Insulting Utes on Twitter

October 9, 2017    By: Geoff J @ 5:07 pm   Category: Evolutionary psychology,Life

Hey look! I just noticed I still own this blog… nice.

Ok, I knew I still owned NCT. I just haven’t posted here in more than three years. These days I mostly get my online fix by talking BYU sports on Twitter. (See @GeoffJbyu) The thing about rooting for BYU on Twitter is it means I get to argue with Utah Utes fans a lot. Of course arguments in the 140 character format of Twitter mostly consists of taunting and insulting. I get a lot of Ute challengers appearing in my Twitter mentions these days because I’ve developed a bit of a reputation for being highly optimistic about BYU (which infuriates and frustrate many of them to no end) and for being somewhat pugilistic in my responses to Ute antagonists who come after me. My go-to insult with most Ute fans is to call them imbeciles in one form or another. Some variations on that theme have included: moron, dimwit, stupid, dumber than a box of rocks, illiterate, fool, dullard, ignoramus, simpleton, pea brain, numbskull, and knucklehead. Such insults tend to get under their skins, which of course is my goal.

Not sure if I should feel bad about all the online arguing and insulting or not. I normally don’t. Although sometimes I get the feeling the rough-housing has gotten too heated and sort of feel bad when that happens.

Anyhow, in some ways the whole Twitter fighting process is kind of cathartic. I have long been a bit of a fan of evolutionary psychology theories that posit that we have all sorts of instincts that we’re born with as a result of the evolutionary history of humans. (And yes, I do think human evolution can square with a Mormon cosmology just fine with the right assumptions). So I kind of suspect this sort of raw tribal fighting is coded into all of our DNA. It sure seems to come naturally to us all.

If that’s the case, seems to me that the low stakes, almost ritualized sparring associated with this literal Team Blue vs Team Red serves as a useful and largely harmless outlet. It is undoubtedly a lower stakes fight than the ugly political fighting we see between Team Red (conservatives) and Team Blue (liberals) so many other places these days. Likewise, the religious fighting I used to do with anti-Mormons here and elsewhere online seemed to have higher stakes (even if that was just my impression).

I recently saw someone make a prediction for the future of humanity that went something like this: “Unrelenting Tribalism”. I tend to agree. I think tribalism is probably in our DNA. So I’m hoping that getting my tribal warfare fix via low stakes sports team rivalries is actually a useful pressure release valve rather than just an excuse for me to be rude to a bunch of anonymous Ute fans online.

If unrelenting tribalism is in our blood and inevitable, maybe finding a low stakes outlet like a sports team rivalry for it would be good for all of us. Especially if we could then let cooler heads prevail when it comes to higher stakes issues in society.

“Strangers In Zion”?

June 24, 2014    By: Geoff J @ 7:21 pm   Category: Life

Just saw a news piece that mentioned a brand spankin’ new group calling themselves “Strangers In Zion”. The group has a fancy new web site and everything. The stated purpose of the group is this:

Strangers In Zion is a grass roots movement for members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who are requesting to subject themselves to church discipline in solidarity for other wrongfully excommunicated and otherwised [sic] disciplined Latter-day Saints.

Well alrightee then.

Why just fade into inactivity in the church when you can try to leave the with a bang? I guess I can see the appeal on some level.

Of course folks will probably end up surprised by how hard it really is to get excommunicated from this church.

Sigh.

Turns Out Chronic Internet Trolls Really Are Bad People

February 17, 2014    By: Geoff J @ 5:11 pm   Category: Bloggernacle

I saw this provocative Slate article today. It was inspired by this recent study. Here’s an excerpt from the article:

Overall, the authors found that the relationship between sadism and trolling was the strongest, and that indeed, sadists appear to troll because they find it pleasurable. “Both trolls and sadists feel sadistic glee at the distress of others,” they wrote. “Sadists just want to have fun … and the Internet is their playground!”

So the basic take away I get from this is that chronic internet trolls are pretty much sadistic psychos. (Seems like an apt description of some of the rabid anti-Mormon trolls I have encountered over the years.)

Anyhow, three cheers for active moderation of comment sections! We may not make trolls cease to exist, but we can at least keep these psycho sadists out of our own blog comment sections with a little effort.

A Bunch of Imbeciles Wrote About a BYU-Idaho Video

February 4, 2014    By: Geoff J @ 6:25 pm   Category: Mormon Culture/Practices

First, here is the BYU-Idaho video that has apparently caused a small stir this week:

It is a video warning about the dangers of pornography addiction. The dangers of pornography addiction are well documented and opposition to pornography is certainly not only a Mormon thing.

So here’s a question for you: How many times did you hear the word “masturbation” used in that video?

If you answered “none times” that means you are brighter than numerous writers and bloggers across the country who railed against what they called an “anti-masturbation” video.  Here are some of the headlines from these clowns:

    The Daily Beast: “BYU to Undergrads: Self-Love Is A Battlefield — The Mormon university is urging its students to narc on chronic masturbators, whose fight against self-pleasure is like rescuing a fallen soldier during war.”

    The Stir: “College Wages ‘War’ on Masturbation With Video That Offends Soldiers”

    The Daily Caller: “War-themed BYU video implores students to rat out masturbating roommates”

Look, I realize that people who view porn often masturbate too. But this particular video is not about masturbation. How is that hard to comprehend?

I am a little baffled by these stories. They actually link to the video and write entire posts saying it is about masturbation when it never even broaches the topic of masturbation. Is this just a copycat situation from writers not bright enough to comprehend the video? Were these writers too lazy to actually watch it? Or is the concept that pornography addiction itself might be a bad thing so foreign to these writers that they miss it entirely?

At any rate, the ridiculousness of the articles irritated me enough to get me to post about it. Feel free to sound off in the comments.

Pitching Modesty

June 18, 2013    By: Geoff J @ 3:37 pm   Category: Evolutionary psychology,Modesty,Mormon Culture/Practices

Has anyone seen this video before? It is a young entrepreneur pitching her line of modest women’s swimwear. She obviously has a financial incentive here but her arguments are provocative and sound pretty compelling to me. She cites studies that claim that the more skin women show the less the male brain tends to see them as people. Some sort on evolutionary instinct thing I would guess. Check it out:

So what do you think? Do you find her arguments persuasive? (See her business site here: http://www.reyswimwear.com/)

Fasting For Health

May 18, 2013    By: Geoff J @ 6:33 pm   Category: Life,Mormon Culture/Practices

A little more than a month ago I came across a BBC program on the subject of fasting. You can watch the whole thing here.

If you don’t have a whole hour to watch I recommend picking up around the 36 minute mark where they start discussing intermittent fasting, or alternate day fasting. The basic concept is to alternate between fasting days and “feasting” days. A fast day consists of 400-500 calories for women or 500-600 calories for men. (You are encouraged to drink all the water you want on fast days). On the feed/feast days you eat whatever you want.

What are purported benefits of alternate day fasting? All sorts of things according to the researchers interviewed. Here are some mentioned in the documentary:

  1. Weight loss. It turns out that people doing this intermittent fasting don’t normally eat double their daily recommended calories on feed days. They are more likely to eat about 110% of recommended caloric intake so there is a net calorie deficit every week and that means steady weight loss.
  2. Reduced blood sugar levels. Warding off diabetes is always a good thing, right?
  3. Reduced levels of triglycerides, bad cholesterol, and blood pressure. They say this is a good thing. Reportedly reduces risk of heart disease and whatnot.
  4. Improved brain function. Mice on intermittent fasting remain mentally sharp far longer than the mice that were fed well daily. The theory is that humans see similar benefits. Fasting reportedly causes brains to grow new brain cells. Researchers interviewed for the piece think that this is an evolutionary survival mechanism; as we fast our brains quickly get stronger to give us better odds of wrangling up some food to stay alive. (I’ve been told that other studies indicate fasting has been shown to improve student test scores as well.)

(more…)

“Mormon Girl” Joanna Brooks Misfired On This One

March 26, 2013    By: Geoff J @ 12:20 am   Category: Life

I just saw an article by Joanna Brooks titled “I Died Inside”. Here is the first paragraph:

Emmett C. is a twenty year-old community college student in the Pacific Northwest. Last year, he applied to serve as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a religious obligation he had long prepared for and looked forward to fulfilling. But in the course of preparing his missionary application, Emmett came out to his local LDS Church leaders—not as a gay man, but as a straight Mormon who believes that LGBT people are equal in the sight of God and should treated the same as straight members of the LDS Church. And on these grounds, he was told that he would not be permitted to serve.

Nonsense.

If Emmett was told he couldn’t serve a mission due to his views on the LGBT topic, I can guarantee that it was not for him believing “that LGBT people are equal in the sight of God and should treated the same as straight members of the LDS Church”. How do I know this? Because the church openly teaches that LGBT members are equal in the sight of God and should be treated the same as all other members. That includes holding all Mormons to the exact same Law of Chastity. The Mormon Law of Chastity states we should have no sexual contact with anyone besides our opposite-sex, legal spouse.

It is more likely that Emmett was advocating that LGBT members should not be treated the same as straight members and should not have to follow the Law of Chastity as it currently stands. Perhaps he was advocating for the Law of Chastity to be amended to give the green light to gay sex (within gay marriages) or something.

I’m sure Ms. Brooks meant well but I find her attempts at spin in that opening paragraph irritating and counter-productive. If you want to lobby for gay sex (within gay marriage) being permitted in the Mormon Law of Chastity just say so. At least we’ll be talking about the actual subject rather that completely dancing around it.

Dear Kristine, Why Are Mormon Men “Scared of Homosexuality” Again?

September 11, 2012    By: Geoff J @ 4:12 pm   Category: Mormon Culture/Practices

I just read an article/post by the always interesting and intelligent Kristine Haglund over at a site called ReligionAndPolitics.org. Kristine’s post is titled “Why Mormon Men Love “Church Ball” and Are Scared of Homosexuality“. Sounded interesting. And the article is interesting. But I have some questions and quibbles with it so I figured this would be a good place to bring them up.

1. Is being kind really “coded feminine”? I see this idea passed around as if it were some self evident fact but it just isn’t. Mormonism, like many other religions, teaches men (and women) to have self discipline, bridle our passions, and be generally good and productive members of our families, communities, and overall societies. I don’t really see what is particularly feminine about that.

2. Church ball is not really all that different than pick up ball anywhere else. Most church ball happens on weekdays either before work or after weekday activities. The games are pretty similar to any pickup hoops game you might get into at the local gym or YMCA. The fact is that men at church ball tend to be significantly less likely to get into fights or start dropping F-Bombs than the guys at the local gym. But perhaps the church ball gets its reputation because expectations for Mormons are extremely high, and yet those blowups, while rare, are not completely absent in church ball.

Also, we rarely bro-hug after ball. Who wants to hug some sweaty bro?

3. I’m not sure Mormon men cry more easily than any other men. Most men love their families intensely and given the proper circumstances would get choked up discussing them. I think Mormon culture just gives men a platform and reason to publicly discuss their loved ones more often than most cultures.

4. Why is effeminate being treated as interchangeable with gay in this conversation? Aren’t there a lot of non-effeminate men who are sexually attracted to other men and a lot of effeminate men who are only sexually attracted to women? Seems to me that treating these two as interchangeable further clouds an already cloudy issue.

(Anyone remember Dana Carvey’s “Lyle, the effeminate heterosexual“? (Warning: PG-13))

5. Mostly, the dots in your post just don’t connect for me. What exactly are you saying? It seems to me that you are implying that because there is a strong fraternal aspect to Mormon culture, that makes Mormon men “scared of homosexuality”. But there are lots of groups that have similar strong fraternal aspects — the military, firefighters, police officers, male sports teams, and so on. In my experience there is nothing about Mormonism that makes Mormon men more “scared of homosexuality” than anyone else. In fact in my experience on sports teams, Mormon men tend to be a lot less mean about the subject than others.

I guess the real problem I see is there is nothing in the article that indicates that there is any significant causal relationship between being a Mormon man and being “scared of homosexuality”.

What say you all?

These guys weren’t “LDS” — they were Mormons and proud of it

   By: Geoff J @ 9:41 am   Category: Life

Check out this great shot of the 1951 NIT Champion BYU Cougars men’s basketball team.  Too cool.

Oregon State Gets The Full Nelson From BYU

October 15, 2011    By: Geoff J @ 10:36 pm   Category: Sports

BYU took down the Oregon State Beavers this afternoon 38-28. Here are some thoughts on the game:

– For the second straight week QB Riley Nelson played the entire time while Jake Heaps watched from the sideline. Riley continued to show signs of brilliance mixed in with stretches of ineptitude. The good news is that Riley showed more of the good stuff and less of the bad stuff this week. He and the offense seem to be getting better week by week.
– HUGE game for sophomore receiver Cody Hoffman. This kid was virtually invisible the first few weeks while Jake Heaps was QB. In the last few weeks Hoffman has put up great numbers.
– Conversely, Ross Apo who was clearly a favorite of Jake Heaps has had quiet games as of late. Hopefully he can get more involved going forward as well. (more…)

BYU vs. SJSU recap: Half Nelson

October 9, 2011    By: Geoff J @ 1:28 am   Category: Sports

BYU started Riley Nelson for the first time this year and for most of the first half it looked like a genius move. Then Riley started throwing interceptions and the offense stagnated in the second half. In the end it was good enough to get a 29-16 win over a below average San Jose State team.

Some thoughts on the game:

– Riley did not pull away from Heaps in the QB competition. He looked like he would and then he started fumbling and throwing knucklehead interceptions.
– Doman needs to only play QB’s he is willing to let pass. After Riley’s second interception Doman stopped calling pass plays and the offense stopped moving the ball. BYU needs pass yards to be effective.
– The offense looked good in the first half but scored only six points in the second half against a weak team. That is really disappointing.
– BYU has a new #1 running back. Mike Alisa emerged out of nowhere to be the best option at tailback after playing a little fullback up until now. He looked great gashing big runs up the middle. Looks like fewer carries for Kariya and Quezada going forward (although DiLuigi will still be the outside runner).
– The defense looked ok but Bronco said he was going with a bend don’t break scheme so there were more yards given up than BYU fans would have liked.
– Special teams were ok. Two made FGs were good. Kickoffs didn’t go out of the end zone though. And believe it or not there were zero BYU punts this game.
– Kyle Van Noy and Jordan Pendleton are fantastic outside linebackers. That position is the best on the team this year.
– Too many drops by receivers today. Jacobson dropped a sure TD in the endzone. Hoffman dropped a hard catch in traffic. And Matthews dropped an easy and sure first down catch late in the game.

Overall there were some nice things today but not enough to make me think “yeah, BYU finally has things figured out”.

Regarding the BYU and Big12 thing:

– The odds of BYU joining the Big12 took a major hit this week with The Big12 inviting TCU ahead of BYU
– Rumors circulating are that there are snags of some kind — presumably with TV rights — that are keeping the Big12 from inviting BYU
– It is still possible that BYU and the Big12 will work things out but I think the odds are much more slim this week than they looked last week.

Sound off in the comments BYU fans.

You gotta feel for the Aggies after last night (and other BYU football news)

October 1, 2011    By: Geoff J @ 5:46 pm   Category: Sports

BYU completed a shocking comeback with about 11 seconds to go en route to beating the the Utah State Aggies on Friday 27-24. The Cougars were playing generally solid defense against a good Aggies offense for most of the game but Jake Heaps and the BYU offense were getting killed (as usual). So the BYU coaching staff decided to put Riley Nelson into the game near the end of the third quarter with BYU losing 24-13. Nelson was actually the starting quarterback at USU his freshman season before leaving on a mission. Nelson decided to transfer to BYU after his mission. It was a controversial transfer — so much so that the NCAA instituted a new rule after the transfer requiring RM’s to sit out a year if they transfer after the mission. Anyway, this game seemed over before Heaps was benched and Nelson came in. BYU appeared to have no chance of coming back with Heaps at QB. But obviously BYU could come back with Nelson.

So with that I’d say BYU has a new starting QB. If Heaps wants to start again he’ll have to earn it.

Some thoughts on the game: (more…)

Cougars night ends better than Knights night

September 24, 2011    By: Geoff J @ 10:21 am   Category: Sports

After being humiliated at home last week by Utah, the BYU football team did enough to beat the UCF Knights in Provo last night by the score of 24-17.

Here are some thoughts on the game:
– Despite some blown coverages and occasionally inept tackling, the BYU defense got the job done again for BYU primarily through ferocious hitting and creating turnovers. In the end “points allowed” is the only stat that really matters for a defense.
– Huge night for BYU special teams. A successful fake punt, a booming punt that resulted in BYU getting the ball back, and a kickoff returned for a TD were all crucial to BYU winning this game.
– The offense remains painfully inept. But there were some signs of life in the running game. (more…)

So it turns out this BYU football team isn’t as good as fans hoped…

September 17, 2011    By: Geoff J @ 10:06 pm   Category: Sports

BYU was completely blown out tonight by Utah by the score of 54-10. After going up 10-7 the Cougars gave up 47 straight points (yes, 47). It’s hard to say what happened but turnover after turnover (seven total, three in the first quarter) might have led to the wheels falling off for BYU. Maybe it was the fact that BYU has no run game. Whatever it was, the wheels did indeed completely come off for BYU in this game.

The Utes were just better than BYU tonight. A lot better. At this point a 7+ wins seems like a solid goal for BYU football this year. Bummer.

I imagine there will be complete hysteria among BYU fans this week. I think I’ll try to avoid the BYU fan message boards for a while…

BYU loses by one point to Texas

September 10, 2011    By: Geoff J @ 9:03 pm   Category: Sports

It was close, but the BYU offense sputtered in the second half and Texas pulled out a 17-16 win over BYU today.

Here are some observations from the game: (more…)

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