Just back from the annual Christmas party of the Department of Asian and Near Eastern Languages. Good traditional Chinese food . . . with sushi. Prizes were raffled off. As always, I lost. We sang “Jingle Bells” in Chinese. Given my pronunciation and my ignorance of Chinese tones, I was probably really singing something blasphemous or obscene to the limited extent that it wasn’t merely incomprehensible gibberish. (Earlier this week, I helped to entertain three visiting Chinese imams. At various points, we spoke in Arabic, the only language that we had in common.)
But I came home to be amused by the responses, elsewhere, to my post from earlier today about the Interpreter Foundation and the Maxwell Institute and their names and finances. (a) One critic suggests, without any supporting evidence, that I was eager to raise money for the Maxwell Institute so that I could pay myself bonuses and give myself raises. (Which, of course, is not only not true but essentially impossible under BYU’s system of compensation.) (b) Another “distinctly recall[s]” that Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture was originally called Mormon Interpreter when it was first launched. Presumably, in his view, the name has been quietly changed since then. (Which is also false, whatever he may “distinctly recall.”) (c) Yet another anonymous critic claims that I actually hate the name Maxwell Institute and that I refused to use it until his repeated message board rebukes of me compelled me to start using it. Or something like that. (Actually, I knew Elder Maxwell reasonably well, admired him enormously, have known his son since before my mission, have come to know and like several members of his family, and may well have actually been the first to suggest the idea of asking permission to rename our organization, posthumously, after him.)
I’m reasonably sure that, if I were to say that the night outside is dark, I would be accused by these folks of lying and/or of trying, somehow, to profit illegitimately from darkness.