14 April 2014


Things get stuck in my craw sometimes. Like this sentence:

One of the strange, wonderful facts about many atheists is their eccentricity and intellectual omnivorousness.

It was in a basically interesting column in the New York Times, called "Spreading the Word on the Power of Atheism", about an atheist writer named S.T. Joshi.

But let's unpack that sentence. Is it strange to be intellectually omnivorous? Are atheists alone in being eccentric and/or intellectually omnivorous? Are atheists so peculiar, so unusual that they get to be pigeonholed, damning with faint praise? Oh, an atheist, how eccentric. Replace "atheist" in that sentence with Jew, or Mormon, or Unitarian Universalist. Or, let's get away from religion. Replace "atheist" with Angolan or Bulgarian or Canadian or Dominican. Oh how cute, another eccentric Bulgarian.

I know. The offending sentence is tempered by that pesky "one of the" and the punch-pulling "many". But still. Let's not tar all of the atheists with the same strange and wonderful brush.

Some of us are not eccentric.


She Curmudgeon said...

Very true. And some of us Christians are hippie liberal socialist Quakers with equally omnivorous curiosity. The need to narrow in journalism (and everything elsee) never ceases to disappoint.

S said...

Umm. You really ARE my twin.

Anonymous said...

I don't really love " strange, wonderful" either -- what are we, naked mole rats? Paddington bear?

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

I am decidedly un-eccentric.