I’ve mostly avoided getting involved on the Atheism+ debate, despite having strong opinions about it. I really thought it was a flash in the pan vanity project that would soon join its historical brethern the Betamax and the DeLorean in the scrapheap of noble but ultimately bad ideas, so I felt no real need to write about it.
But today I finally came across someone who hits the nail in the head about why I think it’s unnecessary crap. SoggyMog lays out most of my objections beautifully:
…yes it’s a bit grim to unexpectedly see someone masturbating on your walk to work – and of course what the homeless man was doing was illegal. On the other hand, I couldn’t work out why McCreight seemed to have taken it as such a personal attack on her rights, as in her own words all that had happened was that she’d seen him masturbating while she was “walking by”.
I totally acknowledge that had I been in McCreight’s place there probably WOULD have been a moment of “ew, gross” when I saw this homeless man and registered what he was doing. I’d also probably have got the hell out of there in a hurry. But I’d like to think of myself that once the initial shock had subsided I’d have felt at least a “little “concern for this man, for his safety and well-being. If I witnessed a homeless person shrieking in conversation with himself at the top of his voice, or engaging in self-harm, or doing anything else that most mentally-healthy people do not do in public, I would have felt uncomfortable and probably scared… but I would also have felt compassion. Why does this not apply because the particular eccentric behaviour this man was displaying happened to be sexual in nature?
Then I saw this tweet:
“Heaven forbid I want to walk to work without someone watching me as they masturbate without my consent”
…and suddenly I got it. The reason McCreight expressed no sympathy or concern for the homeless man is that, in her world, “everything anyone does within the scope of her perception is about her”.
This has been one of my problems with the entire Elevatorgate/Atheism+ boongogle: it’s so selfish. From the first poor fool who assumed a pretty standard “No Thanks” to his clumsy attempts to mate was an abject rejection of all he was, is, and will be in this universe to the gals complaining that satirical jewelry was “harassment”, this entire boondoggle has been all about the “ME, MYSELF AND I!”
This is the inevitable raction of those suffering from what I like to call “Purple Participation Ribbon Syndrome”. We’ve bred an entire generation (perhaps even a couple of them) of overindulged, spoiled narcissists who think the entire world is only relevant as it pertains to them personally.
These people were raised with the idea that we’re all special; terrific in every way and deserving of credit for and praise for every feat ever attempted. They get good grades simply for trying really hard, toys as rewards for doing chores, trophies for coming to half of scheduled practices. They’ve been showered with accolades for every little thing they’ve ever done and it’s warped their minds so they can only see the world in terms of “What’s in it for me?”
They see every event, statement, idea, or activity through their own personal lens, constantly seeking the answer to the only question that’s relevant: “How does this effect me, and if it doesn’t, how can I make it effect me?” Worse yet, current definitions for words are wholly inadequate to describe their personal wonderfulness, so they make up new words to delineate themselves from the masses, which leads to the seemingly obsessive need to force everyone else to acknowledge their “specialness” by insisting we all refer to them by these new definitions. It’s maddening.
I have no objections to the stated goals if A+, I support all of them. But I do understand why folks find the execution icky, mostly because the attitudes of the organizers are icky. This is just one of my problems with A+, stay tuned for part two.