Sunday, January 29, 2006

I am not Academic

Steering things in a more secular direction...

By way of preamble, let me start off by saying this is in no way meant to be an attack towards academia, nor towards those who are academically-minded. And I bear absolutely no grudge against the world of academia (with the possible exceptions of the biology and American Heritage departments at BYU).

Anyway, so I went to my friend's mission farewell today. She's a girl I've known since I was ten, we were really good friends in high school and now she's off to serve a mission to Russia. (She actually told a cool story in her talk about how she was told by God when she was 15 that she would one day serve a mission to Russia and that's why she took all this Russian in high school and college and spent six months there teaching English.) I went over to her house after church where they had lunch and we sat around and talked and she yodeled for us (she's the only person I know who can yodel--it's pretty cool).

I was talking to her Dad, who remembered my major and asked about that and each of my siblings. I gave some such remark about how they were all off being academic, unlike me. To which he gave the reply along the lines of, oh yes, you're an academic, too. I kind of veered on past that comment by furthering the conversation in saying that they, my siblings, would rather sit around and discuss religion and politics where I would rather analyze movies, and he then said that I could incorporate that by analyzing the religion and politics in movies.

Now this is a man who I consider to be the most genuinely decent Church leader I've ever had--and I've dealt with some pretty bad ones. He was my Bishop a couple of years before he was made Stake President, and then was moved along even further up into pseudo-GA status. I took a semester of Book of Mormon from him my freshman year, and even used him as a reference when I applied to my major. And one of the coolest things about him is that he is just about the most genuinely open-minded, non-judgemental person I have ever met (which is refreshing, because one of my biggest complaints about Mormons--as a culture--is the general lack of sincerity). And I in no way think that he was trying to be offensive or push any buttons with me.

But I take the comment of someone telling me I'm an academic to be somewhat of an insult--both to me, and actual academics. Among other things, I think people will generally only tell me that because I come from a family of such, and therefore the assumption is that I fit in with the mold--despite the reality that I am really not that learning or book-oriented of a person.

Which is not, certainly, to say that I have no desire to participate in any of the politically or religiously-geared discussions on this blog. Most likely, I'll continue to lurk, and occasionally post a comment when I feel the burning desire. But my greatest aversion towards such discussions is actually one of the same reasons why I doubt I will be incorporating the subjects in my movie-learning/producing, etc. in the near future. I think I've gotten to the point where I'm a little tired of being angry. I'm tired of being angry about politics, and at certain people; I'm tired of being angry at the church, particularly in regards to women (and I'm trying desperately to prove to myself that it is possible to be a feminist and a good, faithful church member at the same time).

So when it comes down to it, I would probably pick analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of a video game over having a discussion about Khadafi and where it is he truly belongs. So I'll gladly participate in other conversations, but if anyone has any recommendations for a good RPG, I'd love to chat.


Blogger Lynnette said...

Amalthea, I can't even imagine being in your position--being the youngest, and having to deal with people jumping conclusions about you based on the rest of us. I've always admired your individuality, your determination to go after your own interests regardless of what anyone else thought.

I think I can appreciate your comment about wanting to steer clear of anger-inducing discussions; politics and religion do seem to be topics which are invariably fraught with emotion. And my hope for this blog is that it will be more than the ranting of crazed academics (like myself. ;) I'm glad you're around, even if only putting in your two cents now and then.

1/29/2006 06:14:00 PM  
Blogger Eve said...

Thanks for your post, Amalthea. It's good to see you here. I agree with Lynnette--I really don't envy you the assumptions people make about you based on the rest of us. I have to admit that there are real advantages to being the oldest. I never had to deal with anyone's preconceptions of me based on their acquaintance with my siblings, so I can only imagine how exasperating that must be, trying to establish yourself as an individual in others' heads.

(I suppose you could tell people that you're the only sane one among us, or that you're on a mission to save us all from ourselves, which wouldn't be far from the truth, some days.)

I'd also love to read your movie reviews, if you ever feel like posting them.

Ummm....what's RPG?

1/29/2006 07:19:00 PM  
Blogger Seraphine said...

RPG means Role-Playing Game, right?

Speaking as an academic, I'm glad to see you here. As much as I love spending lots of time in my head thinking about things (and then going and discussing the elaborate models I come up with), I find it really valuable to talk to others who approach the world in different ways. So, please comment and post to the extent that you want to!

1/29/2006 07:26:00 PM  
Blogger Stephen said...

a good RPG ...

I can tell you are young when you mean a videogame rather than pen and paper ... ;)

What do you consider a good RPG? Something like Planescape or Wing Commander or something more like Kingdom Hearts?

1/29/2006 07:26:00 PM  
Blogger Eve said...

Thanks for the lingo help, s. As Amalthea constantly reminds me, I am a geezer. In fact, I believe she's been planning my eulogy for years, and I can hardly think of anyone I'd rather have speak at my funeral because I know that whatever else she does, she won't sentimentalize me.

1/29/2006 07:41:00 PM  
Blogger Lynnette said...

Okay, Stephen, this may betray my (youth? ;), but what does "RPG" have to with pen and paper?

1/29/2006 07:44:00 PM  
Blogger Eve said...

I guess I'm the wrong generation entirely, because I'm not sure what the relationship to pen and paper is either, Stephen.

And Amalthea, for what it's worth, I wholeheartedly believe one can be a faithful, active Latter-day Saint and a feminist. From my perspective, you combine the two admirably.

1/29/2006 08:34:00 PM  
Blogger Amalthea said...

Yeah, S got it for me. RPG-Role Playing Game. They originally used to be like Dungeons and Dragons, which is what's meant by pen and paper.

LOL, Stephen. I tend to prefer to Planescape type rather than Kingdom Hearts (with which I had an unfortunate experience). Though I've never actually played Planescape, I've heard it's a classic. My absolutely favorite of the genre is Baldur's Gate, if you're familiar with it.

1/29/2006 09:03:00 PM  
Blogger Seraphine said...

I've played Baldur's Gate!

1/30/2006 06:19:00 AM  
Blogger Lynnette said...

Thanks for the explanation about "paper and pencil." I do remember Dungeons and Dragons being all the rage when I was in elementary school (and hearing many dramatic stories about the potential dangers of playing such a game. ;)

1/30/2006 07:05:00 AM  
Blogger Amalthea said...

S, you've played Baldur's Gate? We *must* talk!

(Have you played Shadows of Amn and Throne of Bhaal as well, or just the original?)

1/30/2006 07:44:00 AM  
Blogger Melyngoch said...

Amalthea, I'm glad to see you posting, and hope you continue lurking-at-least. I'm always delighted you still talk to me after suffering through high school as "Melyngoch's Sister", and am likewise always impressed with the degree to which you've succeeded in staking out your own interests, seperately from everyone else's. I think you add breadth to the family that we wouldn't have otherwise. And we're all hoping that you have a lucrative film career so you can add money to the family that we wouldn't have otherwise!

Besdies, you make a great accomplice in Mal-lust, which Eve refuses to participate in. :b

1/30/2006 07:53:00 AM  
Blogger Eve said...

OK, Melyngoch and Amalthea, I'll bite: WHAT is Mal-lust? (Is it anything like Mall-lust?)

I'm afraid I just don't understand this younger generation...back in MY day, we watched The Brady Bunch. Well, we didn't, exactly, because we weren't allowed to watch TV, but the neightbors did. And that has to mean something. (What, however, I'm not entirely sure.)

1/30/2006 09:46:00 AM  
Blogger Seraphine said...

I think I've just played the original, and it's been awhile, so I don't remember it super well. (So, I'm sure any talking would take a lot of reminding on your part about what exactly happens in Baldur's Gate, who the characters are, etc.)

1/30/2006 09:59:00 AM  
Blogger Lynnette said...

I don't know what Mal-lust is either, but it sounds suspiciously to me like one of the seven deadly sins. ;)

(Wait . . . does this have to do with Serenity, that most perfect of movies--or so I've heard--that I still haven't seen?)

1/30/2006 09:59:00 AM  
Blogger Katya said...


It sounds to me like your friend's Dad was trying to pay you a compliment: "You're smart & academic, just like your smart & academic sisters." But I can see that it must be frustrating to be lumped in with your sisters as "another academic T----- girl" when you've always felt different.

For what it's worth, I love watching movies with people who know a lot about film -- they always point out things that I would never have noticed and make me view other films in a different way. What would you call that kind of knowledge, then, if "academic" doesn't seem to fit?

Eve - Mal-lust = Lust for Mal[colm Reynolds/Nathan Fillion] star of "Firefly," a short-lived sci-fi series.

1/30/2006 10:01:00 AM  
Blogger Seraphine said...

And "Serenity" is the movie based on "Firefly," so yes, Mal-lust is a reference to "Serenity"

1/30/2006 10:05:00 AM  
Blogger Lynnette said...

Maybe he just didn't understand the difference between knowledge and . . . wisdom.

(Sorry, I couldn't resist.)

1/30/2006 10:13:00 AM  
Blogger Kiskilili said...

Amalthea! I'm so glad to see you here! "I was beginning to think you weren't coming" . . . (or at least to worry that I would take over this lovely blog and transform it into the Kiskilili-is-an-Emotional-and-Spiritual-Wreck Support Group, donations are accepted at the following address). ;)

Oh dear. It sounds like he was trying to say, "Don't sell yourself short!" and you were like, "You don't sell me short. What, you think academically minded people are the only valid ones?"

1/30/2006 10:37:00 AM  
Blogger Elbereth said...

Amalthea, glad to see you've managed to sound your voice though I'm still too much of a chicken. The interesting thing to me is that I would also not classify myself as an academic as I think I have chosen to go out into the world and make money instead of spending it on more schooling.

1/30/2006 11:53:00 AM  
Blogger Lynnette said...

Elbereth! So good to see you! I now feel that this blog is "officially" up and running, since all seven siblings (not to mention the incomparable S) have at least made an appearance. What do they say--the family that blogs together . . . is bogged down together? Hmm.

Just remember that if you choose to go out into Babylon and make lots of money, as a family, we're going to have to start living the United Order. ;)

1/30/2006 01:06:00 PM  
Blogger Amalthea said...

Well, Melyngoch, since Eve refuses to participate in Mal-lust, I'm afraid she must be disowned from the family. A subject under which I am already under deep consideration regarding Lynette, since she has yet to watch Serenity.

S, I'd be happy to remind you about anything Baldur's Gate--or fly out and bring all versions and sequels so you remember. :) (Maybe I'll have to start a new post...)

Katya, yeah, I absolutely believe he was trying to pay me a compliment. Which was what I was trying to say with the long disclaimer about how I thought he was a really great church leader. But unfortunately, I read something like that as someone giving a rather uninformed response, which is the best way I can think of phrasing it. After all, how would he know that I find it an annoying comment to be told that I'm academic and intelligent--I'm not always very vocal about that kind of thing, and in most cases, that probably would be a nice thing to say to someone.

(I'm half asleep right now and am having a hard time articulating my thoughts, so I don't really know if that made much sense.)

1/30/2006 02:33:00 PM  
Blogger Seraphine said...

I like the idea of you flying out with all versions. That sounds much more fun than working on my dissertation prospectus and teaching freshman writing!

1/30/2006 02:46:00 PM  
Blogger chronicler said...

Heh. I hav elearned more practical knowledge in this post and subsequent comments than I think I have in the almost tow years of reading in the bloggernacle! Thank you Amalthea! You've proven we are at least three dimensional beings!

1/30/2006 05:50:00 PM  
Anonymous Serenity Valley said...

I must admit to a tiny bit of Mal-lust myself. He's so obstinant... it makes my toes tingle. Am I the only full-fledged Brown Coat around here?

1/30/2006 08:42:00 PM  
Blogger Elbereth said...

Though we may be few, there are a few hardcore Browncoats around here.

For those of you not versed in Serenity lore, Browncoats are Firefly/Serenity fans.

1/30/2006 10:48:00 PM  
Blogger Amalthea said...

Chronicler, that's great to hear you got something so positive about this! I'd love to see you around here more often.

Serenity Valley--I can tell by your name that you're a Browncoat! I, Elbereth and Melyngoch are all die-hard Browncoats, and Melyngoch is trying to convert Eve. Let me know if you ever want to chat!

1/30/2006 11:30:00 PM  
Blogger Seraphine said...

I'm a Browncoat too.

1/31/2006 09:21:00 AM  
Blogger Eve said...

I wouldn't mind _trying_ to be a Browncoat--Melyngoch has promised to introduce me to more Firefly episodes--but I'm afraid of inducing another media addiction in myself. Blogging is proving to be bad enough.

1/31/2006 10:35:00 AM  
Blogger Melyngoch said...

Spring break, Eve, spring break.

1/31/2006 11:08:00 AM  
Blogger Amalthea said...

S, I'm thrilled to hear it! Now we can add ever *more* pressure on Lynnette to get involved. *evil laugh*

1/31/2006 11:51:00 AM  
Blogger JB said...

Wow. You gals always have so many comments! I agree with... whoever else said it... that you can be a feminist and a good member of The Church.

Also, I've never played Dungeons and Dragons with pen and paper. Ever. I prefer the "in your head" version. I'll be talking to someone, from the same campaign, about something that happened and have to remind myself that it didn't actually happen.

As far as fun "newer" ones go, I hear there's a Discworld RPG out there. I've even seen one of the books! It's got the American illustrator's works on/in it. Um. Yeah, that is, if you like Terry Pratchett's Discworld. AND RPGs... I'm not a nerd really. I just play one in real life.

Also, I think it's really important to have a good balance of academic and not academic in the world. I don't know that I'd categorize myself as either (accurately, anyway). Personally, as in everything else, I do both the academic and the not-so-academic, but neither very well. *shrug*

1/31/2006 01:43:00 PM  
Anonymous Serenity Valley said...


Firefly is addictive, but it's only thirteen episodes long, so it can't really take over one's life. It's the perfect length for Spring Break, though.

1/31/2006 03:02:00 PM  
Blogger Lynnette said...

S, I'm thrilled to hear it! Now we can add ever *more* pressure on Lynnette to get involved. *evil laugh*

Amalthea, long ago I learned in YW that there would a come a time when my friends would pressure me into making bad decisions, and that if such a thing happened, I should virtuously stand up for my beliefs and choose the right. ;)

1/31/2006 11:39:00 PM  
Blogger Seraphine said...

But, Lynette, can't you see how much fun we're having? You don't want to be a chicken or a spoilsport. Come on, once won't hurt... :)

2/01/2006 06:30:00 AM  
Blogger annegb said...

I think people in my ward think I'm "academic" or "intellectual" or "liberal." I think I'm a piss poor example of all three. It's just that nobody else even tries.

I'm not insulted, though, I just laugh, and say, "no way do I want the priesthood. I have enough to do." And I think, "you moron."

2/01/2006 06:59:00 AM  
Blogger Eve said...

Melyngoch and Serenity Valley, thanks for the reassurance. I'll postpone my Browncoat investigatons until then.

2/01/2006 03:59:00 PM  
Anonymous Idahospud said...

Browncoat here, too! And Trekker (I even took a Klingon Language class), and currently a Battlestar Galactica fanatic . . .

About academia and academics--the closest I came to being academic was when I was a TA at UI and then taught at a community college. So while I could participate in a discussion on the contemporary social, moral, and ethical issues in allegory as portrayed in Battlestar Galactica, I'd really rather speculate whether or not Tigh's wife is a Cylon . . .

2/02/2006 01:21:00 PM  
Blogger Amalthea said...

idahospud, as a fellow BG fan, I might just take you up on that...

(I need to find some way to coordinate discussions about secular topics like Firefly and Battlestar Galactica.)

2/02/2006 03:54:00 PM  

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