My junior year at the Y, I had to write for the newspaper to fulfill a requirement for graduation. Those who spent any time at BYU may scoff at "The Daily Universe," but with a circulation-size of 19,000 (more than the median circulation for all the country's papers!), it was kind of a big deal.
Last February, I posted my favorite article. Lately, I've been thinking about some of the other articles I wrote. None are as memorable as Barbie and Ken's breakup, but I did have an award-winning article and several front-pagers. I'll admit; there's something pretty cool about seeing your name in print, or having Letters to the Editor written about articles you constructed.
It was newspaper rule that each article (3 a week!) had to have three sources. That semester, my friends became campus celebrities and experts in a variety of things.
My first month at the paper, I was assigned to write a story on stereotyping at BYU. The paper must have been short on content the day the story was published, because it was run in its entirety. We're talking 1500 words here. And at least half those words were quotes by people I know well--half of them will read this post.
But here's the reason for this blog: the quotes are hilarious. The best part? I don't think they're meant to be. When I was writing this article, I wasn't noticing the absurdity of the comments, but removing myself four years from the situation? Hysterical. **Names have been removed to protect the innocent.
--"There are all sorts of stereotypes at BYU. We stereotype based on how people dress, the majors people are in and the clubs people are in. Like the Medieval club -- we typically think of them as people with long, unbrushed, uncut hair, wearing the costumes and stuff, but I'm sure they're so much more than that."
--"It just happens because people don't want to reach out and see what other people are like. It's like saying, 'I don't like you, and I don't want to have to think about you."
--"You see people who are dressed nicely-they have their hair bleached, they have their teeth bleached, and you think of them as being kind of ditsy and kind of air headed. On the flipside, you see girls who are kind of frumpy and you think they're probably nerdy, probably not very cool."
--"If people are dressed nice, I'm usually more inclined to be friendly to them. Not because I think they're better people, but I'll definitely be more amiable with someone who's dressed well as opposed to someone who's dressed extremely frumpily or really dirty. I'm more comfortable with that."
--"There's the stereotypical rich California kids who dress nicely and are dumb. Then there are the skaters who are kind of the 'outside' people. And the nerdy people who wear sick old clothes, like big dresses, blouses and stuff."
--"There's the stereotype against guys who wear socks with sandals -- that they're all nerds. And I'm not saying they're not, because they probably are."
--"As an African-American, we might be thought of as wearing baggy jeans and a football or basketball jersey. That's kind of a misconception. We wear suits, normal jeans, polo shirts, whatever."
--"Because I'm from Oregon, and I don't match my clothes -- a lot of times people think I'm all liberal, and a vegetarian and stuff. Some of it may be true, but not to the extent people think. I love meat!"
--"When my roommate Laura found out I was from California (before we moved in together), she was so sure I was going to be blonde, ditzy, have a computer, a TV, a VCR, a DVD and everything. But I didn't. And I'm also not blonde. [Also], she was really disappointed when I wasn't rich."
--"Because I'm from Provo, people think I'm going to have no idea what a gay person is, or what drugs are. But lots of my friends are those things, or use those things -- I stereotype them as that or doing that because they fit the mold really well.
--"A lot of times people think, 'Oh, you're from Provo, you're going to be an idiot.' Kind of like someone who was home-schooled."
--"Every time I meet someone and they find out I was home-schooled, they're like, 'Oh really?! You're the most normal home-schooler I've ever met.' It's kind of a backhanded compliment, like they're saying, 'You're normal for a weird person.' There's a definite stereotype that goes with being home schooled."
--"If you're from a certain part of the country, like the South, you're going to like country music. Or if you're from the city, you're going to like hip-hop. If you're from maybe a little town in Utah you listen to the MoTab."
Phew. Sorry that was so long! But it was worth a good chuckle, right? Taken in such a formal context, the quotes seem off-kilter and pretty backwoods. I distinctly remember each of the interviews though, and they were said with much laughter and normalness. I don't see this being a "BYU-thing," I can imagine having very similar conversations out here in Boston. The lesson here is that the difference between listening and reading comprehension is hysterical. (A good example would be reading a transcript of what Paula's telling contestants on Idol.) I wish I could have a transcript of my life; I'd convert it into a screenplay that'd win me a nomination to the Oscars (a la Diablo Cody), and then I'd get to walk the red carpet and tell the attenders to their face what I really think about their dresses; instead of just yelling it at my TV.