Thursday, April 26, 2012

Live From the Midst of a Devastating Brainstorm

While my fellow bloggers have been publishing some fascinating and well-written stuff, I've been suffering from blogger's block, which is like writer's block with more Google image searching. So, in the interesting of fulfilling my insatiable thirst for pageviews keeping readers informed (shut up, we do have readers -- hi mom), here are some of ideas I've been bouncing around:

Adam vs. Eve: Idealism vs. Realism

I have pondered in the last day or two about Idealism and Realism, two very old and different philosophies that shape us, our education and our society (I blame this entirely on my History and Philosophy of Education class).

Idealism, perhaps the easier to define simply, is mind over matter. It is the theory that any endeavor can be taken on and accomplished so long as you believe it can. The reality of an idealist is one of perfect order: truth can be understood because it is universal and the values of the idealist are absolute.

Of course it's coming back! via

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Pioneer Story: A Short Play

So again, I had an assignment to work on an adaptation to produce a play. We could take a poem or prose to write a 5 to 8 minute play. I decided to take a story from Joanna Brooks's recent memoir Book of Mormon Girl. This is probably the closest I will ever come to writing something remotely resembling fan fiction. I do not know Dr. Brooks nor did I receive permission from her to adapt the story. I was simply touched by what she wrote and wanted to work with some themes that I found particularly striking in her experience dressing the body of her deceased grandmother. I hope on the off chance that Joanna Brooks finds out about this that it will not disappoint or disgruntle her. I'm also hoping that if you're reading this that you won't be disappointed or disgruntled. Without further ado, here is my adaptation entitled Pioneer Story.


Scene: A mortuary dressing room in Southern California. Everything inside is pink, from the seashell pink wallpaper to the mauve couch to the pink box of pink tissues resting on the faux mahogany sidetable. The room is illuminated by internal lighting; however, there should also be a sense of the afternoon sun shining through the windows. At center stage there is a gurney. A small body, covered by a white drape, rests on the gurney. A door opens and a woman enters the room as a man hold the door opened for her. She takes in the room and the body before returning to the presence of the man. She provides an appreciative nod which he returns before leaving.

The woman is in her mid-30s. She is pregnant, 2nd trimester. In addition to an expectable grief, she carries measures of both composure and trepidation. After engaging with situation of being in the room, she removes herself partly by pulling out a cell phone.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Memorial

It's been nearly two months since I wrote "Towards a Mormon Male Sexuality, Part I." I have not forgotten that I have wanted to write Part II, and I intend to do that soon. But the whole grad school thing has necessitated other demands--particularly in the requirement to write other things like 3 separate 15 page papers in 2 weeks on top of other reading and writing assignments. I keep telling myself, one more month and 75 pages to write left.

Point is, most of what I send my time writing is not necessarily blog worthy. But luckily that somewhat changed this week. In one of my classes, we received a challenge: write a 5 minute play only using the dialogue from a page out of the yellow pages. Remember the yellow pages? They're still a thing.

So yeah, I started thinking that I would write a funny comedy about two secretaries working for a superhero or a supervillian: the banality of office work juxtaposed against the grandiosity of comic book heroics. Trite, I know; but it was a 5 minute play, tropes felt fine. Somehow that whole idea fell away and instead I was thinking of Joan of Arc and Antigone. Also, it's kinda hard to write 5 minutes worth of dialogue from on piece of paper, so I ended up writing Eugene O'Neill-esque stage directions. The stage directions are more beautiful to me than what I necessarily crafted with the dialogue; but the images definitely stemmed from the dialogue. Hope you enjoy the story play I have entitled
Memorial:

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Sneak Preview of Jon McNaughton's Latest

I know we've been a little hard on acclaimed LDS artist/political theorist Jon McNaughton in the past, but I am pleased to announce that we have made our peace and have, in fact, been granted a sneak preview of his latest work, an update to the acclaimed "One Nation Under Socialism." Fans of McNaughton are aware of his practice of embedding deep symbolism and metaphor in his art, and in that spirit he has added additional symbols to One Nation for your contemplation and enjoyment. See if you can spot them all!

We proudly present, "One Godless Futureless Miserable Nation Under Evil Profane Vampiric Communist Socialism"

Thursday, April 12, 2012

LDS Themed Comic Strips: The Brett Hurst Edition



After spending the past thirty minutes or so working on a serious and (hopefully) thought-provoking blog post, I realized that that is a pretty heavy topic, and since this is the last day of the semester here at BYU, I'm a little weary of heavy topics. So, I'll shelve that one for a little while at least and put up something a bit more light hearted (and shorter...it's been a long last week of classes).

Recently, I got on Facebook to discover a friend of an acquaintance had put up a lot of LDS-themed comic strips. They consisted of a good mixture of all traditional form of LDS humor: cliches, references to conference talks, the hand-wringingly awful "Oh those wacky missionaries!," and my personal favorite, the overly-saccharine-and-by-the-way-it's-not-funny-just-sappy.

After reading a few of these, I realized something: They're actually pretty funny, they just forgot to include the punchline! Luckily, I was there to provide it.
You can find my improvements right here.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Moral Foundations: Disagreement Devoid of Destructive Disputations

God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and his covenants and doctrines are immutable... Old values are upheld by the Church not because they are old, but rather because through the ages they have proved right
- Spencer W. Kimball

Pfft
- Casey Walrath

How do you interact with someone who seems to hold a fundamentally different worldview than you? How do you understand a belief system that seems, at its core, to reject your most sacred values? In politics, the answer is simple enough: You take your ball and make up a new game where only your team gets to play. Then just keep moving the goalpost as you go and you're guaranteed to never lose! There's a reason you'll never see the aforementioned links - or any other partisan media source - issue a statement like, "Sorry, guys, we were wrong about everything. We blew it; good luck voting for the other side." Nope, humans seem pretty much hardwired to think we're right about everything all the time. It's hard to change our minds, and even if we do we're likely to act the same way about our new Cherished Beliefs.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Conference is over...

Yet another General Conference is in the past, and despite my (not so) greatest efforts, Casey and I missed quite a bit.

So although we may not know anything, the only wisdom is in knowing that you know nothing. So I wisely ask, what did you enjoy about conference this time around?

I personally really liked Larry Y. Wilson's tie. And L. Tom Perry's... And was surprised at the lack of pornography mentions.