Latter-day Saint Charities recently donated $20 million to UNICEF's push for two billion vaccine doses in 196 countries by the end of the year. I applaud such an initiative. It is absolutely unacceptable for only wealthy countries to get the vaccine while the rest continue to suffer for God knows how long. Naturally, the anti-vaxxers whose existence blights this planet are confused and upset at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints all over again, and I've had many opportunities to pass along my post "Follow the Prophet, Even When He Shills for Big Pharma", which has upset some of them even more. When I wrote it, I harbored no illusions that it would change anyone's mind. Trying to convince an anti-vaxxer of reality is like trying to convince a rock to do jumping jacks. I know that, and yet I've still wasted some time arguing with them, and I'm not proud of myself and I'm really trying to stop.
The best I could hope for was to cut through their mental gymnastics and rationalizations about the officiality and unambiguousness of the Church's position on vaccines, and expose them to the full force of the cognitive dissonance they warrant and deserve for knowing that it isn't run by delusional anti-science conspiracy theorists like them, and convince them to have some integrity and admit that they disagree with an official and unambiguous Church position. Even that was expecting too much of them, but I tried. At least when left-wing members disagree with the Church on something - always for reasons that are a lot less stupid - they have the cajones to say they disagree with the Church on something. They don't lie and pretend it's one guy's opinion that isn't binding on anything. Really, the logical leap from "The First Presidency ackowledged that vaccinations are a personal decision" (true) to "The First Presidency didn't endorse vaccines and encourage all members to get vaccinated" (bull) is so blatantly wrong that I'm sure even most of the anti-vaxxers making it know it's wrong. They're just trying to stave off the cognitive dissonance at all costs. And they hate me when I don't let them do that.
More than one person was upset with me for mocking the grieving parents of hundreds of thousands of children who have suffered from vaccine injuries. No, I'm mocking parents who are so stupid that if their kid gets vaccinated and then gets hit by a car two years later, they call it a vaccine injury. More than one person was upset with me for not showing Christlike love to people with a difference of opinion founded on lies that presents a constant direct threat to public health throughout the country, and especially to the lives and well-being of children whose only sin was being born to such idiots. Oh, isn't it funny how anti-vaxxers were always like "Why does my child need to get vaccinated to protect your child" but now they're pretending to know how herd immunity works? We don't need the vaccine, we need everyone in the world to get sick, several million people to die, and the healthcare system to collapse so we can achieve herd immunity. The virus has a 99.9% recovery rate with no long-term side effects or any negative outcomes besides death whatsoever, but the rate of abnormally serious side effects from the vaccine is - well, it's a lot lower than .01%, but that's still a lot because it just is! Or something. I'm only pretending to comprehend their thought process, if they have one.
Last week we workshopped the first thirteen pages of my essay "Things That Rhyme With 'Elise'", which maybe I'll post on this website and maybe I won't. And I just want to say that the workshop was a great experience for how it contrasted with my experience last time I had a class from Jennifer. Last time, as I've mentioned, I was not adapted to the flash non-fiction format she made us use where every detail has to have some deeper layer of meaning, and my classmates didn't understand when I was trying to make jokes in my writing and decided to assume I was stupid instead. I felt eaten alive. This time, everyone gushed about how great it was. I mean, workshops always start with saying what you think is working well in a piece anyway, but you can tell if everyone really liked a piece because they have so much to say. They thought it was funny and sweet and had all these brilliant things going on - some of them intentional on my part, some subconscious, and a few coincidental but I'll take them anyway. My one favorite line from all verbal and written feedback combined is: "I love the way you write about Calise, I feel like I'm falling in love with her with you."
Of course, as this is a little less than half of the current length of the essay, they couldn't see where I was going with it or which seemingly random details will turn out to be important - some even questioned whether Talease, interesting though she is, really matters to the story I'm telling, and oh how I wish I could answer that in the negative - so I'm impressed with the volume of useful feedback they were able to provide regardless. I felt bad having to split it up and make it less powerful, but I'd feel worse making them respond to 28 pages in one go. I was going to do this essay and another essay about something else, but this one will swell to fill as much space as I can give it, and it's what my heart needs me to write about. I've had to be very selective with details and try to choose representative ones that present a good picture and also take the time to dwell on key scenes and not just jump along from one point to another like "The Rise of Skywalker", and there's the whole show vs. tell balance and scene vs. summary balance and so on. My classmates are invested now and they're excited to read the second part and see how this adorable love story will play out.
Yeah... I feel bad about that.
I wish I could make up a different story, to satisfy them if not myself, but I can't because unlike anti-vaxxers, I have some integrity. So the second part is going to break their expectant, excited hearts. I feel like a box of puppies is looking up at me with such love and trust in their eyes as I'm about to shoot them all. I suppose this is a skill I can carry over to my preferred venue of fiction writing. I'll get people to love my characters and root for their success and read with baited breath to see what happens, and then I'll do terrible things to my characters, kill them off even, and my readers will cry and curse me and keep buying my books. I mean, I want my books to be funny, so I won't be too extreme with that direction. But it's a good skill to have and it looks like I have it. I feel so bad.
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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.