Sunday, April 29, 2007


Let's forget for a moment that he shot a man in the head (it WAS a lawyer, after all). And forget that he's the less-popular VP to one of the most unpopular Presidents in this country's history. I can even let go of the fact that several members of his staff are currently under criminal investigation and have been removed from their positions. All that aside, he's just kinda old and creepy.

But, for some reason, the First Presidency of our church decided to invite him to speak at the recent commencement ceremony at BYU.

This, naturally, caused quite the uproar. Students have been pretty upset that the church would invite someone who's so obviously connected to one party to come to such an important event. This girl I know (I can't remember her name right now but she was in my ward and would come to church with this amazing Something-About-Mary gelled hair every week) actually organized a sort of counter-commencement at UVSC for all the students who would rather hear speeches from the Green Party's Ralph Nader and other, less-important Democrats. Ashley Sanders! That's her name. Anyway, everyone's been asking me, "So, what's your opinion on this whole Dick Cheney thing?"

So here it is:

Probably not the best PR move by the church. Then again, who really cares who's speaking at some university's commencement? Does anyone at BYU know who's speaking at anyone else's commencement? Does anyone outside of BYU know about Dick Cheney's coming? I doubt it.

Also, protests? Really? When did those ever work? I mean like since the Boston Tea Party. And I'm only making that an exception because it's famous, not because I know whether it worked or not. For all I know it just pissed off the Brits and then the Indian-clad colonists had to pay for all that tea they ruined. Not to mention the townspeople then had to throw a LOT of lemon and sugar into their harbor the next morning. But see, this is what I don't get. To me it seems that the intent of the protest is simply to annoy The Man to the point where he acquiesces. Good plan, except that it only ends up making The Man upset, which prompts him to stand his ground even more obdurately than before (Mrs. Stevens would be so proud of the way I'm using all of my 11th grade vocab words in this paragraph). And today's protesters (at least the protest organizers) are aware of this. So the real object of the protest is not change or dialogue. It's just attention. It's the toddler who's learned that crying sometimes gets him what he wants not because it's what Mom thinks he needs, or even because Mom is tired of hearing his cries, but rather because Mom doesn't like the way all the other Moms are looking at her. It seems a very unethical way of going about social change. Coming at the problem from the rear.

Also, Dick Cheney is not Vice President of the Republicans. He's Vice President of the United States. It's not like you get to just not recognize a President you didn't vote for. This isn't Mexico. Yes, he's a Republican, but he didn't come here in the name of the GOP. He came here in the name of the Presidency of this fine nation. I doubt his speech had anything to do with keeping the illegal immigrants out or how Utah is the best state because it's the only one that has a law that explicitly allows students to carry concealed weapons on public college campuses (I'm not making this up). Just as I'm pretty sure the speech by Darth Vader or whatever his name is was not about legalizing gay marijuana (I decided partway through typing those two ideas just now that I would make them just one idea for simplicity's sake). I imagine both speeches were just the same recycled boilerplate: "You are the future...blah blah blah...worked hard to get here...make a difference in the world...smartest and best generation...crap crap crap." Just like my high school graduation, except without everyone quoting Semisonic's "Closing Time."

My point is this: a graduation ceremony is one time that should definitely not be divided by bipartisan politics. If it had been Rush Limbaugh or Michael Moore, I would probably have been right there supporting the protesters. But it wasn't. It was the Vice President, and I think we can show some respect, even if we don't agree with his politics or his age or his hunting practices. Ashley Sanders and the others who helped her in her "celebration of alternatives" really missed the boat, in my opinion. This day should have been about the students, and the future and making a difference in the world, and all that crap--not about whether we agree with everything that the speaker might have said or done or voted for in any other situation. I hope that next time something like this occurs, people can just swallow their pride and stop trying to cause headaches for the administration. That's all I have to say about that.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Poet and Vanity, at Least, Return

You're probably expecting me to say something about how I haven't posted in forever, so I'm not going to. Or maybe you think I'm going to say something about how we got the BYU Honor Code changed earlier this week, but enough people have already been talking about that, and it would just lead to a bunch of fags leaving comments on my blog, and this blog isn't for those people. So instead I'll make my first entry on the new computer I recently bought about what happened to me this morning. Which is that Dulcinea (she doesn't want me calling her Carrot any more) woke me up with a phone call saying that her roommate was having a wedding luncheon in an hour and she needed a love poem. And since I really don't like anyone else's poetry but my own, and also since my only happy love poem to date is from the perspective of an unattractive black woman, I decided to just write a new one. After sleeping for another forty minutes, that is.

I think my mind is actually sharper when I'm tired. But maybe it's actually that the part of my mind that detects sharpness is duller when I'm tired. Either way, I sent a poem to the wedding luncheon. I think it's pretty good, though unpolished, and apparently the bride and groom agreed. One thing you must keep in mind is that the couple, though loveable, is pretty nerdy. The groom is a physics T.A., and the wife is a relief society president, so this one was for them.


There is a Force
That permeates the Universe
And keeps order.
We call it Gravity, though it is known by another name,
This force that keeps two heavenly bodies hurling together through the blackness of space.
And so I revolve around you, and you around me,
And both of us around the Sun,
Year after year.
They (the scientists) say
That just maybe the moon was formed from matter taken from inside the earth,
Pulled like a rib to form earth's own companion.
I do not claim that anything inside of me could have created you;
If so, that rib was my best quality before it was lifted out.
You run my tides, and guide my seasons,
And in the darkest night of winter,
After the evenings and the fall,
When the Sun has hidden his warm face,
You are the lesser light to rule my night
And keep me in your glowing embrace 'til break of day.
If we could eavesdrop on atoms,
Observe the smallest molecule of matter,
We would see that this Force runs every bit,
For deep within the sun,
Hydrogen atoms run on the same principle,
One proton and one electron, forever locked in holy orbit,
Until one bright and glorious day
When the two finally come to rest together,
Matter is transformed into pure light,
The light of the Sun, a million nuclear blasts,
Which extend out into the Universe,
Or right here to our backyard,
Falling gently on our apple tree, entering its leaves, and making it grow.
And as we watch the years go by, the moon traveling around the earth, the earth around the sun,
The snow and blossoms and fruit returning and falling away,
We remember that in such a garden, with such a fruit,
Was love first made possible on this otherwise barren rock of a planet,
Where there had been no fall, no falling at all,
And beneath such a tree, with such an apple, a man first discovered this invisible force that keeps the Universe moving around,
And keeps us together, falling into each other.
Down this gravity well, forever falling in love.

Ok, aside from that I just noticed that I don't like anyone else's summary of the changes to the Honor Code, so here is the old, problematic section:

Homosexual behavior or advocacy
Brigham Young University will respond to student behavior rather than to feelings or orientation. Students can be enrolled at the University and remain in good Honor Code standing if they maintain a current ecclesiastical endorsement and conduct their lives in a manner consistent with gospel principles and the Honor Code. Advocacy of a homosexual lifestyle (whether implied or explicit) or any behaviors that indicate homosexual conduct, including those not sexual in nature, are inappropriate and violate the Honor Code.
Violations of the Honor Code may result in actions up to and including separation from the University.

And here is the new one that replaced it:

Homosexual behavior or advocacy
Brigham Young University will respond to homosexual behavior rather than to feelings or orientation and welcomes as full members of the university community all whose behavior meets university standards. Members of the university community can remain in good Honor Code standing if they conduct their lives in a manner consistent with gospel principles and the Honor Code.

One's stated sexual orientation is not an Honor Code issue. However, the Honor Code requires all members of the university community to manifest a strict commitment to the law of chastity. Homosexual behavior or advocacy of homosexual behavior are inappropriate and violate the Honor Code. Homosexual behavior includes not only sexual relations between members of the same sex, but all forms of physical intimacy that give expression to homosexual feelings. Advocacy includes seeking to influence others to engage in homosexual behavior or promoting homosexual relations as being morally acceptable.

Violations of the Honor Code may result in actions up to and including separation from the University.
I think that's pretty great. We were part of the change. Which probably means my time here in Provo has come to an end.

How's that for starting blogging again, huh?