With Apologies for the Length, Although a Lot of it is Pictures, Although Most of them Also Have Words in them
With no disrespect intended toward my many friends who went and saw it on opening night. Opening night is as good a time as any to go see it. I just don't understand why some people feel a need to.
Look, I'm not the only one who's gotten 12 am and 12 pm mixed up, but at least I didn't act like this. Karma karma karma karma karma chameleon.
My laptop is busted, but one of my old roommates left behind a desktop computer that he was using to run a Minecraft server. It's an older model with Windows XP, only 20 GB or so of memory, and no sound, but I still consider it a blessing. It has Pinball. I decided that playing Pinball as part of my exercise routine in the morning was a good idea because it makes my brain focus, and I discovered that I tend to do much better while lying on my stomach (the computer is on the floor). I don't know what kind of scores are typical for this game, but this morning I beat my previous best and broke three million points, so that put me in a good mood and if I were superstitious I would consider it a reason to be optimistic about the whole day.
One of the stupidest things I've read this week: "Virginity is a social construct rooted in misogyny that shames women with expectations of purity and men with expectations of masculinity." I was going to start drinking shots every time someone uses the word "misogyny" in a context where it doesn't belong, but then I realized that would be suicide. Anyway, this was in response to a guy from high school posting about how he's waiting for marriage, and he's not even LDS, which you could have guessed based on the fact that he went to my high school, so I was very impressed with his courage. Because according to society's logic, the proper solution to "slut-shaming" is virgin-shaming. Just like the proper solution to fat-shaming is skinny-shaming. And the proper solution to black-shaming is white-shaming. Let's face it, society is really stupid.
Well, here's something that I wish I didn't have to share but I do. I'm not bothering to make him anonymous because he's already shared it in a group of 31,000+ people and I don't think I have quite that many people reading my blog, so this is really just me spitting in the ocean and saying I helped. Anyway...
I have seen this man demonstrate his strong and firm testimony many times. I know there is a huge double standard in our society between how men and women are "supposed" to show compliments and affection. In my home branch, it was quite normal and common for guys to hug each other. We also touched each other in other (mostly non-sexual) ways and frequently joked about each other's sexuality or gender identity, which in hindsight was probably ignorant and insensitive, but at least we were comfortable with each other. Now I'm not even comfortable lightly touching a girl on the shoulder to show friendship, even if she does it to me first and thereby gives me implicit permission to do so. You can't tell by looking at people which ones are the reasonable human beings and which ones are constantly on the lookout for reasons to be offended or charge someone with harassment. This post served to remind me that my paranoia about touching is a perfectly reasonable one. Alas, as I've mentioned before, touching is one of my three-way tie of love languages, so that really sucks.
So I don't have 31,000+ readers, but how many people do visit my site? Here are the most recent stats. If these are accurate, my little map at the bottom of the site is tracking only a small fraction of visitors, which is really annoying, but what can you do?
("the dinosaur renaissance article" could only be this one, which for me shows up on the second page of results for that term. I'm surprised but not displeased.)
When I recently got into an argument on the internet with a stranger I realized that it had been a long time since I got into a heated argument on the internet with a stranger, and I was disappointed with myself for relapsing. What happened was that I commented on a Salt Lake Tribune article (and we all know the comments sections of most Salt Lake Tribune articles are cesspools), and some jackass who had commented quite some time earlier but obviously had nothing better to do than continue lurking there jumped on it, and I, instead of ignoring him as I should have, stuck around for a bit to express my contempt. I think I have made amply clear on this blog (just last week for example) how little I am bothered by the opinions of morons about me or my religion. Mike is one of those sad little people who has nothing better to do with his life than try to make Mormons angry, and so when I declined to take him seriously he attempted, somewhat pathetically and unconvincingly in my opinion, to project his own anger onto me and pretend he had succeeded.
He stopped replying after this. Several other people commented but (knowing they would likely be of a similar caliber) I didn't bother to read those even when I went back to take these pictures, which I did so that you wouldn't have to place blind trust in my description of the event, so never say I don't make sacrifices for you. I will plead guilty to the charge of being a coward. I hope someday I can be brave like Mike Poole, who despite being a jackass is clearly not a coward at all, because it takes so much courage to pick fights with strangers from behind the safety of an electronic screen. And speaking of "cult behavior"...
Anyway, I'm a jerk sometimes, in case you haven't figured that out yet, but the entire reason I'm bringing it up is because that makes me humble and that makes it okay. I struggle because, while I should follow the admonition and example of Jesus to love everybody regardless of what they do, I see no reason why I should feel respect toward people who don't deserve it. I try not to insult people to their faces (and at least in theory, not behind their backs either) but I see no reason why I should abstain from sarcasm when they are saying rude and asinine things. Pretending to respect them would be dishonest, after all, and I highly doubt that Jesus respects everybody either. But He probably doesn't hold contemptuous thoughts toward them or use the phrase "leg-humping obsession" (which I can't help but love because it perfectly encapsulates the mindlessness and contemptability of some people's behavior). I struggle to find a balance and will probably continue to do so for the foreseeable future. I've decided to cut hypocritical Mormons a little more slack, though, since I am one.
P.S. Sometimes I wink at married women online, too.
But on the plus side, I noticed that I no longer feel compelled to argue about evolution when it comes up. I used to get very heated on the topic, mainly because I still resented having been brainwashed with creationist baloney for a few years, but now I just kind of feel like whatever, if they want to delude themselves about the nature of reality that's their right. As long as they don't try to get it taught in schools. I don't know why I've mellowed out in this area. I find that when I undertake any effort to eliminate one of my major flaws, I crash and burn and become discouraged within a couple weeks at most, yet I occasionally discover that one of the smaller ones has vanished on its own without me doing anything. Nice. So anyway, here you see me only bothering to comment once, and not even using actual words. It helped that someone even smarter than me was there to do the talking, and now I am sharing it here so you can get a free science lesson whether you need/want it or not. (This was in our group, Latter-day Saints Who Love Latter-day Science, which you should totally join.)
Trending this week for whatever reason has been a thirteen year old story about a forensic reconstruction of what Jesus may have looked like. Apparently it's gone viral because people had totally forgotten about it and then someone rediscovered it and all heaven broke loose on social media. I guess I missed my chance. I read this article a year or two ago and I guess if I had shared it I could have been the one to start this firestorm. It's been a little disturbing to see some Mormons getting their tights in a wad over this. "No! The Savior does not look like that!" Evidently some of them are too attached to the undoubtedly inaccurate Western European Jesus we're used to seeing in paintings. We should worship the living Christ, not artistic depictions of Him. The forensic reconstruction may be way off too, but my point is that it doesn't matter either way.
Perhaps some of them resent that this depiction is a teensy bit goofy-looking and not nearly so majestic. If they resent that the Savior could be goofy-looking, then they literally believe that physically attractive people are in some way superior to not physically attractive people. Yet the Bible says that "he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him." (Isaiah 53:2) This strongly suggests to me that Jesus is, if not "ugly", then at least rather plain and certainly not as handsome as he is usually portrayed. And so what? We claim to believe that looks don't matter, and that's true even though most of us have a hard time fully believing it, and it doesn't matter if the only perfect man who ever lived was also the ugliest person in the history of the planet. Except that if He was, He wouldn't have gotten any followers because humans are shallow, but you know what I mean.
There's an urban legend in Mormondom that this painting by Del Parson was said by a prophet to be the most accurate depiction. The only truth in this legend is that Del Parson was asked by the Curriculum Committee to go through a few revisions for whatever reason, but the extrapolation is kind of laughable. Why would church leaders be so concerned about the accuracy of this one painting or this one artist and none of the others, or of their own videos for that matter, which over the years haven't even consistently portrayed Jesus with the same hair color? The Jesus of the recent Bible Videos looks nothing like this painting. And why would they never bother to actually tell the membership, “Hey, by the way, this is what Jesus really looks like”? Anyway, I got into another argument about that. Sigh.
And so on along those lines. I could get used to that kind of logic.
Me: The prophet has said that you should date me.
Lindsey Stirling: Oh really. What were his exact words?
Me: If you need a quote then you might want to strengthen your faith in a prophet and him being a revelator of truth and visions of what he sees.
Now time to answer a reader's question! Bracelets, age 22, of Farmington, Utah, asks, “Do you consider yourself more of an optimist or pessimist?” She actually asked via text message, but I'm answering in this public forum because I know everyone else has been wondering this too and just been afraid to ask. Also, I wanted to write more than could reasonably be put in a text message, and also add some comics.
Well, Bracelets, notwithstanding all evidence to the contrary, I have to say that on the whole I'm an optimist. The reason for this is my faith in God and in Jesus Christ. Because of them I know that everything will turn out all right in the end and I'll be more than compensated for everything I've had to go through. Because of them I can keep trying and become better despite my myriad flaws and wrongdoings. If you exclude them and focus only on a secular angle, then as you can probably guess, I'm a pessimist. The reason for this is the state of the world and my own experiences. And in fact, this, too, is doctrinally sound; I will be impressed if you can show me even one scripture verse that has anything flattering to say about human nature or the natural trajectory of civilizations. I will go so far as to say that I think faith in humanity is a mental disorder (and I can say that because I know a thing or two about having mental disorders). To be sure, there are plenty of good people doing good things, and plenty of examples in the scriptures as well, but they get our attention precisely because they're going against the grain. Have faith that such people exist, not in humanity as a whole, which doesn't deserve it.
I'm an optimist about my prospects for making a successful career out of writing, because I'm a great writer, and that's just a fact. But still in the back of my mind I recognize that at any time I could suffer a terrible accident and lose the use of my hands. Then I'd have to dictate or learn to type with my feet or something, and then I could become a motivational speaker about overcoming adversity and yadda yadda yadda. Don't get any ideas, God, this is just a hypothetical. But anyway, Bracelets, in general I try not to be an optimist if it means expecting certain events or outcomes that may or may not happen. As you know, misplaced optimism has brought me a lot of grief, notwithstanding how well-founded it seemed at the time. I think one should always at least half-expect the worst plausible outcome (or in the case of dating, something worse and so contrived that it would ruin a work of fiction) because one can avoid a lot of soul-crushing disappointment that way.
That doesn't mean one has to feel negative and depressed all the time. It just means one should avoid getting one's hopes up whenever possible. And maybe this doesn't work for everybody. Maybe there are those who need to always expect success in order to make it happen. But that works for me in Pinball and nowhere else. As you know, I don't even like to trust people if I don't have to because too many have proven to be untrustworthy. I trust you, though, because the Holy Ghost said I could, and who am I to argue with that kind of endorsement? And again, that's because you go against the grain. You're an exception because you're exceptional. In summary, I'm wary of attaching labels to my views because they can lead people to make all kinds of assumptions that may or may not be accurate (the same reason I try to stay away from terms like "conservative", "liberal", or even "moderate"), but my faith in God and Jesus Christ overshadows all the rest so you may consider me an optimist on the whole. And that's what Christmas is all about.
As long as I'm addressing you here, Bracelets, I would like to express my appreciation to you for reading all of my blog posts. More than one week during this past semester, I really didn't feel like writing anything at all, but I did because I knew you would be disappointed if I didn't. So thank you for bringing that additional stress into my life.
Now, here is another song for Star Wars and another song for Christmas. In case you (meaning everyone now and not just Bracelets) couldn't guess, I've had so much Star Wars and Christmas music that I've wanted to share during this brief seasonal window of opportunity, but I've sadly been limited by the weekly posting format. If you don't typically even bother to listen to the music I post, please at least push play on this one and mute the sound, because it's on my own channel. And then go subscribe to my channel.
King - She's into Star Wars
You may recognize this tune from a parody done by The Police that surpassed the original in popularity.
Robert Lund - Every Toy You Break
Merry Christmas, or Happy Holidays if you prefer, whatever, I really don't care!
"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.