Will you permit me to be shockingly vulnerable and risk total humiliation for a moment? I regret to inform everyone that my mental health has deteriorated farther and more rapidly than I ever imagined was possible. I can't trust myself anymore and neither should anyone else. Frankly, I'm scared. There's no telling what I might do or whether I even truly have a say in the matter. I don't know how this happened, or why I failed to notice, but now that it's far too late for me to seek help I've finally gotten a red flag too blatant to ignore. Recently I re-watched "The Star Wars Holiday Special" for the first time in many years and I... well... I... I liked it. I thought it was interesting and exciting and hilarious. I understood for the first time where the writers were coming from and how they could have maybe not thought it would be impossibly terrible. I'm not going to argue that it isn't impossibly terrible. It is. But I don't care anymore. I'm so sorry.
Maybe I'm overreacting. It could just be really, really bad hormones. After all, my pregnancy test came back positive.
It must have been conceived by the will of the Living Force. You know, the mini-chlorines.
I binge-watched "The Clone Wars" again too, and it often made me sad, and I loved that. When dealing with reality, virtually anything that makes me sad goes a step further and triggers depression, which is entirely different and sucks. Sadness is a healthy and normal emotion, depression is not. And sadness is so many light-years removed from depression that it literally feels good by comparison. And because the suffering and death in these cartoons is fictional, it doesn't trigger the depression, and I can just cry like a normal person. Some episodes are like a laxative for tears. In one [SPOILER ALERT], a person very close to Obi-Wan Kenobi was murdered in front of him, and while I wasn't particularly attached to her, I am particularly attached to Obi-Wan, and so (even though I'd seen it before) I felt his pain vicariously, felt my own heart stop at the sight of his gaping mouth as the lightsaber skewered her, and as they spoke to each other of their forbidden and unsatiated love for the last time I cried for his loss and it was great.
And really, this prequel era is incredibly dark. The whole business of manufacturing millions of humans to follow orders and be cannon fodder, while the supposed guardians of truth and righteousness just play along with it, is dark enough in the movies alone. But these cartoons show time and time again that these clones have individual personalities, feelings, and self-selected names. They love each other as brothers. That makes it so much worse. In one story arc near the end of the series [SPOILER ALERT], one clone discovers that they all have chips in their heads that at some point will make them kill the Jedi, their best friends, and he tries to tell everyone but Palpatine frames him as unstable and dangerous and he becomes a fugitive from justice and everyone thinks he's insane and the other clones feel forced to kill him and the secret dies with him. It's dark and tragic and creepy and awful and I love it. And what about how even the most expendable droids are programmed to feel pain and fear death? The battle droids' comic relief is downright disturbing if you think about it too much.
There was also a story arc about slavery that was probably the most disturbing of all because it wasn't very fictional. Anakin's old master Watto was relatively kind, but this arc showed how much worse it could be. It started off innocently enough with the usual violence. And of course there was the usual humor as Ahsoka rolled her eyes at Anakin sweet-talking the Zygerian Queen to gain her confidence. And then a slave girl attempted to assassinate the Queen, and Anakin stopped her, and the Queen said she would have to be "processed" again to teach her submission, and she became horrified and jumped off the balcony rather than go through that again. Whoa. And then the heroes themselves were exposed and pressed into slavery and it was awful which was great. I probably sound like a sociopath. It's just that in my opinion, suffering and tragedy are what makes compelling stories. There has to be a balance, of course - there has to be humor and love and hope and goodness - but without darkness there can be no meaningful light.
And have you ever realized that the bad guys won in every single prequel movie? In Episode I, the Sith took over the Senate and found Anakin. The outcome of the Battle of Naboo really didn't matter. In Episode II, the Sith orchestrated a war to give them even more power. The outcome of the Battle of Geonosis really didn't matter. This is what's known as a Xanatos gambit, where any possible outcome is a victory for the villain, and Palpatine was a master of those. Yoda said it himself: "Victory? Master Obi-Wan, not victory. The shroud of the Dark Side has fallen. Begun, this Clone War has." Dun dun dun. And then of course in Episode III the Sith seduced Anakin, exterminated the Jedi and renamed the Republic the Empire, but that one's obvious. (And it really was little more than a renaming. In "The Clone Wars" we see that the Republic has already drifted far from being "the good guys". Which is awesome.) So the bad guys won in four out of six original Star Wars movies, which is one of the gutsiest moves of any franchise ever.
On Tuesday I became the last person in the world to see "The Last Jedi", as my workplace generously provided tickets for everyone as its Christmas party. Once again, it was worth waiting a few more days because free is better than not free and the fewer people in the theater, the better. I'm grateful that no one spoiled it for me because I've never killed anyone on purpose and hope to keep it that way. So, maybe I'll review it at some point but for now I'll just say that in my judgment it was better than "The Force Awakens" and not as good as "Rogue One". Serious props for its originality, though I wish they'd put in more familiar aliens like Rodians and Twi'leks to make these newer Star Wars movies feel more like Star Wars movies. Oh, and maybe you'll hate me for this, but BB-8 is at least as ridiculous as Jar Jar Binks. Still, it was great to witness the continued adventures of the Rebellion's, I mean Resistance's diversified millennial cast in their struggle against the forces of Discount Palpatine, Emo Boy, and Ginger Hitler. Will they prevail, or be annihilated? Only time will tell...
I didn't mean to write all that stuff about Star Wars, but it just kind of happened. I'm not sorry.
The other night I heard some people right next to me being matchmakers for a couple of other people. They didn't want these other people to find out that they were pulling all the strings, yet none of them thought to ask, let alone bribe me to stay quiet about it. I'm still undecided on whether to issue demands or just spill my guts because I can. You know, I got roped into being a matchmaker once in high school and decided that, as much as I like playing God with other people's lives, it wasn't really my thing. Quinn was like, "Find out if Samantha likes me, but don't tell her I like her." And then Samantha was like, "Find out if Quinn likes me, but don't tell him I like him." And that was stressful. The only way I saw to half-meet both of their requests was to lie and be like "Well, I think he/she likes you, but I'm not positive..." And I hate abandoning my integrity for free.
My dear friend serving in the Nigeria Enugu Mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints recently wrote to me:
As you can imagine, it does my heart good to read such words. They validate the conventional wisdom that the LDS Church is doing very well in West Africa. This year, in particular, it has been expanding into unreached areas of many countries in an unprecedented way, and Nigeria is one of them. Of course this guy doesn't go into much detail here about why the work is going very well and being directed, though he mentioned in an earlier email that he had a baptism already as soon as he started. I will continue inquiring. It's very exciting to me to have a personal proverbial finger on the pulse of these happenings in one of my favorite areas of the world that I may never get to visit. This is a great young man, I love him dearly and I'm happy that he's having such a good time.
Self-Referential Rambling that Probably No One Cares About
This has been an exceptionally good week in the self-promotion department, and I'm sorry if this stuff holds no interest for anyone but it bring sunshine into my life so I'm going to write about it. I have an unsolicited blurb for this blog now. I didn't know where to put it other than the sidebar that most people never see because the mobile version of the site puts it at the bottom, so here it is too. Amelia Whitlock, whom I am not giving a pseudonym because that would defeat the purpose of using her quote (with permission) as a blurb, wrote, "Chris's blog is the stuff of legends. If you're ever looking for a good read, check this out!" So then of course I felt like
I could swear I've found this GIF before, but now I couldn't and had to make it myself. A word of advice: if you ever search for "bugs bunny gif", make sure SafeSearch is on. Please take my word for it. I still want to claw out my retinas. But I also realize that since I enjoyed the Star Wars Holiday Special, I'm in no position to judge anyone else's tastes. Anyway, I think Amelia started a chain reaction. The next day Allison mentioned that she had become aware of my blog and hoped to read it and then we could discuss it. That was nice, but I didn't think too much of it and assumed in my selfishness that if she really wanted very badly to read it she would have already done so. I saw her again the next day, and knew I should play it cool and wait at least a week before asking her if she had read my blog. To my pleasant surprise, she sought me out and started gushing about how great my blog was.
Then Alice, who had never spoken to me before or deigned to respond to my Facebook request one way or another, came up to me and said "Chris, word on the street is that you -" and I thought Oh crap. She was smiling, but I couldn't tell if she was being sadistic or just friendly. My eyes darted around for escape pods just in case. Was my past catching up to me? Why must I continue to be punished for poor decisions made with a younger and less experienced mind for which I have fully repented? "- have a blog," she finished. I love how she said it like it was some kind of impressive rare accomplishment. So that was nice. But who told her about it? "Allison," she said.
So I confronted Allison again. "Yeah, sorry, I'm just so excited that I'm telling everyone I know about your blog," she said. "Is that all right?"
In truth, I hate it when people read the personal, private stuff that I put on the internet, and was rather alarmed to hear this, but I didn't want her to feel bad. So I told her I check every day how many views my site has gotten and the higher, the better. (Incidentally, it's been good lately always dips around Christmastime. Yesterday it was below three hundred for the first time all month. Sad.)
"Oh, then let's see if we can get it to spike a little," she said.
"I should pay you," I said, hoping she would say no.
"You can pay me in friendship," she said. And that crushed my other hopes a little, because what I really wanted was to just throw her away like a used napkin as soon as she had served her purpose, but I guess just being friends is fine too. Just kidding about that first part. Really.
So that was the best evening in a long time, for those and a couple other reasons, and then of course I was punished for being too happy with an extra couple hours of insomnia, but it was worth it. And now I feel like
Today is Christmas Eve. Tomorrow is Christmas. I feel like I should be saying more about that, but what is there to say, really? You know what Christmas is, you know what it's about, and I've already used up my non-cynicism quota for this year. So just enjoy the peace and love and stuff.
The Muppets - One More Sleep 'Til Christmas
"The Muppet Christmas Carol" is one of the greatest movies ever, and I had been planning for some time to share a different song from it as kind of a passive-aggressive message to the world, but as things have panned out with it now being Christmas Eve, this one is more appropriate, so here it is instead. Steve Whitmire at his best.
"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.