August 30th, 2012


Huh. That's weird.

Today turned out to be a bit more exhausting than expected, which isn't necessarily conducive to writing about topics I feel strongly about but have a difficult time articulating, but...oh well. It's time for the second installment of Things That Happened Last Week That Made Us Think.

One week ago today, our visiting teachers came over. It used to be that Athena had visiting teachers and I had different visiting teachers, and technically, that's still the case, but since each of us has one visiting teacher that is MIA somewhere, I guess our visiting teachers who come to church every week have decide to lighten each other's burdens and visit us together. So they came over one week ago today.

I wouldn't necessarily say we hate our visiting teachers, but I think this particular incident will illustrate why we don't really get along. It wasn't really unpleasant--just some small talk, and they asked how our job works, and stuff. We showed them some of the manga we translated, and they commented on how different it is.

We started talking about how they have all kinds of different styles in Japan, just like we do here, and not only that, but the overall Japanese style has been influencing American animation for a while now. We pointed out some examples, and Athena's visiting teacher said that her son knows all about that, but he hasn't been around for two years, and she doesn't watch that stuff. Maybe we were being extra sensitive, because we've noticed many, many times how people have to make sure, whenever it gets brought up, that they're not into that stuff, and we were a little fed up.

So, in a sort of playful but probably mostly spiteful move, Athena said, "Yeah. Normal people have to stay away from that stuff..." Her visiting teacher responded before she could finish with, "Right."

That struck me as odd, because it wasn't a "smile and nod" kind of right, or a "I know, right? It's funny how people think sometimes," or even a "Look, I'm sick of you and your freakish ways, so yes. Right. Normal people STAY AWAY from that stuff!" It sounded very much like a, "I heard what you said, and I'm taking it at face value, and I agree." To which our response is, "...Huh?"

Athena's brain was already charging ahead with how she meant to finish her statement: "Normal people have to stay away from that stuff, or they'll get infected." I would have thought that second part was more obviously sarcastic, but thinking back on our VTs' reactions ("Infected? That's so funny! What do you mean?"), I'm not so sure they understood.

There are so many things that are wrong with the whole scenario that I don't even know where to begin. I think one of the main things we got out of it is, "Yeah, there are too many self-proclaimed normal people in Fresno. We may need to get away from here if we ever want to be happy in life."

I think another thing is how...interesting, I is that everyone is so careful about being normal, and yet assumes everyone they talk to thinks the same way they do. We've been enjoying our Wii's "Everybody Votes!" channel, which basically just asks a question every couple of days, and you get to vote. Like, "Do you prefer reading books or magazines?" So you get to answer books or magazines, and then predict what you think everyone else answered. The really funny thing about it is that when they display the results, the national prediction accuracy is almost always extremely close to the percentage of people who voted with the majority. So if 75% of people voted books, the prediction accuracy is usually about 76% or 77%. To us, that indicates that most people assume that everyone thinks the same way they do, or at least that they're in the majority, so they predict that everyone is going to vote the same way they will.

So going back to our little visit last Thursday, despite the fact that we translate Japanese comic books for a living, this woman assumed that we would sympathize with a normal person having to stay away, for their own good. Of course, it's entirely possible that we're blowing things out of proportion, but seriously. Even if we are, then this is the kind of thing that's been on our mind for a while, so obviously it bothers us enough for us to blow it out of proportion.

Another big problem I have with it is what is this thing called "normal" that people are so obsessed with? I had long been convinced it's a myth. Especially because it's so arbitrary. People draw these imaginary lines of what's acceptable and what's not--not based on, like, caring about people, or following the principles of the Gospel, for example--just based on what they see other people doing or not doing, I guess. (We don't do things this way, so we can only speculate.) ...Anyway, the point is it's exasperating, and my mind refuses to delve too deeply into it. But it's this kind of thinking that makes it so all movies these days are just rehashes of old movies. Nobody wants to see anything original--that would be weird.

...Or something.

I guess I want to point out that I wasn't offended that she implied that the stuff we like isn't normal. I was offended by the fact that she actively avoids something good because it's "not normal." I think I'll have more to say on that when I finally get through all the Articles of Faith.

Today I'm thankful for Gundam 00 getting some character development (it was slow, but it's showing signs of picking up), work going pretty well today, not being bound by the word "normal," having a free night tonight (usually we have an activity, but it was moved to Friday), and things that are praiseworthy, and of good report.