Readers’ Forum: 3/5/19

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Social media

Mickey Mouse, roller coasters, Dole Whips, and churros: these are the captivating classics I expected to hear about as I eagerly listened to my friend’s account of her recent trip to Disneyland. Quickly noticing her shallow tone, I asked why she wasn’t more excited about her vacation. Her response, “Oh, I just didn’t get any good pictures to post,” caused me to question.

“The Happiest Place on Earth,” I kept reminding myself. Happiest. If my friend really was in the happiest place on earth, why wasn’t she happy? This unsettling conversation made me realize that unfortunately, the confining pressures of social media’s influence not only affect my friend, but thousands nationwide.

The fabricated need to get the “perfect picture” is an all-too familiar trap. This flawed perception is perpetuated by millions of online users, dependent on double taps, retweets and favorites that serve as validating evidence of approval — as if the attempt to quantify joy was not an endeavor done so in vain. Imagine a world where that wasn’t the case.

Living life for the amusement of others isn’t living. Life is meant to discover, explore, create and love the many things worth loving in this world  — for ourselves, free from the perceived pressure to let everyone around us know. This is not meant to undermine the good that comes from sharing amazing experiences with friends. Rather, I am referring to the societal delusion that posting is necessary for validation.

Imagine experiencing the beautiful sunsets this world has to offer through our own lens, rather than that of a lifeless device. Imagine cherishing the radiant smile of a loved one, sheltered from the preying eyes of Snapchat viewers. Imagine traveling to a magically captivating place, yes, even Disneyland, with the conviction to no longer fall victim to the pressing degradation of social media’s lies. We would then be firm believers that if you didn’t post, it really did happen. Imagine that.

— Rachel Seminario

North Salt Lake, Utah

World languages

Mamuyuth miñay? Ijan man maath’a. Odds are you have no idea what that means. Unfortunately there are thousands of languages, including this one, that are about to die. Of the roughly 7,000 languages that exist in our world today, it’s predicted that about half will become extinct by 2100. However, there are so many cultural and intellectual connections with these languages that they need to be protected and preserved.

As you can probably guess, a lot of these languages aren’t written down. Instead those who speak the language pass down their histories and stories orally. A lot of these stories and songs are in the language of their ancestors because that’s what they spoke and knew. Now that so many of these languages are dying, there’s no way to preserve these oral accounts. These kinds of stories and histories could be lost as these languages die.

Each and every one of those languages has a unique culture attached to it. They can’t be separated, and for good reason. They develop together. As people look to their surroundings and try to express what is happening, they use their language to explain what’s going on. That creative process of expressing themselves is embodied in their language and stays with that culture. When that language dies, the culture and all of its rich history will go with it.

It may be hard for some people to see how dying languages affect them. Let’s go back to the first sentence to see why it does.

That is the Kumeyaay language, a native language of my home town, San Diego, California. The language has as few as 50 native speakers. Growing up, I was able to visit parts of the Kumeyaay land and to see their culture. Though I wasn’t part of the Kumeyaay tribe, I still saw how much it impacted them and their culture. It was sad to see how much of it was lost and how sad it made them. With all that is already lost, we need to work together to preserve languages while we still can.

— Matthew Wallace

San Diego, California

Microwaves in the Cougareat

One day, after my classes were over, I found myself in the Cougareat anxious to eat my chicken and rice. Before I could enjoy it, though, I needed to wait in line for about 10 minutes to access a microwave. It was too long. But as I sat down and began to eat, the line increased to over 25 people. Waiting this long to heat up last night’s alfredo is unacceptable.

We need to increase the number of microwaves in the Cougareat so the lines will be reduced, thus providing a greater experience for students. In college it seems like students have everything to do and no time to do it. I’m usually rushing from one class to another, and I’d rather not spend my time in between waiting in line. If there were more microwaves at the Cougareat I wouldn’t have to worry about that. We can save the lines for Chick-fil-A.

Shorter lines would also mean preserving harmony. Throughout my expansive 23 years on this earth, I’ve witnessed people brought to their wit’s end who cause disruptions or are contentious with each other in line. These kinds of interactions are not beneficial if we want to keep the Spirit with us.

To some, increasing the number of microwaves at BYU might not be seen as a priority. But since the allocation of resources could be easily exercised, it just makes sense. Together we can work to make this happen. And if we do, the next time you enter the Cougareat you too can enjoy the benefits of the reheat.

— Jared Pepper

Rome, Georgia

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