27.) Self Identified Atheists
I have beaten this to death (well, my arguments against many of the mainstream arguments), but Ill write about it again. Because it is a continuing trend.
I will first state that I am not painting ALL Atheists in with the same brush here. Not all self identified atheists behave in a way that is, annoying and (one could argue, based on the words definition!) religious. But many in the community do. So here we are.
Not all openly atheistic people are equal. Many live their lives as openly atheistic (they will not deny it), and they are activistic to various degrees, but they also do not let the word entirely dictate their personality (#1 an Atheist, then everything else). They do not wear the creed like a banner (usually on a t-shirt).
People can behave in any way they want. Though I CRITICIZE, as always, that is all it is. You can do whatever you please. But that does not make it any less silly from my perspective. And it certainly makes the argument of many (“Atheism is NOT a religion!”) harder and harder to take seriously.
No, Atheism as a religion has NOTHING to do with the first 2 aspects of the definition of the word (even a monkey can figure that out, so don’t even bother mentioning it). But it CAN be viewed as the 3ed.
Bitch about that part of the definition being so vague as to encompass almost anyone with a hobby (as religious) all you want, it IS a correct usage of the word, as defined.
Its amusing that there is so much opposition to this, being that the atheistic crowd are typically sticklers to holding people to definitions of words. Certainly so when it comes to calling out self admitted agnostics, or anyone that disbelieves but does not use the Atheist label.
But I must admit that I to, was once a part of the problem (though I did not see it at the time). I used to use the term as a bit of a badge with pride. In fact I was recently horrified when I re-read my about me page and realized that the first worlds written were “I am an Agnostic Atheist”.
But I should elaborate further. Or risk painting all with a far to generalized brush.
I used to embrace the term Atheist back in the day, for the better part of a decade. The first half of that time I kept these beliefs largely out of view (I know it is a lack of belief. Shut up). It was the 2ed half of that time that seen me become more digitally activistic, and openly displaying of my atheistic status.
At the time, though I accepted any secular stance as being on the right side ( 1.) a friend early on stopped me from painting all of the secular community with 1 brush, 2.) we are all in it for the same reasons), I seen no issue with self describing as Atheist. This was how I viewed the world, and people come to their own conclusions. Maybe they will eventually end up as Atheists with Agnostic as a phase in the journey, maybe they won’t. I don’t give a fuck either way (as long as they don’t think a talking snake is real).
And really, I still don’t have an issue with people flying the Atheist flag, or wearing the Atheist t-shirts. I had a lot of respect for the secular community then (for what it stood for), and I have a strong respect for it now (which is why I spend so much time trying to make it better, with the tools I have available).
However, I DO have a problem with many modern Atheists and their growing intolerance and bigotry towards any viewpoint besides their own. I do not mean towards the theists, I mean towards others in the secular community.
Like a cancer, this bigotry has spread (and can be seen) right from the bottom hordes of chattering atheists online, to many of the top voices in the movement. Even Bill Maher (who previously called out this silly secular/liberal infighting) reversed that stance by stating that Agnostics and Atheists were the same thing.
And then there is American Atheists, one of the biggest Atheist organizations in the US (if not the biggest). Its current president regularly labels all secularists Atheists.
This pisses me off. Because this infectious and dogmatic way of thinking is not just unhelpful, it is anti-progressive. Contrary to bringing the secular community together, it only tears us apart. Though atheism is but a simple definition and philosophy, the community at large has managed to turn this simple philosophy into a dogmatist religion. One with some members with levels of intolerance that could give the worst theists a run for their money.
Though in the past Jaclyn has been a part of the problem (putting out condescending and often ad hom ridden clarification videos as to why every agnostic is an atheist. Like most every other Youtube atheist of note), I have to commend her for stepping down and actually starting a conversation with this video. Though we may remain on differing sides, this is what I like to see.
However, I disagree when it comes to her argument of us needing to rally around the word Atheist.
Indeed, I agree that the word (in the context of the United States, and likely other places) is not positive. I agree that the community needs to do what it can to shed this falsely satanic image. But this does not mean that it should be the center of attention, the pillar of the godless platform.
We already have a word for our community. Secular (the secular community!).
It is far more beneficial for us all to be accepting of our differences and all on the same page, than it is for us to be fractured and fragmented and all going in different directions. Otherwise known as, behaving like the sects of most every mono-theistic religion that modern day atheists have left behind.
I dislike the fact that every time I hear the word Atheist in any context, I cringe.
I cringe, because instead of bringing to mind positive thoughts of progressive activism and a better world, the word instead brings to mind thoughts of mindless ideological bigoted arguments and intolerance of the worst kind. Intolerance based on reason.
As I have said before, how can one even BEGIN to fix the problems of religion when we can not even come to a consensus within the secular community?
28.) Terrible Roll Models
Every generation complains about the next generations popular cultural Role Models. Its a fact of life, and I think, just another sign that I am getting further and further from my youth. I feel more and more like Stan Marsh in the South Park episode You’re Getting Old, or like Kyle (and later Stan) in last years Christmas Special #Happy Holograms.
Its amazing how many moments lately that end in “That reminds me of this South Park episode!”. To think that just a few years ago it took a friend MONTHS to convince me to watch an episode. Since I (like my dad) thought the show was stupid and ridiculous. Cynical asshole then, cynical asshole now!
But moving on, we have been in an uproar about what them damned kids were into, for as long as there were parents in the first world.
From the days of swing. To Elvis swinging his hips like a madman, censored on tv. To the Beatles, with their freakishly long hair and their boy band style. To the age of rock, metal, grunge and much more in between.
And there is Marilyn Manson, who had a fairly short career prime, but used that time enormously well.
I have missed a whole lot, I acknowledge. Popular culture has never been my strong point. But you get the point (the old have always been at odds with the young).
Today, there is an interesting twist to this phenomenon however, brought on by the internet (particularly sites like youtube) in terms of who is becoming the new idols of upcoming generations.
In the not to distant past, much of popular culture was largely dictated by the corporate media. There was no internet-like technology available for sharing of different materials, so most of what was consumed (short of at the local and possibly regional levels) was filtered though the corporate lens. TV and magazines were the primary outlets that consumers paid attention to, so everything has to fit that mold. Which made it difficult for many with styles that were outside of this narrow gap, to get airplay. Not IMPOSSIBLE, but difficult.
The internet changed this.
Though Napster and the MP3 helped revolutionize the way that music (and all other content) was delivered, it did little to spread up and comers (being that users already know what they were looking for, and the platform was not all that friendly to browsing). What did change the paradigm however, was Youtube and social media.
Now not only was it possible to view and search out content with ease, it was also possible to share this content easily with countless people. The task no longer required you to make many tapes or tell 15 different people to listen to this band, you could tell them all with the click of a button.
But not only did Youtube make searching out and viewing videos easy, it also opened up a platform for everyday users to share their very own content. Which, when combined with the sharing power of social media, served as a perfect platform for up and coming artists (no matter what their style!) to get inexpensive exposure. And since youtube has a monetization feature (you get a portion of the ad revenues of the video), you can even make a little money in the meantime.
Though you can debate the quality of music that this has helped to propel forward (Gangnum Style, The Harlem Shake . . . . *shudders*), it is good for music in general. Even if the good stuff is continually buried by the easily salable garbage, those who desire it, can easily get it. With youtube, even my best friend residing in the secluded mountains of central British Columbia, can access (and share his own) amateur metal creations.
But Youtube has not just revolutionized the way in which music is shared and consumed. It has also served as a platform for any person to share (and even monetize!) their commentary (known in that world as Vlogging). From ranters to Atheists, feminists (and anyone in between), it is likely on the site (enmass). There is something for everyone.
So popular is the platform in its ability of micro-targeting individuals based on their inherent natures and preferences, that some of its biggest names are starting to be in direct competition with traditional celebrities in some circles (mainly the younger generations).
And even if the names in question do not grow as large as typical celebrities due to their targeted genres (such as those in the Atheist community), they are no less important than any of their more famous peers. In fact (depending on how interactive the more famous individuals choose to be), these smaller celebrities often serve as even more important roll models, just in their interaction with their fans.
Many of these smaller celebrities (if they can even be called that . . . . you decide) deal in various important issues (at least to them, and anyone watching them). Being that they focus on these issues, many have a profound impact on peoples lives. Which is good (if a youtube Atheist helps someone in the world shed the chains of faith, than good for them. Hopefully they will not become an Atheist fanatic of the first entry, but one thing at a time).
However, in observing some of the questions that are asked of these people, I worry that this interaction is making many put these individuals on to high a pedestal.
Though these people may be well versed in one topic (such as all things Atheist, and how to structure arguments against theists), that is often it. Though I do not fault any of these individuals for often having little more then a 12th grade education, one has to take it into consideration. Many of these people are not much more educated than me. So its a bit bothersome to see some (fanboys, as they are known in the youtube community) looking up to them as overtly knowledgeable.
Many (if not all) make certain their limitations. But its still a bit bothersome. Though these individuals are indeed better role models than most past cultural entities (like your Paris Hilton’s, or even your Justin Bieber’s) in that they do more than just glamorize consumption, they may not be the most informed of that given topic. They are just the most popular, as decided by a majority of people. This is usually based on external factors like ones outward personality, or even their looks. Deciding based on either of these factors (or any outside of argument) is not necessarily a BAD thing (I do not fault someone for holding traits that make them more fitted to an activity than others). It just illustrates a potential problem with ideological leaders of popularity. You do not need a cogent and well thought argument, to make it sound good.
In fact, one of my biggest pet peeves with much of the Atheist community, is in its simplicity. I got bored of many of the groups I was a part of when all the the conversations never went much further then “yay science!” and, debate with intellectual inferiors. Almost any atheist is brilliant in comparison to your average Ken Ham or Kent Hovind, but a lot of times, that is not saying much. And it shows when these people are questioned about aspects of their own belief structure. Those with inflated intellectual egos and assumed positivity in their arguments see no need to give any other view credence. And so you get, the typical condescending atheist retort.
But these atheists have done me a bit of good. Being they tend to also be grammar nazi’s of the highest caliber, they have helped me correct many of my failings in terms of my native English. My there/their’s. My then/than’s.
Their antics are good for something.
29.) Fuck Simple Plan
I had stingray music’s Rock channel on in the background as I was working on the entry above, and they played a Simple Plan song. I forget which, but it hardly matters. They all sound the same (Waaa! Waa! Life sucks! I am depressed and I hate myself! Life as a middle class girl is SO hard!).
I hated Simple Plan back when they were relevant, and what do ya know . . . I STILL hate them!
And now, the Beatles are playing.
FUCK the Beatles to! They are the One Direction of the 70s (credit to Adam Buckley of A Dose Of Buckley (Youtube) for that reference).
You mad bro?
30.) Bring Me To Life (Evanescence)
I do not hate the song (overall, I enjoy much of their catalog).
However, I hate the version with the male singers throwing in random words. Ever since they debuted it on the radio sometime in 2004, I fucking HATED it!
And since, have NEVER been able to find a version of the song WITHOUT those asshole’s corrupting it.
One of my oldest pet peeves.
31.) JG Wentworth’s Infectous Commercial
If the goal of this commercial was to make it unforgettable, than it is successful. Sometimes, during some mundane daily task, into my head will pop “I have an annuity and I need cash NOOOOOW!”.
You give Bryan Adams a run for his money in terms of annoyance.