Brigham Young University has been in the news this week for its Honor Code that it makes prospective students agree to. While I personally would despise living under the Honor Code, I respect BYU's right to have it in place to foster the sort of environment it wants, and recognize that it's a positive experience for the vast majority of students who go there. Nonetheless, the way it's applied and enforced has been a nightmare for some. To be clear, this is all they're complaining about on the Instagram page "Honor Code Stories", which has a lot of followers - I've seen several articles that cited the number of followers but when I went to the link the number was already higher than that, so I'm not going to bother. I fully support these students' cause and wish them the best. Again, this has nothing to do with trying to abolish the Honor Code or even change what's included in it, despite what some Latter-day Saints who belittle these students without reading what their actual grievances are would have you believe.
Anyway, I thought that now would be a good opportunity to recollect the time I made some young ladies at BYU break the Honor Code. It was long enough ago that I don't think they'll face any repercussions even if their identities are discovered from the zero identifying information I'll provide. It was December 2013, and I was returning to Utah from New York after Christmas, but winter weather delayed the plane so much that we arrived after Salt Lake Express stopped running. As good fortune would have it, my friend Laura was returning to Utah from Vermont on the same flight, and happened to know a group of BYU students on the same flight, and she arranged for us to both crash at their apartment. Instead of, you know, on the airport floor. I realized in hindsight that having me, a member of the opposite sex, in their apartment overnight was a violation of the Honor Code. And I couldn't possibly be less sorry. As Nicholas Cage would say, "Here's to the women who did what was considered wrong, in order to do what they knew was right."
A hair salon in Provo is also under fire for only including white, mostly blonde women in its ads. And normally I'm all in favor of diversity, but in this case it would actually constitute false advertising because, um, hello, this is Provo we're talking about. It makes the rest of Utah look like the United Nations. But unfortunately that's only the second stupidest controversy I heard about this week.
Recently the comics of Nathan W. Pyle have taken the internet by storm. Using aliens and fancy words, he portrays everyday situations that humans take for granted in a new light, humorously exposing how weird they actually are.
As an Aspie, I've known my entire life that human society is weird and frequently stupid and that most social norms are arbitrary if not flat-out stupid, but until I found a like-minded community on the internet I was always told that "that's the way it is" and I'm the one who's wrong for thinking differently. The Aspie-alien connection is very real. One of if not the largest online autism community isn't called "Wrong Planet" for nothing. I have to say that never being able to fully integrate or feel comfortable in society is a worthwhile price to pay for the ability to see through its crap. And this comic sort of validates. But then... this happened. Or rather, this happened some time ago and then some intrepid researcher brought it to light just the other day.
Naturally, I am horrified to discover that Nathan W. Pyle appears to share the pro-life Christian views of tens of millions of other Americans. His gratitude that his girlfriend's life was not cut short in infancy obviously makes him a terrible excuse for a human being who wants women to be forced incubators. I cannot in good conscience follow him or read his comics any more.
Oh wait, no. That's literally one of the stupidest things I've ever heard. And I only wish it were a straw man, instead of the accurate representation of mindless pro-abortion outrage that it actually is, up to and including the asinine phrase "forced incubators". So now Nathan W. Pyle is forced to defend himself for holding a viewpoint that some of his former fans don't think is acceptable. As if that weren't stupid enough already, notice that the majority of pro-life Christian sentiment is actually contained in the tweet that he retweeted, which was written by a woman. But none of the hate is directed at the woman. Because if it was, the haters would be forced to recognize how stupid they sound telling a woman that she wants women to be forced incubators. But of course, men aren't allowed to have an opinion on the sanctity of life because something something logical fallacy. Except pro-choice men, who are exempt from the logical fallacy because reasons. This particular man is just agreeing with a woman, but that's not okay either because pro-life women are officially supposed to not exist.
Look, obviously you have no obligation to like or follow social media channels devoted to the promulgation of ideas that you disagree with. However, when you go to the trouble of culling friends or public figures for simply holding those ideas, your social media feeds become little more than monuments to your own narcissism. Even more so than they already are by default, I mean. The internet becomes a fantasy world where all good, honest, right-minded people think, believe, and vote exactly like you do. Over time this literally makes you stupider as you forget how to process anything that isn't what you want to hear. It also makes you a jerk to anyone who does manage to break through your echo chamber with cogent reasoning. And in cases like this, where Nathan W. Pyle was doing little or nothing to promote his personal views through the artwork that everyone came to his page to see, it's just a total waste of shunning. It would be like if I stopped listening to Sheryl Crow or watching movies with Harrison Ford because I don't agree with every detail of their politics. Stupid, right?
Yeah, some people take positions so morally repugnant that you can't stand to be associated with them. That's fair. But if you think being pro-life is one of those positions, then no offense, but you're kind of stupid. If you can't grasp any good or honest reasons why a person acting in good faith would reach the conclusion that taking the life of a human organism in its early stages of development is wrong, but instead insist on making up stupid crap about how they're just masking their burning desire for women to be forced incubators, you're no better or smarter than someone who thinks you want to murder every baby in the world. It's also worth noting that there are tens of millions of pro-lifers in the United States and their numbers increase every year, so looking down on them as if they're some laughably outnumbered deviation from acceptable ways of thinking is not only arrogant, but delusional. I would even go so far as to guess that more of Nathan W. Pyle's fans support him for this tweet than otherwise. But it ultimately should have zero relevance to his alien comics.
Now, if there were any actual evidence of Nathan W. Pyle, say, screaming at pregnant women outside abortion clinics, shooting abortionists, or blowing up abortion clinics - stuff that for some reason is often represented as the norm while pro-choice violence, harassment, and rape threats go blissfully ignored - then he would be a piece of scum and losing his social media following should be the least of his consequences. However, I'm unaware of any evidence that anyone's life has been negatively impacted in any way by his gratitude that his girlfriend lived to adulthood. But because people are idiots, he had to take to Twitter again to run damage control after they ate him alive for it.
I'm sure the Christianity aspect (which, again, originated with the woman that he retweeted) has nothing to do with the outrage against Nathan W. Pyle, because Christians have a persecution complex and are not actually mistreated or stigmatized in the United States at all. Still, his claim to believe in separation of church and state is dubious in light of this scandal. From what I've been able to gather in my observations, separation of church and state means that religious people aren't supposed to have political opinions or express their beliefs outside of a church building. And if, God forbid, churches themselves want to get involved in politics, then they should start paying taxes because holding them to a different standard than literally all other non-profit organizations makes sense. It seems to me that Nathan W. Pyle already violated separation of church and state with his infamous retweet, which forced his beliefs on people by acknowledging them in a place where people could read them. But I'll let it slide this once because we all make mistakes.
I agree wholeheartedly with his closing sentence, yet find it laughable that he thinks the Democrats are any better. But I'll let that slide too because, oh yeah, I almost forgot, I like his comics. His votes can go toward the Pansexual Vegan Anarcho-Communist Party for all I care.
"I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend." - Thomas Jefferson to William Hamilton, April 22, 1800
Now, it would be remiss of me not to mention some considerably happier news even if just for the two of you who haven't heard already. Behold:
I must admit this teaser comes nowhere close to recapturing the excitement I felt as an almost-12 year old seeing the "Revenge of the Sith" teaser, probably because this time I know there will be future Star Wars movies of varying quality until well after I die, but the bit at the end definitely got my attention. I can only describe it as
"Guys. Chris's blog is the stuff of legends. If you’re ever looking for a good read, check this out!"
- Amelia Whitlock
"I don't know how well you know Christopher Randall Nicholson, but... he's trolling. You should read his blog. It's delightful."
- David Young
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.