I probably wouldn't have said anything about Stephen Hawking, about whom I know rather little, if not for the ridiculous controversies that sprang up in the wake of his death. For one thing, several dubiously self-proclaimed Christians have gloated about him going to hell because he was an atheist. Now of course I feel that any god who sends his children to hell the moment they die for having picked the wrong belief system or lack thereof is unworthy of worship. I believe that everyone has a chance in this life or the next to learn what they need to know and that they're judged rather for what they did with what they had. Unlike some other prominent atheists I could mention, Stephen Hawking chose not to be an unlikeable jackass, and I always respected him for that. (Did you hear Richard Dawkins recently advocated cloning human meat and eating it to overcome our irrational taboo against cannibalism? And this freak has the gall to criticize anyone else's beliefs why exactly?) Whether he was a good person in general is none of my business or concern. But I'm not aware of anything he ever said or did that warrants gloating over the prospect of his damnation.
Some actual Christians, in contrast, have pointed out that Stephen Hawking is now free from his wheelchair. And of course some people have chosen to misinterpret this obviously well-intentioned sentiment and go ballistic over it. "You ------s are saying that disabled people are better off dead!" Well... I don't have much in the way of physical ailments other than this thrice-damned cough that's stuck with me for four years, one week and five days and counting, but I have mental and emotional problems galore so I think I have as much right to an opinion on this as anyone. I look forward to being free. I look forward to my mind not being a daily hell to live in. The essence of life is that you have problems and then you die. Most people who have lived on Earth and who currently live on Earth have crappy lives. Most of them would be better off dead. If that's offensive then so be it. That doesn't mean I want them to be dead. But one way or another, all of them will be someday. So... I'm not sure why exactly it's offensive for obviously well-intentioned people to share their belief that they'll be free from their problems when they are.
I was just talking with a coworker last night about how I want to die by the time I'm forty, since humans hit their peak ridiculously early in life and I have zero desire to experience the deterioration of my body and/or mind over several decades to the point of eventual death. (That's not even mentioning the deterioration of society. Watching dogmatic idiots argue about politics for another half century or more could persuade me that I had already died and not gone to heaven.) She agreed with me on that and further added that if she ever becomes a vegetable or dependant on a machine to live, she wants someone to unplug it or shoot her. It's crazy how much we have in common. Maybe I have an unhealthy view of death, but I just don't take it seriously at all. It's just another step past the crappiest step in the plan. Some would argue that I believe in life after death because otherwise I'd be scared of it. Actually, when I was little I often wanted to cease to exist, mind and soul altogether, and accepting that I never would came as something of a disappointment. I'm a lot more okay with it now.
Thursday was the day that my professor and classmates critiqued the story I shared here a few weeks ago. I had all of spring break to worry about it. It's been a while since I did a writing workshop, so I was nervous. You think your writing is great and then these fresh eyes see a bunch of things wrong with it. Well, I needn't have worried because yes, of course they found things wrong with it, but overall I left feeling like
I promise this isn't humblebragging. It's just normal bragging, because this blog is like my journal and I'm happy about this so I'm writing about it. First, of course, we started with people saying what they liked about my story. The first person who spoke up gushed about how much she liked it, and since she was the only one I really cared about impressing, that was nice. And then they went on for a bit and then the professor said "Anything else?" and no one said anything else, and usually when he says "Anything else?" and no one says anything else he just moves on to the criticism portion, but this time he looked through his notes first and said three more things he liked about it. For example, that it starts in the middle of the action instead of setting it up. I learned that from some writing book, I forget which. It's called in media res and is used to great effect in the openings of most Star Wars movies, though they have the advantage of an opening crawl to provide context.
Then we did the criticisms, and the professor kind of defended me from some of them, which I took to mean he liked it a lot. Someone would say "I don't understand..." or "It was confusing how..." and he would be like "That's in there, he explained it like so..." I saw in his notes later that he had missed something like that too, though, so maybe I need to do better at clarifying these things. The most embarrassing thing, as only one person seemed to notice, was an inadvertent plot-crucial violation of the laws of physics. I wholeheartedly forgive Star Wars for prioritizing awesomeness over the laws of physics, but that's not the approach I want to take, so I appreciated him pointing this out even though it made me hate myself a little. I did a little research on the physics but didn't bother with something I thought I knew but didn't. Also, writing a scene between two characters of the same sex without constantly repeating their names to indicate which "she" you're referring to in any given sentence is kind of a pain.
One critique spoke to the story's weakness as a standalone rather than part of an anthology of prequels to a pre-existing novel, which is what I intend it to be. Someone pointed out that Chantelle, the bully of the protagonist Jane, has no explanation given for her cruelty and is kind of a flat character. In the novel, Jane is an adult and faces off against several villains who have complex backstories to make you feel sorry for them. Then Chantelle is shown in a flashback bullying her as a teenager, and I thought it would be funny if this high school bully, despite ostensibly nin being as "bad" as the actual villains, was totally one-dimensional and rotten to the core for no reason. And that's the era this short story is set in and understandably it raised an eyebrow for one person. But the professor concluded his notes with "Polish this up and send it out!" And I will, as soon as it's flawless. Maybe by the time I'm forty.
So after over a year of procrastinating, I made this meme, and I've tried to share it on Facebook, but Facebook keeps cutting off the top and completely ruining it. I didn't ask for much, Facebook. You let me down.
See, I was hoping it would go viral and get a bunch of likes for my page and visits to my website, but no, Facebook had to go crush my aspirations. And I just now realize that putting my name under Hitler makes it look like a label. But I can't possibly be comparing myself to Hitler because I don't have a girl. I've always wondered about Eva Braun, you know? People are just like "This was Hitler's girlfriend, nothing to see here, moving right along..." and I'm like "Wait wait wait wait wait. Was she evil? Was she stupid? What did she see in him? Did she support what he was doing, or did she just figure if she waited for a perfect man to come along she'd be single forever? We need to explore this person!" But it's probably too late for that now.
Culture Beat - Mr. Vain
I decided to literally just share the song that I happen to be listening to at this moment. I've never heard it before. Most of my music collection appears to be gone forever, so I'm listening to YouTube a lot and letting it just cycle through whatever songs it thinks I'll like. It got to this by starting with Mika's "Emily".
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About the Author
C. Randall Nicholson is a white cisgender Christian male, so you can hate him without guilt, but he's also autistic and asexual, 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.