Everything was going great until you showed up. You see me across the crowded room, make your way over, and start talking at me. And you don’t stop.
You are a Democrat, an outspoken atheist, and a foodie. You like to say “Science!” in a weird, self-congratulatory way. You wear jeans during the day, and fancy jeans at night. You listen to music featuring wispy lady vocals and electronic bloop-bloops.
You really like coffee, except for Starbucks, which is the worst. No wait—Coke is the worst! Unless it’s Mexican Coke, in which case it’s the best.
Pixar. Kitty cats. Uniqlo. Bourbon. Steel-cut oats. Comic books. Obama. Fancy burgers.
You listen to the same five podcasts and read the same seven blogs as all your pals. You stay up late on Twitter making hashtagged jokes about the event that everyone has decided will be the event about which everyone jokes today. You love to send withering @ messages to people like Rush Limbaugh—of course, those notes are not meant for their ostensible recipients, but for your friends, who will chuckle and retweet your savage wit.
You are boring. So, so boring.
Don’t take it too hard. We’re all boring. At best, we’re recovering bores. Each day offers a hundred ways for us to bore the crap out of the folks with whom we live, work, and drink. And on the internet, you’re able to bore thousands of people at once.
From the threads of /r/atheism on Reddit, argument given to a Christian trying to say God is not the issue, it’s organized religion. This is how atheists are treated in America. I myself have never been treated this way for my lack of belief, but I know it’s waiting for me. (via bulletproofcupid)
When I saw your picture the other day, I found it surprisingly alarming, I think both because it’s a book (any book) being destroyed on the basis of someone’s objection to its content
I’d stop you there. Not just content, context. I’m destroying a book because it’s infringing on my personal consumer space. (Sounds lame, but I can’t think of a better phrase.)
and because it’s widely considered a sacred text. I understand that it’s not sacred to you, of course, but as we saw when Terry Jones recently tried to make “International Burn a Koran Day” happen, the destruction of any such work generally stirs up a lot of emotion for what are surely obvious reasons.
I reject that equivalence. Terry Jones wants to burn Korans out of existence. I just want them out of my hotel room. I don’t even want them out of all hotel rooms—just mine. If I could choose “non-bible” along with “non-smoking” I’d have no quarrel.
It’s the difference between exterminating the mice from your bedroom and trying to exterminate all mice from the Earth’s ecosystem. (I’m not even sure that analogy is fair to mice.)
I’m not attempting to convince you to change your strategy, you understand, just asking you to consider what your gesture looks like and feels like from a different perspective.
I’ve considered it. I understand it’s inflammatory. That’s why I do it. It’s why I’ve posted it on the Internet. I wonder if you understand the inflammation cuts both ways.
A plea for empathy asks me to consider their insertion of dogma into my space as a neutral act, while my rejection “stirs up a lot of emotion.”
Their gesture, their book, in my room, is offensive to me as a non-believer. I want them to stop doing it. When that respect is returned, I’ll stop watering the Adventures of Jewish Zombie Wizard.
I understand your greater point and appreciate your frustration with having someone else’s religion thrust upon you in that manner. I hope you know that my question was sincere. Thank you for explaining.
Look, I get it. We’re Americans. Anytime people start destroying books, the red warning lights start blinking. It smells like the spirit of tolerance is burning. But the Nazis torched books because they wanted to make those books disappear. I’m throwing out the junk mail. Want me to stop throwing out junk mail? Stop mailing it to me. Stop pairing my purchase with your fruitcake.
There are many, many books with objectionable content. I don’t really care about them until they’re thrust into my personal sphere. If the fortune cookie bothers me, I can stop getting Chinese takeout, you dig?
And honestly, I don’t feel like you gave my religious or political counterexamples enough weight. Let’s use sexism:
Imagine placing a copy of Hustler in your rental car, because that’s just what they do with all rental cars, and what’s the big deal? Imagine you couldn’t rent transportation in America without the attendant porn.
Would you find the destruction of said porn “surprisingly alarming”? I don’t think you would. And I don’t think you’d be content with mere disposal. I think you’d be marshaling all sorts of arguments in protest. And if someone asked you to consider how your gesture looks to the porn-purveyor, I think you might start throwing heat.