Wednesday, January 16, 2008

What's Wrong With the BYU Honor Code
How to Fix It

First, my apologies for the lengthy hiatus. I have many projects in the works just now (one of which is a Bachelor's Degree). I hope to atone somewhat with this lengthy portion of an essay. As always, mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. [Beats chest, dislodges phlegm.]

This will be, I think, the first in a series of posts on this issue, published whenever I feel most vexed about it. I imagine I won't be able to exorcise all the demons in one go, but we're going to give it a good try tonight.

And now, to the main event...

What is wrong:

1) The Honor Code is not a commandment, but BYUSA (hereafter "BYUSSR") doesn't let that keep them from billing it like one. I think their official story is that it came scrawled by the finger of God (or at least that of his childhood friend, Biff) on the back of the Decalogue. It is actually a creation of the student body of about 40 years ago as a reaction to the hippie culture prevalent at the time. (Remember, BYU used to hold PRO Vietnam War rallies: "Napalm a Gook-baby for Uncle Sam!") However, today most seem to be under the impression that it was a prophetic utterance, not merely a nice student-initiated idea.

For your edification, let me share a personal experience. Last semester, I needed to take a test on a Tuesday afternoon. It was the last time the test would be offered. I had been sick all weekend and through Monday. I rolled out of bed a few minutes before the test and raced to the computer testing center in the basement of the new Syphilis building (Joseph Fielding Smith Humanities Building, formerly Smith Family Living Center, or SFLC, thus, the "Syphilis"). I was scruffy. I went into the testing room and asked to take a test.

"I'm sorry," (she wasn't) said the co-ed in charge, "You need to be clean-shaven to take a test." She smiled just enough to showcase her dead, soulless eyes.

I explained my trouble. I felt like hell and looked worse (see photo of young man below). I had only come to school to take this test. If I missed my time-slot I would not be able to take it and I would fail my class.

"I'm sorry," she said. She wasn't. It was exactly the kind of "sorry" she would have offered had I asked if I might perform an abortion on her desk.

"Look, is there any way I can take this test?"

Now she was upset. She huffed, but eventually called her superior. He was a man, but he spoke just like his subordinate. I re-explained the situation. "So... you just want us to forget the rule?"

"No," I explained. "I want you to make an exception based on the extenuating circumstances I've just described [you extra-chromosome-wielding retardobeast*]."

"Lemme talk to [Susan**]."

Eventually, they let me take the test. It was just amazing that they were initially so unbending. Would it have been easier to ask for his right testicle? Probably. I know it would have been easier to get [Susan**]'s.

*I wish I had used this line.
**Her name has been struck from my memory and––I hope––the Book of Life.

2) The Code ("...well, the code is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules...") conflates many different regulations of vastly different value. "Remember to shave" is preached cheek by jowl with "No premarital hanky-panky." This is doubly detrimental as it seems to suggest that scruffiness is akin to fornication (of course some of my fellow zoobies would have a hard time seeing the difference between drinking a Diet Coke and injecting black tar heroin straight into your brain tissues through your eye). The awful part is that subconsciously something as trivial as facial hair might lesson the seriousness of adultery. (Let's not forget to mention the delicious irony that, based solely on dress and grooming code violations, Karl G. Maser, Brigham Young, and Jesus Christ would all be barred from entering the testing center. Adolf Hitler, on the other hand, would be admitted with his neatly trimmed mustache!)

3) BYU students are consistently told how wonderful they are. How sober, how bright, how upright, how honest. Of course they're just blowing smoke up or out of assorted orifices. How can we tell?

The testing center.

Whereas in other Universities their (obviously less-trustworthy, Gentile) students are expected and trusted to take multi-hour, closed-book exams in a take-home situation (Princeton is one example. Of course if you're blowing over thirty G's (!) a year you'd be an idiot not to try and get your money's worth) at BYU, on the other hand, where honesty was patented, students take most of their tests in a lead-roofed chamber of horrors, with proctors––strung out on Postum––practically fogging students' glasses with their fetid breath. (I swear I've had my neck licked in there a couple of times. You can tell when they're hungry because they click their enormous foot-claws against the floor more rapidly. Wait! Is that freshman using a calculator? Their furtive chirping helps the pack to triangulate as they close in on the unsuspecting youth. Don't try to help. He is lost now. Reduced in moments to a trembling mass of glistening pink. One less returns to the DT tonight.)

Tell me, if BYU students are so obviously superior and so intolerably honest, then why do they need such close supervision from the reptilian guardians of the testing center?


dixonfamily said...

I think you have missed your calling Nick. You need to become a writer, a journalist, something that will allow everyone to enjoy your talent with language. That was HILARIOUS! And you did make some good points. Remember though, you chose to go to BYU, not that that means it couldn't be improved. I look forward to reading more from you on the subject. Maybe you should run for BYUSA. I think you could bring a lot of interesting ideas to the table.
BYUSSR-that was too funny!

apb said...

Well Nick, one could say you've hit an all-time low, or maybe an all-time high, depending on you look at it. No one can question how maliciously funny your writing was. What shocked me most though (and in a mostly good way) was the play off of Jurassic Park, including the redone logo and horrific tag line underneath... Where did you find that?!? Anyway, this is more like it! Keep the posts coming!!

Latter-Day Guy said...

Oh man, the "Abortic Park" logo was just sheer luck while looking for a raptor pic. One of those tender mercies, you know. I wish I had come up with that tag line though!

The Olsen's said...

Nick, I laugh, I chuckled, until I cried. BYUSSR was brillant, susan's testicle was a scream, and the references to Jurrassic Park were hillarious! I agree with Alissa that maybe writing should be your thing and music a hobby?!

Ash said...

Wow! What to say, what to say? I giggled, and I squirmed throughout, however, I think my favorite line referenced Brigham Young, and Adolf Hitler. Anyway, I agree with Lis and Aim, and think you should at least write on the side.

dixonfamily said...

Nick, this is Jeff. Place a toned down version in the BYU paper and you'll have a mob of devoted followers singing the song "Red and Black" with raised muskets ready to charge the testing center. No really though, I think you should post it in the paper. I know there will follow a slew of self-righteous bastards wanting to strike you down with their high and mighty retorts, but there will also come a vote for you to be the new Chief editor of the opinion section and a call for you to be the new writer of "Snyde Remarks". This time it will be called "sNicker remarks"

Stephen said...

The best part was where they let you take the test anyway.

WiseGuy said...

Dude, I love you. Peers like you give me hope that I'm not a complete outcast in this place.