Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Counter-Culture and BYU

The 60’s was the age of rebellion. New ideas were brought and tried and people pushed against society to change it. It was the beginning of the “counter-culture” and the start of the age of acceptance and tolerance. It was like the Wendy’s commercials we have now. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, they show everyone doing something mindless just because everyone else is doing it. Such as kicking a tree, or running and jumping into an endless pit. Then it shows a guy with a red wig on who stops and says, “Hey! We don’t have to do this!” and he goes on to say something about some sandwich or something. Basically the point is that he realized he didn’t have to do this. Starting with the 60’s (ok I admit this did exist before, but I have to start somewhere) they broke out against the stereotypes and said “Hey! We don’t have to do this!” So they created a counter-culture.
Here at BYU there is a huge stereotype given by outsiders and insiders, visitors and alumni, and basically everyone. The stereotype is that everyone comes to BYU to get married. Do these people exist? Sure, somewhere. They usually aren’t quite so blatant about it though. And a lot of this comes from other people judging them to be that way. All that aside, there are also plenty of sources of pressure to get married. I can’t remember the last time I went to church or a fireside of some sort when I didn’t hear something about marriage. As a result there is a sort of counter-culture that creates itself. The memories of the 60’s come to mind and people say “Hey! This is a stereotype! Let’s push against it!” And so there’s this counter-culture that shoots for the opposite of the stereotype. Sometimes I wonder if some of these people have stimulus response reaction to the “norm” or stereotypes. Once they discover that a lot of people do something, they do exactly the opposite so that they are considered different and seen as someone who thinks for themselves, regardless of whether it’s a good idea or not. Going back to the BYU dating culture it seems that many people have over shot the mark and now there are guys who don’t date period and girls who think that getting into a relationship means the guy is thinking marriage. It makes an interesting situation. Girls want to “go on dates” with guys, but they don’t want to get involved with them at all because that “means” marriage.
Isn’t there a happy medium? We don’t have to decide that we’ve found “the one” after the first date, nor the second date, nor the third, nor after two people are exclusively dating each other. Going on lots of dates with different people is healthy because it allows one to get to know many people, but there also comes a point where dating someone exclusively helps too. We learn different things on a different level about relationships. And guess what! We don’t have to marry that person. Dating is really the preparation for marriage, but that doesn’t mean that if we do it we are going to have to get married right away.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Languages, Personalities and "I love you"

I had a conversation with my good friend Sariah about languages and how people are different in different languages. Not just that other people from other countries who speak different languages are different, but I noticed that when I speak French I literally have a different personality. I act differently, I think differently and I speak differently. Perhaps this is because the culture I was in was different as I immersed myself into the French language. There was only one missionary I knew in the whole mission who spoke French almost the same way that he spoke English. He was the oddball I guess. Well we got to talking about the phrase I love you. She said that she can throw the words “te quiero” around and it doesn’t mean as much to her as the words “I love you.” I can throw the words “Je t’aime” around a little easier than I can in English, however I think that is because during my mission we were encouraged to show our love a bit more. So I had no problem telling that to fellow missionaries. I do remember though when I had a girlfriend and from time to time I would say “Je t’aime” and that definitely had a lot of meaning. Maybe it was amplified by the fact that it was one of my attempts to be romantic. But on the grand scale I was more comfortable saying “Je t’aime” in more situations that I am saying “I love you” in English. On the English side of things I rarely say the words. They are directed towards my parents when I talk to them. Every once in a while I will say it to a couple of my really good friends. However, we wouldn’t want to damage our manly egos so we find ways to cloak it as a joke somehow. Our manly image is very precious to us. Other than that I don’t use the words much else at all. However, to me that just means that when I do say it, the intended recipient of those words can know that it’s not just a casual spouting off of some clich├ęd words. I think that fits me better anyways.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Dumbledore

I don’t know if many have heard, but the J. K. Rowling has shed some new light on the mysteries of Harry Potter. She announced recently that Dumbledore was gay. This was in response to a question that someone asked her in a conference about why Dumbledore had never fallen in love with anyone. From what I read from the article about it, a reader stood up and asked the question about why Dumbledore had had no apparent romance ever in his life. J. K. Rowlings cracked a smile and said, well Dumbledore is actually gay. Apparently the whole hall (this was in Carnegie Hall) stood up and erupted in ovation. Now I wasn’t there. But this would seem sort of weird to me. They applauded for something like three minutes. That’s a long time to applaud. And just for saying that someone was gay. Well that’s weird. Even if you think it’s some great statement to society and about tolerance. So I got to thinking about it. What could this really mean? She will be lauded by the media and Elite America and Europe for quite sometime. Everyone who doesn’t embrace this as the best thing to happen in the world since sliced bread will be branded as intolerant bigots and the world will go on. Perhaps next year J.K. Rowlings will win the Nobel Prize since all it is now is a ploy to advance the political agenda of some Elitists that run it.

I can think of something that could be beneficial. Harry Potter was doomed to never be a classic because it is basically a good book. Everyone likes it and people have read it for years. English professors around the world however will never let this book into their list of boring old classics because people understand it and can relate to it. Classics must be dry old things that make some sort of statement on culture or something that is really confusing. Basically classics are not for the common man, but for “intellectual” people to read and discuss to each other in language that no one else understands. This way they can remain smarter than everyone else and retain their status. Harry Potter is an attack on that. It is a well written series that is enjoyable to everyone. How could anyone let low-life Harry Potter readers into the discussion with Elitists?! Well now Harry Potter has something that the elitists will love. Dumbledore is gay and this is exactly the kind of commentary they want on society. So maybe Harry Potter now has the stuff necessary to break into the “classics” category. It has long been a classic in the minds of many readers, but not canonized by those who claim to know “Good Literature.” Well at least there will be some good books to choose from on the reading list of the mundane.

Here's a link to the newsweek article: Newsweek

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Procrastination

So last week I put forth much effort to stay on top of my studies. I tried to get them done early in the week thinking that if I did everything early then I wouldn’t have a crunch time at the end of the week. Well I don’t know how it happened, but I spent a lot of time in the library, and a lot of time being diligent and I still managed to have a crunch time at the end of the week. I don’t know. I’m trying it again this week maybe I just had some build up from the week before. So perhaps this week I will do better. Here is the thing though. I have learned that people will fill up the time you give them. Meaning if you give someone 3 hours to do something, then it will take them 3 hours. But if you only gave them one hour to do it, then they will finish it in one hour. I think there is some sort of name or term for this, but I don’t know what it is. So there is a balance to be found. It is obvious that if you procrastinate too much, you will be in a hole. But if you have too much time to do something then you will be in the same hole. What are crazy college kids supposed to do?

Monday, September 17, 2007

Tolerance, Open Mindedness and Stick it to the Man Syndrome

Last weekend I took a trip down into the heart of Salt Lake City where I enjoyed the Utah State Fair. (Or something along those lines.) In any case, on the way home my good friend Dan and I had a nice little chat about the world. On thing led to another and we started talking about tolerance and open mindedness and eventually the "stick it to the man syndrome." Well here are my thoughts and how I think they came out that night.

Tolerance. I have come across many people and also read many articles and essays of people who are so called "tolerant." It seems like tolerance is one thing that the world loves to parade around on a banner when they think they have it. It's become it's own religion. And it is no less exclusive than any other religion ever to walk the earth. "I'm tolerant and you are not, therefore I am better than you." That is basically the message I hear. And it makes me wonder, with all this tolerance being passed around and celebrated like candy on Halloween night, where did all the tolerance go for the people who are "intolerant." Why are we so loving and accepting of everyone except those who we brand "intolerant." Perhaps we should start calling it selective tolerance.

Here in Utah we hear lots of moaning and whining about how people are "close-minded." This basically goes along the same line as the tolerance idea. See, people come here to Utah from other states and they see these "snooty prideful close-minded zoobies" and they instantly abhor them. Why do they abhor them? Because these are close-minded people who think they are better than everyone else. But we all know that pride is the worst sin of all and since we are not prideful at all and we are open to those who don't share the same ideas and culture that we do, we are better than those close-minded zoobies. They deserve to be shunned and we should not try to understand them, nor help them, nor befriend them because they look down on us.

Wait... who's looking down on who here. Well everyone! It's a big party.

Stick it to the man syndrome. For those of you who have not seen 'School of Rock,' I'll explain what this is. Stick it to the man syndrome is basically rebelling against any establishment. The establishment could be the status quo, or many people's favorite around here, BYU. Or the church, or anything that is a power symbol in people's eyes. Usually it's just for the sake of rebelling. It's a way to be different. A way to fight against the norm. This is becoming an increasingly popular thing to do in todays world. Especially among the younger generations. I guess it started in the 60's now that I think about it. So maybe everyone has experienced this. Well unfortunately the goal has been lost. Thinking on your own and not blindly following an establishment is great. However; most people who jump on this exciting bandwagon are just following a new establishment. They are all rebelling and all rebelling in the same way. So much for individuality. What ever happened to weighing both sides and deciding which was best on your own. Oh.. I'm sorry, that would be playing into the hands of "the establishment!" That's not good! Well if I was "the establishment" and I wanted these rebels to do something, all I would have to do was say the opposite of what I wanted done. Then they would willing rebel and do exactly what I wanted them to do in the first place. I wonder if that has ever actually happened. I bet parents have pulled that on their children before. Oh yeah... it's called reverse psychology.

Wouldn't it be nice if we could actually live what these ideals were? We could be tolerant, but tolerate those who don't tolerate others. We could be open-minded, and be open to those who are "closed." We could not blindly follow the establishment, but rather think for ourselves and actually make the best decision there is. Not base it on what the establishment said. Well... this is my soap box. I'm stepping off of it soon. In the end we are all hypocrites, myself included. But why do we have to constantly point out the hypocrisy in others? Can't we just love them anyways? I'll step down now.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Surreality

So I had an interesting morning today. However I must jump back a bit to last night in order to get the whole story in. So I'll start with last night. I got off work last night at 10 pm. I work every Thursday night. It's a nice time. Actually, it is quite dull during that time. No one comes into the library it seems, so we spend our time trying to stimulate our brains in order to fight off insanity. But this really has no significance to the rest of my story so I will move on. So every Thursday night at 10 pm there is a group of people, most of whom I do not know, and all of whom I did not know till last Thursday when I first played with them. I went and played a wonderful game of Ultimate Frisbee and afterwards I jogged home. Well, I'm a runner and I always like to know how long of a cool down I am getting and what my average pace is and how long it takes to run from point A to point B and all that sort of stuff so I started my trusty stop watch and jogged home. I took a shower and went to bed.

The next morning was Friday morning. A glorious morning indeed. I have no classes on Friday and I don't work until 11 am. So I am able to sleep in and be lazy and all that great stuff for that day. Well I got up and went to work and things started to seem weird. First of all, I went to work at 11. Meaning I left somewhere around 10:50 to make the routine trek up to campus. As I was walking I was thinking that everything felt really surreal. Like I was in some sort of a movie. On top of that, there was hardly anyone outside on campus. This is weird because it was a school day and it was between 10:50 and 11, which is passing period. There should be thousands of people roaming those cement slabs and weaving in and out of each other. But it was deserted... kind of like in a western movie, which probably added to the surreality of the moment a bit.

When I got to work, my first shift was to shelve books that had been returned. So I did that for about an hour and then when it was about 12 I headed over the the reference desk where I would spend the next two hours before my lunch break. Usually when you show up for your shift the people there realize that they need to go find something else to do or some other place to be. But they just stayed there at the desk. But I was a few minutes early so I waited around a little bit and then 12 came... and passed. At about 12:05 one of my co-workers asked me where I was supposed to be. I said the reference desk and she didn't believe me so she checked the schedules and she said I was supposed to be shelving... but I had just finished doing that for an hour and at 12 my shift was the desk and she said "Wait, what time is it?" So I looked at my watch and said 12:10. Then she said "No, it's 11:40." So I looked and thought... wait a sec. I pressed the stop button and then the reset button and my watch went to 00:00. It really was 11:40 at that time. My stop watch had been running since 11:30 or so and was at 12 hours the next morning so it was close enough to real time to trick me, but enough to throw me off.

So I felt somewhat sheepish. I looked at my time stamps and I had clocked into work at about 10:35 thinking that it was past 11 that I was actually a few minutes late. No wonder noone was on campus as I walked to work. It was in the middle of class time.

So that was my story for the day. It looks like this is the first blog I've written in a while. Well that's tough luck. I know you are all dying to know about me, we can't have everything that we want can we?