Indignation continues about some atheists wondering about possible connections between the more combative style of atheism and the reason[s] Craig Hicks lost his temper. (I don’t know he lost his temper, but I’m assuming he did since he turned himself in to the police so quickly. That seems incompatible with murdering in cold blood, because why would you do that? If he’d done it in cold blood, planning it in advance, he would have known the next step was turning himself in – so he would have cold-bloodedly decided not to do it at all. Turning himself in implies regret, in other words, which implies bad impulse control, i.e. loss of temper.)
I sort of get the indignation, because atheists are a demonized group anyway (as are Muslims, oh the ironies), and because the mainstream media are all too ready to bash us without our help.
But, at the same time, I have learned way more thoroughly than I ever wanted to, over the past 3.5 years, that movement atheism has lots of room for mean shits, and mean shits flourish there. And then, I like to write waspishly myself, and if you put a heavy hand on my shoulder and demanded that I explain to you where the boundary is between “waspish” and “mean shits” I wouldn’t be able to tell you. Or, I don’t know, I guess I would, but it would take a lot of hemming and hawing and we’d both be bored to death before I succeeded in really explaining.
Maybe the real point is that this isn’t an atheist problem but a mean shit problem – much like the proudly racist “football fans” on the Paris metro, perhaps – and that atheism gives mean shits an exciting new base from which to share their mean shit skills.
The mean shittery is prior, and the atheism is a medium for expressing it, perhaps.
I don’t have a conclusion. It’s not as if I want waspishness to cease; I absolutely don’t. But…there’s Jon Stewart and Kate Smurthwaite and the like on the one hand, and there’s everyone else on the other. There’s talent, and there’s the absence of talent. People who are waspish or mean shits without talent…well they’re just mean shits, aren’t they.