racism because racism manifests in many other ways and black people aren't the only ones subjected to police abuse. Occasionally I see arguments about whether Derek Chauvin is actually racist or not. As far as I'm concerned, even if you could conclusively prove that his murder of George Floyd over $20 (while he himself owed 1092.65 times that amount in taxes) had nothing to do with skin color, it would do little to alter the fact that he's a fascist pig who should be strung up by his genitals and used as a piñata. I hope there's a special place in hell for everyone who's tried to rationalize his actions, blame his victim, or otherwise make him look like less of a fascist pig than he actually is.
I say "abuse" to cover all forms of police corruption and misbehavior, not just physical brutality. I'm very conscious of that distinction after I myself was subjected to police abuse earlier this year on January 14, and after I recovered sufficiently from the trauma to form coherent thoughts I lost all respect for law enforcement and determined that the next time some hemorrhoid in a police uniform comes into my apartment, I'm not going to be Mr. Polite and Deferential while he yells at me. But it could have been much worse for me. All Officer Nelson of the Logan Police Department did was verbally and psychologically abuse me for ten minutes even though he had already been told I was suicidal and already knew he was supposed to make me go to the hospital for being suicidal. He didn't kill me, he just tried to drive me to do it myself. He never explained what I had done wrong and he never accused me of or charged me with any crime. But I thought the police would leave me alone if I didn't break the law? Huh.
Before this experience I wasn't motivated to try to do anything about police abuse, even though I knew it existed and disproportionately affected black people, and after this experience I was too frightened to try to do anything about police abuse because police were above the law, which of course is why Officer Nelson dared to treat me the way he did in the first place. I regret that I didn't get involved with the cause until everyone else did, but I'm determined to keep it going even if everyone else forgets. There is still much to be done until police officers are consistently and immediately held accountable for wrongdoing instead of having their fellow officers, departments, and unions ignore it or actively cover it up. If they abuse a civilian at any time, even if the civilian did something wrong once, they should be fired and, if necessary, arrested, full stop. Not reassigned to administrative duties, not put on paid leave a.k.a. vacation, not given a letter telling them not to do it again even though they've already done it seventeen times. Until that happens, people will continue to hate the police for damn good reason.
Bullies like Officer Nelson aren't the whole extent of the problem, either. While he tried to play bad cop good cop by himself, he was accompanied by another officer who seemed nice enough but said literally three sentences the whole time and did nothing to justify his presence there. He didn't stand up for me and he didn't ask his fellow cop to stop being a dickhole. It reminds me of this incident that happened in May but was just recently exposed, where a police sergeant in Boston bragged to another cop about running over BLM protesters in an unmarked police car, and didn't realize the other cop's body camera was on. Did the other cop report him? No, don't be ridiculous. The other cop warned him that his body camera was on, which tells you everything you need to know about law enforcement in this country, and the sergeant pretended he already knew that but immediately walked back his comments. Now that the footage has been made public, this piece of excrement has been placed on leave pending investigation, even though his comments alone are more than damning enough that he should be fired on the spot, and the only question is whether he should also be arrested for actually running protesters over.
Oh, and every time I see that picture of former police officer Brett Hankison with that insufferable smile on his face, I want to wipe it off with a brick.
Again, a silver lining of the you-know-what, for the same reasons. It's not like George Floyd and Breonna Taylor were even close to being the first black people murdered by American police officers.
4. Donald Trump was not re-elected president of the United States. I know many disagree with me on this, though those people probably don't read my blog very much, but I strongly believe that for obvious reasons he will be remembered as at least the second-worst president in American history (it's kind of hard to top Andrew "Trail of Tears" Jackson). Again, not saying Biden is anything great, but at least he'll make the United States a bit less of a global embarrassment for the next four years, or however long he's in office before Harris assassinates him. At least he only sniffs women's hair instead of bragging about grabbing them by the pussy. At least he didn't unironically warn his followers that his political opponent "will listen to the scientists". At least come January, refugees in desperate need will no longer be banned from this country that once claimed to be a haven for "your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore."
I think this is a silver lining of the you-know-what too. As much as I hate to say it, Trump still has enough support that he very well might have been re-elected if not for his criminally negligent mishandling of and misinformation regarding what he called a "hoax", which put God knows how many preventable American deaths on his hands.
5. Disney announced a bunch of new Star Wars TV shows. Given that the most mediocre episode of "The Mandalorian" easily kicks the pants off any Disney Star Wars movie except for "Rogue One", and given that I've long been turning to fan films to get my fix because there isn't enough official audiovisual Star Wars content, I'm thrilled. Of particular interest to me is the show that will star Ahsoka Tano. In a galaxy with thousands of sapient races, it's pretty annoying that almost everything of importance seems to be done by humans, and it's about frigging time someone else got to be the lead in a movie or show. Ahsoka is an awesome character and more than deserving of the honor. I admit that when I first saw her in the animated "The Clone Wars" movie I thought she was a stupid character, but I've repented of that. I actually prefer her more flawed and relatable teenage version but her stoic warrior adult version is cool too. She was one of the most-requested candidates for one of the anthology spinoff films that got canceled after "Solo" flopped, and hopefully her success in leading this series will disprove once and for all the fear of studio executives that "aliens alienate people".
Speaking of "Solo", there's another announced series about Lando Calrissian, which could be interesting as long as it avoids everything that was wrong with "Solo". As you may be aware, when that movie came out in 2018, this character established thirty-eight years earlier was retconned to be pansexual. In the movie, he acts flirty toward Han, and his robot sidekick makes a couple of innuendos and claims he's in love with her, but this is played as a joke until she dies and he's all distraught and it's just weird. Disney exercised restraint with his sexuality, though, just like they did with the brief lesbian kiss between two nobody characters in "The Rise of Skywalker" that could easily be edited out of screenings in more conservative countries. Yet the door is open. The actor who played him, Donald Glover, said in an interview, "How can you not be pansexual in space? There's so many things to have sex with. I'm serious. It just didn't seem that weird to me. You're in space; the door's open." Yes, Donald, you nailed it, no pun intended. That is what Star Wars is all about. So right now, the title of his series is just "Lando", but that's boring and I have a much better proposal: "Star Whores". Jussayin.
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About the Author
C. Randall Nicholson is a white cisgender male and a Latter-day Saint, so you can hate him without guilt, but he's also autistic, so you can't. Unless you're an anti-vaxxer, in which case the feeling is mutual. This blog is where he periodically rants about life, the universe, and/or everything.