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← Richard Dawkins is more than a 'militant atheist': he's a magnificent writer who changed my life

Muetze's Avatar Jump to comment 7 by Muetze

Here's my guess about this whole "Dawkins is a militant butthole" issue: could it be a cultural thing?

I have noticed that Richard never seems out of place in English (or Australian for that matter) talk shows, and almost every writer or pulblic intellectual I know who similarly enjoys "robustly humorous broadsides" is also British. Just contrast this healthily uninhibited debate culture with the awkward spectatle that was Richard's appearance on Johannes B. Kerner in German TV a couple of years ago, or the frequent "strident, etc." introductions he gets on US television.

I am familiar with many social circles where it is just completely out of the question to directly address issues that are often a matter of personal conviction. It is easy, then, to see the disconnect between Dawkins' own perception of his public persona and that of many accomodationists around the world: For many people religion is a matter that just isn't discussed, and Dawkins is quite literally breaking the spell. I can only really speak about a German perspective, but I was somewhat bewildered (although not really surprised) when Richard quoted quite vicious restaurant reviews and the like in his TGD paperback foreword. I can confidently tell you that I have never read the like in German language outside of YouTube comments.

In a nutshell: People outside the Commonwealth, or from somewhat isolated upper-middle class upbringings are not used to either Richard's method nor his vocabularly and hence misinterpret both. What do you think, am I on to something?

Wed, 24 Mar 2010 22:00:00 UTC | #451938