Remember way back in the distant past, say around 2005, 2008, or thereabouts, when we could look at atheism with some pride and hope for the future? And then all the assbutts started waggling their sexism and racism and announcing that atheism just meant you didn’t believe in god, nothing more, and they didn’t have to be better human beings because it all meant nothing anyway? If you didn’t, Jamie Kilstein is going to rub our noses in it.
When my stepson was about four or five years old, he knew there were such things as bad words, but he didn’t actually know any yet. Thus, when he got angry and wanted to express it as an insult, he was forced to make up his own versions. “Fratch” and “Hoady” were my two favorites. Poor kid; it must have been doubly enraging to hurl the meanest word you could think of, only to watch the adults collapse in laughter as a result.
And from there we segue into the painfully pathetic spectacle of a middle-aged man, fearful of running afoul of the neighborhood language-watch in his special-needs community, trying to insult people by calling them “assbutts”. Oh, yeah? Well, boingfwip to you, Mr. Poopybritches!
Interesting as well to see the continued evolution of a zealous ideologue. What do you think the Peezus of the distant past would have thought of some moron who tried to equate atheism with nihilism just because atheists wouldn’t sign on to his vision of moral improvement?
Anyway, yes, I do remember the good old days when I foolishly thought being an atheist was something to be proud of. New Atheism was a genuine media/pop culture phenomenon, and for those of us who were used to being the only heretics in our real-life environment, it was exciting to find so many others making themselves visible online. But there was this one guy who wanted so, so badly to be included among the “Horsemen” of New Atheism. Riding the wave of semi-fame that came with his infamous desecration of a sacred cracker, he even got to hang out with Richard Dawkins and attend movie premieres with him.
But that book he mentioned? The one he was taking a year’s sabbatical to work on, back in 2009? It finally fell stillborn from the press in 2013, and it was mostly just a copied-and-pasted selection of his old blog posts. Apparently whatever book he had originally envisioned turned out to be beyond his abilities, and this was his publisher’s attempt to at least salvage something from the deal. Perhaps embittered by his near-miss with the big time, he and some other malcontents decided that they could engineer their own atheist media/pop culture phenomenon, and to hell with all those big-name cool kids. Yes, they decided that what New Atheism was lacking was a big ol’ heaping helping of the New Left, with its stellar track record of producing a lot of sound and fury signifying nothing. It could be that they read that Hitchens interview in the Progressive, but mistakenly thought his description of a meeting centered on the feelings of obese Cherokee lesbians was an ideal, not a dystopian nightmare. At any rate, Atheism+ turned out to be an even more incompetently-realized laughingstock of a project than Peezy’s coloring book, with the forums currently resembling a ghost town, after the founding members scared off all the sane people before flouncing/banning each other over the usual doctrinal disputes that radical groups are so reliably prone to. The only thing this revolution of the misfit toys managed to accomplish was to convince most neutral observers that religious believers hardly had a monopoly on irrational dogmatism, and to convince a lot of atheists that moderate Christians weren’t so bad after all.
What I wish for most is that someday atheism can mean something positive again.
Someday it might, Peez. Someday when your neurotic freakshow finishes cannibalizing itself and we all do our best to forget it ever existed…