Saturday, October 13, 2012

Filthy Habits

Talking about how other people will be happier, better people if they accept your religion is like smoking: a filthy habit that offends and disgusts most people, an addiction we'd all be healthier if we kicked. If you simply cannot give this filthy habit up once you've acquired it, it's best avoided unless you are in a group of people who also share the same filthy habit. If you want to be considered polite, agreeable company, don't do it in public or in mixed company.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Why I'm Glad I Took a Bible Lit Class

Having read the old testament, every single word of it, and parts of it more than once, I can attest that the commentary below is largely accurate. There is ONE problem: Betty Bowers neglects to mentions the marriages between humans and giants described in the old testament. That's right: in the OT, people can also marry other species.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Something I Was Glad to See Emerge from The Ark

I don't know if you've noticed this, but our culture seems to have a lot of Facebook angst. Most recently, there's been outrage about its new privacy terms and conditions for use. Before that there was a brouhaha about its other privacy terms and conditions of use. There was a brouhaha about its layout. There were people who HATED the "25 random things meme," and people who LOVED it, and people like me who just ignored it, having posted way more than 25 random things about myself in various blog memes. There was even an NY Times piece offering advice on how to actually say something interesting and worth hearing about when one updates one's status.

I've posted a few entries about my own problems with Facebook.

Recently I had a real shock--one that made me start and left me nauseated throughout the day--when someone I'd known almost 25 years ago friended me, with a cheerful note.

This was a person I loved very much at the time I knew them. It wasn't until later that I realized this person had been emotionally and psychologically abusive, and deliberately cruel. And one of the primary tools this person used to hurt and intimidate others was the church--which of course is why I didn't recognize the abuse; I had been trained to believe that such behavior was actually love.

But I did love this person, very much. They had good points. They could be generous. They had a commitment to a certain type of goodness that everyone could see and everyone admired.

And as is true of most really abusive people, they'd probably learned how to dish out the abuse by being abused themselves.

Partly out of shock, partly out of curiosity, I accepted this person's friend invitation. I stared at the photo a long time. This person has gained a lot of weight. Never graduated from college, though I think they were close to graduating at one time--dropped out, got married and started a family instead.

I thought about writing a letter to this person, explaining just what a destructive force they were in my life. I imagined a couple of different versions. And I talked myself out of every one.

I also thought deleting this person from my friend list. I may yet do that. I may also leave this person on my list and ignore them, until my book gets picked up by a publisher (god, I picked the wrong time to finish a book--publishing is in such disarray because of the general economic horribleness) and comes out in print, at which point I will tell this person to read it.

But since then I have been thinking about a completely awesome song that made me weep when I first heard it, because it so succinctly and beautifully expressed my feelings toward the Mormon church. In particular, I love the lines

Please don't give me no warm reception
What you call peace to me is a call to arms
Some are singing to raise affection
But this piece of poetry is meant to do harm.

Pretty much.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

More Facebook Freakiness

A few weeks ago, after much deliberation, I added my high school and the year I graduated to my Facebook profile. I did it because there are a few people from high school that I've completely lost track of and would actually like to reconnect with, and while I didn't find them by searching the list of people already identified as graduates of my high school, I hope someday these people I want to find will find me.

There weren't many people from my graduating class who'd declared that affiliation--about half a dozen--which isn't all that surprising, given that there were only about 80 kids in my graduating class. I didn't "friend" any of the six people already in the network, not even one person who had been my roommate in college.

There were different reasons for this, some general, some specific. In the case of the former roommate, I didn't "friend" her because: 1) by the end of our stint as roommates I'd grown to dislike her fairly intensely, 2) she married a complete weirdo (they met while I was rooming with her, and I was forced to witness some of the more unpleasant parts of their courtship--I used to come home and find them on the couch, not making out, but him with his shirt hiked up his back while she picked at his backne, and they kept this up even after I walked in the door), and 3) she's gotten more matronly and Mormon and annoying and I don't want to know what she's doing.

I also didn't friend one of the unpleasant bullies I graduated with, a nasty, self-important, entitled little bastard, who tormented me gleefully from the day I met him in first grade until the day we graduated. Admittedly, he wasn't the meanest guy in my grade, and there were some girls who actually liked him, and some girls he was nice to. I, however, was someone he purposely made unhappy with some frequency, someone I was glad to see the back of after graduation, and hoped never to encounter again.

So imagine my surprise when, at our ten-year class reunion, he came up and shook my hand, acted like he was glad to see me, and told me some things about his life, in what was the first real conversation we ever had in our lives.

And then yesterday he goes "friends" me.

I just stared at the friend request for a while. And then I "confirmed that I was 'friends' with this person," because, well, he's not mentally unstable like the strange student I won't be friends with, he's just someone who used to be a jerk. The fact that he at least tried to talk to me when he finally grew up suggests that he might have turned into a nice guy. Why hold a grudge?

And then someone else he'd become "friends" with--someone even further down the social scale, someone he never would have deigned to notice while we were in high school--also added me as a friend. And I went ahead and confirmed my "friend-ness" with this person too, despite the fact that we'd never hung out, never played at each other's homes, even though--or maybe because--we were third cousins, which we knew because this was a small Mormon town and everyone knew who was related to whom.

But the thing is--and this is the larger issue--there's the Mormon business. I'm not Facebook friends with anyone I'm related to, because we already tried that. My Facebook profile is pretty neutral, but my family, being typical Mormons, are not willing to refrain from being politically aggressive assholes who parade their stupid ideas ("So&So is pumped about Palin!"). When I responded in kind with some of my political views and pointed out that Palin is NOT someone intelligent, ethical people should be pumped about, well, there was hell to pay, and I was the one who paid it.

By and large, Mormons are not willing to edit or censor themselves--that's what everyone else has to do. You can't swear around Mormons, because that's "offensive" to them, but they can go on and on about how being gay or supporting legislation for gay rights is going to bring about Armageddon--in fact, they typically display quite prominently a statement informing the world of precisely that belief.

If you're Mormon, answer me this: how would you feel if you walked into the home of a family member and were confronted by a high-minded, pompous announcement informing everyone that supporting the Mormon church wasn't just sorta dumb, something that would retard your spiritual development and make it hard for you to have real friendships with people who aren't like you, but something that would bring about the end of the world?

So we'll see how this works out. I did look at the pages of my new "friends" and they seem to be fairly banal--not much about their church callings or their enthusiasm for the stupid, evil political beliefs and practices that got the US and the world into the nasty mess we're dealing with now. So maybe things will be OK.

I just hope that some of the guys (and they are all guys, 'cause I can track down quite easily all the girls I hung with in school) I actually want to find track me down. Todd, Kieran, Curtis: are you out there?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Pathetic Loser Tries Again

Almost a year ago, an unpleasant former student attempted to "friend" me on Facebook. I was surprised and mildly annoyed, but I ignored his friend request and blocked him, wrote a blog entry mentioning this, and didn't waste another thought on this strange, troubled, annoying person.

And then, he goes and makes up a new profile with a silly pseudonym and tries once again to "friend" me.

I don't believe this is a friendly or even an innocent gesture. He didn't send a message saying, "Hi, Dr. Bluestocking! I hope you're doing OK. I am sorry for what an insane asshole I was, but I'm getting the professional help I need and now I hope we can be friends."

No, he just thinks that.... Well, god only knows what he thinks. Perhaps he knows that the only way I will ever think of him is if he intrudes on my life like this. Perhaps he imagines he will find something titillating or satisfyingly upsetting or potentially useful through being able to see who my friends are or where I am or what I'm doing. Who can say. I don't know what's going on in that disordered brain.

But it's pathetic and sad. I will admit, I feel sorrier for the guy now than I ever did when he was in my class. I really do help his family is finally able to see how much help this guy needs, and they're taking the steps to see he gets it.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Random Fact About Me #8

I talk to myself, and I don't trust anyone who says they don't. Either they really do talk to themselves but are too cowardly to admit it, or they don't talk to themselves, which suggests they don't really have anything to say. Why should anyone else talk to you if you aren't thinking thought interesting enough to capture your own attention and engage you in a conversation?


Sunday, November 09, 2008


That was written on a sign I saw at a rally in Salt Lake City on Friday, November 7, protesting the Mormon church's huge financial efforts to pass Prop 8 in California, amending the CA constitution to ban gay marriage.

If you're Mormon, you'll know what it means. In case you're not, I'll explain it.

"Flip" and "fetch" are both euphemisms for THE f-word as expletive, but not the f-word as verb. If you're Mormon and you want to talk about sex, you wouldn't say, for instance, "I saw two dogs flipping." Or, "Mormon newlyweds are often so sexually ignorant that they can't figure out how to fetch." It just sounds silly.

But you would say, in order to remain unsullied by profanity but still convey a certain intensity, "I am so flippin' angry," or "That idea is really fetchin' stupid," or even, "What a firetruckin' mess."

The current president of the Mormon church is a pompous blowhard named Thomas Monson. He's ridiculously vain about his looks (seriously, the guy is UGLY) and not nearly as smart as he thinks he is. He became prophet by achieving seniority in "the quorum of the twelve apostles," the dozen old men who, along with the president, govern the Mormon church.

So the statement "FLIP MONSON, FETCH THE TWELVE" is a clever way of saying what I want to say now: