Sound and Fury

Signifying nothing

Mr. Dawkins making parallels between gays and atheists…

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First was this paragraph from the Guardian;

A triumph of consciousness-raising has been the homosexual hijacking of the word “gay”. I used to mourn the loss of gay in (what I still think of as) its true sense. But on the bright side (wait for it) gay has inspired a new imitator, which is the climax of this article. Gay is succinct, uplifting, positive: an “up” word, where homosexual is a down word, and queer, faggot and pooftah are insults. Those of us who subscribe to no religion; those of us whose view of the universe is natural rather than supernatural; those of us who rejoice in the real and scorn the false comfort of the unreal, we need a word of our own, a word like “gay”. You can say “I am an atheist” but at best it sounds stuffy (like “I am a homosexual”) and at worst it inflames prejudice (like “I am a homosexual”).

In the article Dawkins is latching on to the idea of the Brights as a nice way of saying atheist in much the same way homosexuals ‘hijacked’ the word gay.*

Now the grand high priest of atheism is telling Atheists to come out of the closet. As if the morons at Westboro baptist church and their ilk needed more ammunition to continue conflating their two prime enemies, gays and atheists… What is Dawkins trying to do? Paint atheists as some kind of persecuted minority? I’m pretty sure that the injustices heaped upon atheists do not amount to much when compared with… well any other grouping of individuals; Jews, Women, Gays… Yes in some places apostasy is punishable by death and that is a terrible terrible thing, but the extent of the persecution and the number of instances is surely much much less severe than the suffering caused by Apartheid or anti-gay sentiment.

All in all this is a very silly move and were I to belong to any minority that had been persecuted I would probably be offended by it. As it happens I am a relatively well-off white Brit. So I am technically sort of half Northern Irish Catholic but I don’t identify with that, so it’s hard to feel offended in any specific sense.

* Dawkins uses the word ‘hijacked’ in his article, linked above. So don’t take issue with my using it. Or ‘hijacking’ it, if you will…


Written by Seamus

November 19, 2007 at 4:57 pm

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