Possibly necessary clarification to last week's post: I don't find Betty and Tamsen annoying. I think they're cute and funny. But I don't find Willie Scott, Navi, Jar Jar Binks, L3-37, or Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez annoying either, so take my opinion with a proverbial grain of salt.
Moving on, I got this piece of paper this week. To be precise, I walked into my previous apartment and it was sitting on the counter so I stole it.
Finally I have confirmation that I didn't flunk anything last semester. I wasn't man enough to check, but I had my concerns about Magical Realism and Advanced Creative Nonfiction Writing. I just wasn't smart enough for Magical Realism, and also I stopped participating after the first day when half my classmates laughed at my awkward phrasing of a comment. Of course the professor did nothing about it and instead penalized me for not wanting to talk anymore, because that's how life works. But Advanced Creative Nonfiction Writing was another kind of hell altogether. I didn't think it would be. I did pretty well in normal Creative Nonfiction Writing. Russ told me that my voice was unique enough to make him willing to read just about anything I write, that my essay "Ass Burgers" was one of his favorites of the term, and that I should strongly consider expanding it into a full-length memoir. Of course I also got plenty of constructive criticism because that was the point of the class, and I took it gracefully. I'm not afraid of criticism. I want to improve the shortcomings that I know exist in my writing, so I like it when people point them out.
The Advanced Creative Nonfiction Writing class was a different beast altogether. Jennifer decided we were all going to write "flash nonfiction", which is two or three page essays where every word counts and there's a second, deeper meaning behind the story. Frankly, I think that sort of thing is pretentious more often than not. I put "deeper meanings" in my novel to make it more interesting, but they're subtle and nothing is really lost if somebody misses them. My novel's purpose first and foremost is to be an exciting adventure in space, period. And in nonfiction, I don't even have the freedom to make up events that serve a certain narrative. More to the point, this metaphorical stuff is not my native language. I don't even like metaphors. Similes are all right, but this concept of saying that one thing is another thing when it's not has always rubbed me the wrong way. I only get used to it with cliches that are so overused that nobody ever thinks about what the actual words of the metaphor literally mean (e.g. rubbing me the wrong way). Even those pissed me off when I was little. Why do you ask "Can I see that?" when you're already looking right at it, jerk?
The possibility of talking to the university's Disability Resource Center about my autism had been presented to me, but I didn't go through with it because I didn't think of it as a disability in the context of academic stuff. It's mostly just a disability in making friends, being attractive, and getting an adequate amount of sleep at any point in my life. If I had thought about all the class participation I would be expected to do, I probably would have talked to the people. But I'm smart, and I'm usually a great writer in large part because of my autism, and I didn't see myself as having a disability that the university needed to address. I'm not used to writing garbage. I'm used to writing really good stuff that I'm really proud of until the next day when I'm sick of it and think it's garbage. In my attempts to fit the mold set out by this class that was completely disloyal to the way my brain works and anything I would ever write voluntarily, I wrote garbage. It wasn't great for my delicate millennial self-esteem.
Like Indiana Jones in "The Last Crusade", I faced three devices of lethal cunning. The first challenge was finding anecdotes from my life that could be condensed so briefly. Technically our essays didn't have to be about bad things, but that's what makes for compelling literature. I wrote about stuff like the time my parents' friends' daughter convinced me to help her pull all the limbs off a daddy-long-legs, the time I was alone with an older male relative and he whipped out his disco stick and exhorted me several times to suck it, and the time a girl I met online pretended to be in love with me because she thought we were both joking. The second challenge was thinking of deeper meanings that could be applied, and Jennifer assured us that an overarching theme would evolve for our chapbooks at the end. My overarching theme was that I'm insecure. The third challenge was deftly weaving these meanings in such a way as to enrich the essays without either being too subtle or insulting the reader's intelligence. I failed miserably at that. Nobody understood what I was going for in any of them.
My first workshopped essay was about the incident already related here. In addition to it being garbage, I made several stylistic choices that people didn't understand. I put in quirky details that I just thought were interesting, like the bridge over the St. Lawrence River that wobbled when we jumped on it, but people expected them to have relevance to the story and then they didn't. Okay, fine. I mentioned that my friend's house "once served as a bed and breakfast but now serves as a far more modern and permanent business: a video rental store." While this may not be a great joke even by my standards, I would certainly hope it's recognizeable as one, but a classmate felt the need to say that she didn't think a video rental store was a modern or permanent business. So there's an unwritten rule not to attempt humor in these serious artistic ventures. I put the whole work in present tense because that seemed to fit, because I wanted to write it from the perspective of idiot teenager me while only hinting that the increased wisdom and regret of adult me, and this led Jennifer to speculate out loud (in gentler terms, of course) that maybe I'm still a homophobe.
Going into detail about one of the friends who happened to be the weirdest friend I've ever had, without focusing the essay on him, was admittedly a huge mistake. Again, I thought his weirdness was just interesting, but it confused the crap out of people. Granted, this guy in person also confused the crap out of people. So I scrapped the original essay completely and wrote one about him instead, about how I hated him at first but then I realized he was a person with feelings too and it was really sweet. You can imagine, anyway, that in this workshop I felt eaten alive like in no workshop before and didn't feel like coming back to class ever. But I did because I didn't want to flunk, and eventually I noticed that the one person who knew me from a previous class, one where I was actually good, had messaged me afterward to say she didn't agree with all of the others' assessment and felt they had treated me unfairly, so that was nice of her. I'd screenshot the message if I could get back into Canvas, but I can't so you'll just have to decide whether I'm a trustworthy source.
I did write one essay, the night before the chapbook was due, that I don't think is garbage. Mind you, I'm not saying it's great, but I can read it without throwing up and I think it's the closest I ever came to the objective of the course. I may have slightly improved on this skill that I have little or no intention of ever consciously using again. At least enough to not flunk the class and be prevented from graduating, which is good enough for me.
My parents never let me have a Nintendo or a Playstation. It shouldn't have been a big deal, but I had enough trouble making friends already without being unable to participate in my church and school peers' conversations about the video games they played on the Nintendos and/or Playstations they all had. So it wasn't a small matter when we visited my grandparents one year and Aunt Laurel or Aunt Michelle – they're twins, so I don't remember which – asked if I wanted to use their Nintendo. I asked if they had any Legend of Zelda games. They said they did have one, and they put it in and the rest was history.
I'd only seen one Legend of Zelda game, “Majora's Mask”. The kid who owned it never offered to let me play, but I had so much fun just watching him that I fell in love with the series. Laurel's and Michelle's game was the prequel to it, “Ocarina of Time” – which, unknown to me then, is widely regarded as not only the best Zelda game, but one of the greatest video games of all time. Understandably so. It sucked me in just as much as the first. I played it every chance I got, trying to compensate for years' worth of missed opportunities in two weeks. Laurel and Michelle had to play for me half the time since I didn't know where to go and didn't dare take on the Bosses myself, but that was all right.
Link was the default name for the protagonist, but I named him Christor. I don't remember if there wasn't room for Christopher or if I just assumed there wasn't because there seldom was. Anyway, Christor started the game as a small, unassuming boy from the middle of nowhere. A silent protagonist, in fact, with no dialogue beyond grunts and shouts.
At one point in the game, Christor drew the Master Sword and opened up the doorway to the Sacred Realm where the sacred artifact, the Triforce, lay hidden. And suddenly he wasn't a kid anymore. He was too small to wield the Master Sword, so it put him to sleep for seven years. When he awoke, he was a ten-year-old in a seventeen-year-old body, forced to grow up too fast and emerge into a darkened world full of evil. Because it also turned out that his quest to stop Ganondorf from stealing the Triforce had enabled Ganondorf to steal the Triforce. Christor, the alleged hero, had royally screwed everything up. But it wasn't his fault. If only he hadn't listened to Zelda, Hyrule would have been in that mess.
Then there was a whole new quest, a much longer and more difficult one. The rules were the same, building off what he had learned in his trials as a child, but the puzzles got harder and the enemies got stronger. At least he'd had a chance to learn, to prepare before growing up. But could anything really prepare him for what he had to do? In any case, he must have been terrified. He must have lain awake at night sometimes, sweating and palpitating over the things he'd seen and experienced.
When all was said and done, though, Christor was significant. Christor made a difference. Christor saved Hyrule. And then Zelda, realizing that everything was her fault, sent him back in time to before he fell asleep, so he could live through the years that he'd missed. Since he never said anything, I never knew his thoughts on the matter. I wonder if he considered it a blessing to live time over, or if he worried about all the mistakes he would now have a chance to make. After his one big mistake that wasn't really his fault, he'd been safely out of harm's way for seven years. Now that would be undone.
Another side effect of this was that Ganondorf's reign was prevented (why didn't they just do that in the first place?) and people no longer remembered what Link had done for them. After all the countless hours he spent serving people and being a hero, he didn't even get to attend the victory celebration, and then nobody cared at all. As far as they were concerned, he was insignificant, even nonexistent.
I didn't think about all these implications while I was playing “Ocarina of Time” as a child, but I think about them now.
Ta-da! Notice how I tried to subtly manipulate you into feeling sorry for poor little me? Did it work?
So was this piece of paper "worth it"? Was it worth the seven and a half year wait, the change of majors, the leave of absence, the mornings I walked to campus at quarter to seven with ice in my hair, the mornings I got up even though I didn't want to be alive anymore, the loss of my scholarship after I spiraled into depression and stopped giving a ----about school, the suicide attempts, the tens of thousands of dollars of debt that I'll be stuck with for God knows how long, the research papers I wrote when I could have been doing literally anything else, the countless rejections large and small when I tried to build a social circle or get a date? Not really, no. Not when it turned out to be virtually useless because in today's economy I need a Masters' degree to be worth anything. But it's what I came for and now, after a ridiculously convoluted and circuitous journey, I have it. I guess it was worth the handful of really good enduring friendships I did get, and, oh yeah, I actually learned a few things. From my current major I learned how to be a better writer and from my previous major I learned how to explain to creationists that they're wrong.
Even though, given the state of my health, I don't anticipate living past my early forties, I don't mind having my own pace of adulting that's slower than almost everyone else's. It's not the absolute slowest. There were three people in Advanced Nonfiction Writing in their early thirties. And as far as I know they're still in school this semester while I'm not. But it's not a contest because individuality and stuff. And I don't even hate the prospect of graduate school anymore. I hope I can do it here, because nowhere else will do. After all these years I find myself truly, madly, deeply, hopelessly, consummately in love with the Ray B. West Building, Utah State University, and Logan Utah. I'm not cheating on any of them. They're like a Siamese triplet kind of deal. I wonder if graduate school will take another seven years? I was just thinking in terms of that one biblical story today, that if I had started working for a wife when I came to Utah, by this time I would have one and I would only need to work seven more years for the one I actually wanted. That's kind of a messed-up story when you think about it.
This past week I celebrated Darwin Day by going to a JTM (the artist formerly known as James the Mormon) and Jay Warren concert at the Cache Venue. I'm sure JTM is working on changing his name once more to JTMOTCOJCOLDS, but these things take time when you've got a following on several social media and music streaming platforms. Yeah, so I'm not sure if this post will be of much interest or make much sense to anyone not familiar with the religion that they and I share, and I'm sorry about that but I have to write about these things sometimes. You can skim up to the paragraph beinging with "So, the concert" in bold letters if you think that will help. I wouldn't want you to miss out on my exciting experience.
I'm not the biggest rap/hip-hop person, but it's a music genre and I like every music genre. I barely ever go to concerts, but the tickets were on sale when I saw them and I think very highly of JTM as a person and am happy to support his endeavors. His role in the music world performs two important functions. First, it makes rap and hip-hop music accessible to people who are turned off by excessive swearing, drugs, and misogyny. There's nothing inherently wrong or tasteless about rap and hip-hop as a genre, but for some reason its lyrics struggle to rise above the level of high school boys desperately trying to act cool. I die a little inside every time I have to exclude or remove a really catchy specimen from my playlist because of its content. Second, it helps to legitimize The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as a serious world religion. But what is this blasphemy? Hear me out on it.
A lot of LDS entertainment has traditionally centered around mocking the idiosyncracies of Utah (and especially Wasatch Front) culture. And that's fine, because those things deserve to be mocked. But it can get out of hand. It makes them quirky cultural artifacts with very limited appeal. Take, for example, the mediocre LDS comedy film "The Singles' Ward", which is not as good as "The Home Teachers" but light-years better than "Church Ball". Any movie with more than one funny line is better than "Church Ball". Same with "Suits on the Loose". The concept of escaped convicts impersonating missionaries is comic gold, yet the funniest part of that movie was that a friend saw the DVD in my dorm room and he thought it said "Sluts on the Loose" and that became an inside joke. And what is "Napoleon Dynamite"? Does it even count as LDS or comedy or a movie? After a lifetime of hearing it quoted out of context and being led to believe that it was some kind of masterpiece, I finally watched it a couple years ago at a friend's house, and afterward she was like "Now you understand our culture" and I thought to myself, Your culture is stupid.
Anyway, at the time I watched "The Singles' Ward", I myself had been in a singles' ward in Utah for four years. But instead of thinking "Wow, this is so relatable!" I mostly found myself thinking "Wow, Provo Mormons are freaks." No offense to any who are reading this. I'm just being honest about what the movie made me think at that time. Imagine, my dear Utah peeps, how much less relatable this film is to an LDS viewer who's never left Wisconsin, or Paraguay, or Zimbabwe. Now imagine how incomprehensible this film is to literally anyone else on the planet. And now, if you didn't already, you can probably grasp why the rash of like-minded films in the early 2000s will soon be even more lost to time than they already are. I should say that I do think "Mobsters and Mormons" is still really good. Because it's specifically about a mobster being relocated to Utah, the jokes about Utah's idiosyncracies are justified, and because it follows the perspective of a confused outsider family whom we're supposed to sympathize with, the potential confusion to viewers is also justified. And the mobster has no filter and no tact and he's hilarious. I wish I was him.
But there are what I regard as high-quality LDS films available - not without flaw by any means, but far more accessible and far less dated than the ill-advised comedies, such as "God's Army", "God's Army 2: States of Grace", "The Saratov Approach", "Ephraim's Rescue", "Freetown", "The Cokeville Miracle", "Jane and Emma". One time I said I liked "God's Army" and my dad said he didn't really like it and I said at least it's a lot better than "The Singles' Ward" and my mom said she doesn't think "The Singles' Ward" was actually intended to be a good movie. Instead of making jokes that implicitly equate an ostensibly global religion with Provo, these ones aren't shy to explore universal themes that anybody can take something away from. That doesn't mean they have to be "serious" all the time. Most of them have some lighthearted moments. "God's Army" even has some rather juvenile humor derived from immature missionaries that doesn't detract from its overall thoughtfulness. I don't even object to the concept of LDS comedies, but I think they could be done better and have broader appeal to justify their existence and stand the test of time.
So what does any of this have to do with JTM? This is what any of this has to do with JTM:
In case you can't be bothered to indulge in this cultural experience, the song drops as many LDS buzzwords as possible, separated by the occasional "Morrrmon! Mormon rap! Do the Muh-Muh-Mormon rap!" Okay, so it's a bit of cute, harmless fun. But if this is all we have to offer, it sends a message that these often localized stereotypes are what it means to be a Latter-day Saint. It precludes the possibility that some Saint in India who's never eaten green Jell-O or attended BYU is every bit as "Mormon" as the protagonist of the song. It certainly makes it more difficult for an ignorant outsider hearing the song to consider that possibility on their own. Perhaps even more concerningly, if this is all we have to offer, it tells the world that all the Restoration has to offer in terms of culture is parodies and jokes. And look, I'm not saying there's anything wrong with parodies and jokes. (I love the work of Cal Grondahl, Pat Bagley and Robert Kirby, for example.) I'm not saying this is a terrible song. But I'm saying this is where JTM comes in. And boy, did he come in. This was my first exposure to him, way back in '15:
We gon bring it back for ya baby more dreams
And if you got questions then you know you gonna see
So imma bring it back for ya
Know I'd go to bat for ya
I know where you at when you go to your knees
Hmmm. I sense a shift. In this one, JTM and Jay Warren unironically yet uniquely relate the story of Joseph Smith's First Vision. So what does this one tell the world, besides the story's own obvious message of heartfelt questioning and prayer? It tells the world that the story of Joseph Smith is incredible enough to inspire legitimate works of art, including rap and hip-hop. It tells the world that the restored gospel - not just the unfortunate culture that's grown up around it, but the restored gospel itself - is fertile ground for multiple genres of creativity. "We are proud of the artistic heritage that the Church has brought to us from its earliest beginnings, but the full story of Mormonism has never yet been written nor painted nor sculpted nor spoken. It remains for inspired hearts and talented fingers yet to reveal themselves." If we don't strive to reach that point, if we're content to just laugh at a stereotypical subset of ourselves for generations to come, then how can we expect anyone else to take our religion seriously when we don't? JTM and Jay Warren gave us what is, as far as I know, an unprecedented leap forward in this area of that regard.
So, the concert. It said it started at 7, but what it actually meant was that the doors opened at 7 and it started twenty minutes later. Whatever. There were three, count 'em, three opening acts before the guys that people actually came to see. They were all right, but I just couldn't get into them. I wandered around aimlessly for a bit, texted a close friend to rant about the unfairness of life and my anger toward God, and gazed longingly at the Cache Venue's overpriced menu items that were out of my league. Then Jay Warren came on, and I started to pay more attention. Then JTM came on with Jay Warren backing him up, and I was riveted by his infectious energy and enthusiasm. The crowd ate it up. I'm not sure which demographic was funnier to watch dancing and singing along - under twelve, or over forty. This despite the fact that he acknowledged his fame recently causing him the worst depression of his life, and disclosed a childhood filled with abuse. His main message, though, was that God loves each and every one of us no matter who we are. And coming from a rap/hip-hop star, it rang with its own special sincerity that drove the crowd wild.
After the concert, I lined up for the Meet & Greet. I was at the back of the line but that was fine because I was in a patient mood. Then some girls who didn't have Meet & Greet tickets lined up behind me. One of them had gotten to dance on stage. Two of them were the ones that I had looked at because I thought I recognized one of them from church but I didn't and then they saw me looking at them and I tried to avoid them for the rest of the night. And two of them were these goofballs that I met at a party in October and have seen a couple times since then. Let's call them Betty and Tamsen, because those are their names. So Betty and Tamsen were absorbed in their own little conversation and I just patiently waited for them to notice me. When Tamsen notice me, she squealed so loud and long that I started to get uncomfortable. How do you respond to that? The only other time I've gotten that kind of reaction from a woman was when I gave one something I wrote to read. I don't know the reason for it this time.
She was all like, "Where were you? You should have invited us!" etc. And maybe I should have, because then I wouldn't have felt awkward when my grandmother asked who I was going with and I had to say "Just me" because I wasn't quick-witted enough to say "The Holy Ghost, my constant companion." So then Betty and Tamsen did the thing they like to do where they both talk to me at once, from either side, not letting me get a word in edgewise, and then say stuff like "Are we bothering you? Are we peer pressuring you? Are we making you uncomfortable?" This time, it was because they tried to convince me to tell the guy in charge that they had to be in my picture. That was perfectly fine with me, and would have made for a better blog post, but they felt guilty and backtracked right away. They toyed with a few different ideas for getting in, and they toyed with the idea of giving up and going home. I said they could just bat their eyelashes at the guy and they said that was against their principles.
So they were still discussing that when I moved up to the front of the line, right by the mysterious curtain that divided us normal people from the celebrities, and I sat down on a conveniently situated stool and that tricked the guy next to me into thinking I worked there. Then the guy in charge was like "How many?" and before I could respond he ushered both of us in, and that's why a total stranger is in this picture with me.
It was a relief, actually, since I was starstruck and had no idea what to say and he did all the talking while I was awkwardly awkward. JTM didn't seem particularly thrilled to see us. I imagine he just wanted to go home, and I can't blame him and I'm going to be the same way when my adoring fans want me to autograph my books, but when you decide to become a celebrity you give up perks like that. It will be worth it for him, though, when my own fame has exploded and this picture is worth a thousand dollars. I think I'll Photoshop the shadows out from under my eyes as soon as I learn how. Also, please note the awesome shirt that my awesome sister gave me for Christmas.
So the random guy gave me his number and I sent him the pictures (this one and four even worse ones) and then I naturally assumed I would never see him again. I saw him again the following night. Inside my house. He came over with approximately two hundred other people to solicit a business that these other guys run from my new house on Wednesday evenings from 6 to 9 pm. They sell spaghetti toast and inside-out toasted cheese sandwhiches for five dollars each with optional chips and soda for an additional dollar. You can get it delivered somewhere in Logan or thereabouts for an additonal two dollars by texting 801-819-5517, but why not save money and get the full experience of music and loud camaraderie by picking up in person at 435 Boulevard, Logan, Utah? No joke, it's a party. Just please close the freaking door behind you like an adult and don't block the hallway to my bedroom. This advertisement has not been approved or paid for by anyone, but it should be.
Betty and Tamsen and their three compatriots got in behind me with no difficulty because it turns out the guy didn't actually even check anybody for Meet & Greet tickets. They spent considerably longer with JTM and Jay Warren than I did, even though I actually bought a Meet & Greet ticket. But that's okay. I'm happy for them. They owe me for convincing them not to give up and go home. Then Tamsen made me squeeze into the backseat of their car with three other people because she couldn't accept the fact that I like walking. But that's okay. I'm just grateful that because of her and Betty's endorsement, their friends were reassured that I wasn't a creep just because I looked at them. All things considered, I've had worse evenings.
Bernie Sanders is light-years ahead of Donald Trump in class and intellect, and I didn't bother watching the State of the Union address because when I want to be lied to I'll try dating again, but I saw this going around Facebook and it made me laugh.
Trump: America will never be a socialist country.
Of course, Trump's words ring a little hollow. Because he's a Republican, some people are gullible enough to actually think he's a proponent of limited government and restrained spending even though he's not. He just has his priorities of where to use government and spending completely wrong. Still, I thought this picture was funny and I sympathize with the sentiment. Every conceivable human economic system is inherently evil, but since we've got to have one, I think capitalism is the most tolerable evil. It's evil because it revolves around the acquisition of money and by definition motivates any behavior leading to that result, no matter how wrong it is. Now of course some people in this system would do the right thing regardless of profits because they're good people. But experience has borne out time and again that others will only do the right thing if the government forces them to. Pure capitalism was and is a nightmare for everyone at the bottom of the corporate hierarchy.
It's absurd to think that while the government is corrupt and power-hungry, corporations are purely good and benevolent. For all its failings, we depend on the government to stop corporations from making children clean dangerous machinery, feeding us E. coli, dumping sludge in our waterways, and lying to us about the health benefits of cigarettes, to name just a few not hypothetical examples. There are plenty of other things it should be stopping. I saw firsthand how insurance companies still get away with screwing (mostly elderly) customers because they can, by refusing to cover things they're blatantly required by their policies to cover and then counting on many of these people to lack the patience or knowledge to appeal these decisions through a court system that's required by law to resolve the issue within three months but, because of the obscene backlog of these cases that never should have happened, actually takes closer to three years. Why isn't the government stopping this crap? I hope these insurance companies burn in hell. Also, it should be illegal for oil companies to lie about climage change.
I believe socialism is okay, even necessary in moderate doses. It's silly for any non-libertarian who has no problem paying taxes to build roads, libraries, schools, hospitals, etc. to assert that taking money from people to benefit society is inherently wrong. The only logically consistent position for an avowed socialism-hater to take here is that all taxation is theft. But I think Social Security was a great idea in theory, before the government ruined it by stealing Social Security funds so that now I can count on receiving nothing after a lifetime of paying into the system. Obamacare is a train wreck but its ideas aren't all bad, considering that the United States has had one of the worst healthcare systems in the developed world for a long time. When Taiwan became a developed nation and built their healthcare system they literally used ours as an example of what not to do. And I'm not going to lose one bit of sleep if billionaires have to start paying 70% taxes when they hit eleven billion dollars. I really could not care less if they could now only afford to buy four dozen of everything they could conceivably want.
Obviously full-blown socialism like Venezuela's is awful. No sane person will deny that. There are, however, the counterexamples of most European nations, which have wedded capitalism and socialism in an interesting way (and on this point some American socialists are ignorant or dishonest by overlooking capitalism's role in their prosperity, while others say that's exactly the point and the difference from Venezuela). On the one hand, they have pretty high taxes, but on the other hand, they're actually paying for worthwhile things that benefit society. I would much rather pay taxes for someone else's antidepressants or college degree than for Trump's stupid stupid wall. In fact, I'd rather flush my money down a liberal toilet than pay for Trump's stupid stupid wall. Currently, I would hate to pay higher taxes simply because I know they'd be wasted, and a government that spends money it doesn't have and never has to pay its debts doesn't need mine anyway, but if things were different I would tolerate it.
Why is it no longer taboo for Americans to admit they support socialism? A very short time ago when conservatives accused Obama of being a socialist, liberals vehemently denied it and accused the conservatives of being racist Now they vote for actual self-proclaimed socialists. Millennials in particular are outspoken about their widespread support for socialism. Old capitalists generally assume it's because they're lazy and entitled. Those old capitalists are uncharitable, arrogant, and wrong. Here are a few of the actual reasons why millennials support socialism (and I will mostly say "they" even though I'm a millennial and most of these things apply to me because I don't consider myself a socialist, and I recognize that there are undoubtedly a few exceptions because no generation is a monolith regardless of what old people who don't even know there's a difference between millennials and Generation Z try to pretend):
*Because they're tired of working their butts off, often at two or three jobs, for less money and a lower quality of life than their parents. Incidentally, they're the first generation in American history to have less money and a lower quality of life than their parents. So they get blamed for "killing" various luxury industries they can't afford.
*Because they're tired of watching capitalism fulfill its promise for only a select few, enriching the people who are already rich, while their own paychecks are devoured month after month by rent, groceries, utilities, and the other various penalties for being alive. Money they do manage to save is periodically devoured by emergency expenses.
*Because they're burdened for decades by record-setting debt from pursuing the secondary education that they were told their whole lives was necessary for them to get decent jobs and accomplish anything, which cost astronomically more than ever before and in many cases turned out to actually be useless.
*Because they're sickened, as any decent human being would be, that citizens of this country have to set up GoFundMe campaigns and hope for the best when they get chronic illnesses or injuries they can't afford to have treated. Ambulance rides alone, which are free in many countries, can cost thousands of dollars here.
An article that may be of interest to some: How Millennials Became the Burnout Generation
Sure, maybe capitalism isn't even the cause of these problems. Maybe the government caused these problems. I wouldn't be surprised. But these legitimate gripes need to be recognized whatever their source. Pretending millennial socialists as lazy and entitled instead will do nothing to win them over. I mean, it just seems to me like maybe you old capitalists would want to find common ground and try to persuade them of your point of view, especially since all millennials are old enough to vote, but that's just my opinion. Feel free to ignore me and keep calling them snowflakes instead. Let's pretend that will accomplish anything besides making you sound stupid.
Apparently there's some big football game going on today. I don't know, I don't watch football. I attended one football game my freshman year and failed to grasp the appeal of a sport that can't go unpaused for more than five consecutive seconds. It was a game against BYU though, so at one point the big screen in the stadium said "Win or lose, you still live in Provo. Nuff said." That was worth the price of admission. This was back when it was Romney Stadium, before capitalism ruined it. Now it's named Maverick Stadium after a chain of gas stations. I kid you not. I refuse to call it M------- Stadium. In all seriousness though, this is like the biggest weekend of the year for sex traffickers, so... I don't know what I expect anybody to do with that information, but it seems like something we should all be aware of.
As it happens, I am busy all this weekend with unrelated things like moving out of my crappy apartment, so I'll make this mercifully brief. I've kept forgetting to follow up on a post from five months ago where I reflected on how broken and hopeless I felt after being told much too late in life that a. oppositional defiant disorder is a thing and that b. I was diagnosed with it as a child. The only thing I have to add is that I brought this up in group therapy, and I can talk about this because I can talk about the things that I talk about in therapy, just not the things that other people talk about. My wonderful fellow group members were pissed on my behalf about the timeframe and circumstances in which I got this information. My wonderful therapist, who was considerably older than me, said that in his experience the majority of ODD diagnoses are wrong. It's basically a label that mental health professionals can attach to behaviors with zero regard for context or motivation. That's exactly what I thought when I heard the term, but of course I have no expertise to judge. And he said that even when the diagnosis is correct, most people grow out of it anyway.
I'm cool with that. Psychiatrists aren't gods, and frankly the more I look back the more I feel like if the ones I saw were much good they probably would have been stationed almost anywhere else besides St. Lawrence County, New York. So for now, I'm going to go with the assumption that I don't have this made-up disorder after all. Because, as I detailed in my earlier post, it was far too late in life for me to give a damn about overcoming an alleged disorder that nobody could be bothered to tell me about for well over a decade, the only real difference this makes is that I loathe myself a little less than I did immediately after getting the unwelcome news. And maybe it turns out that I'm not quite too broken for somebody to love me someday.
Nah, that's pushing it.
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C. Randall Nicholson
This is where I occasionally rant about life, the universe, and/or everything. I'm a white cisgender male and a Latter-day Saint, so you can hate me without guilt, but I'm also autistic, so you can't. Unless you're an anti-vaxxer, in which case the feeling is mutual.