Blasphemy Day sees launch of new Irish Atheist campaign

Atheist Ireland have today launched a fresh campaign for a secular Irish constitution. This new aim complements the existing campaign to repeal the Irish Blasphemy law.

The campaign has one common aim that transcends any other differences we may have: that all Irish citizens, of all beliefs and none, can live together in equality, with the State being neutral on matters of religion.

They’d appriciate it if you sent them a message of support.

Here’s the MWW contribution to Blasphemy Day International. A Motoon-headed Shiva in a Yahweh-dissing t-shirt committing the “unforgivable sin” of blaspheming the Holy Spirit (Mark 3:29).

Beat that!

8 Responses to “Blasphemy Day sees launch of new Irish Atheist campaign”

  1. barriejohn says:

    MHMMD is a CNT.

    Let’s see what they make of that!

    • Sexism, that’s what they make of that.

      The worst insult a man can come up with – that guy is a FEMALE GENITALIA!!!!!! Omigod!!!!!!

      • Monitor says:

        I don’t think the phrase “Mohammed is a cunt” is sexist in British English.

        In American English, “cunt” is mainly used as a derogatory term for a woman, which is obviously and grossly misogynistic in that it reduces her to a sexual part. If an American wrote “Mohammed is a cunt,” that would be sexist, because he would be calling Mohammed a woman as an insult.

        But the word is not used that way in the UK. In the British idiom, it is just another genito-rectal epithet, along with twat, prick, knob, dick, arse and arsehole – the sex of the owner of these parts is entirely irrelevant (although the target is usually a man), and each word has its own particular connotation.

        In the British idiom, “cunt” has connotations of cruelty and ruthlessness; the primary definition of “twat” (primary because people don’t learn the genital definition until they are much older) is a particular kind of idiot – often related to embarrassing social ineptitude (it is also a verb meaning “to hit very hard,” as in “Just twat it, that might work”); “prick” has connotations of selfishness, whereas a “knob” is just an idiot; an “arse” is also an idiot, but an “arsehole” is much more of a bastard. There is also “scrote” (short for scrotum), which refers to a certain type of ill-educated youth who indulges in petty crime and anti-social behaviour.

        To British ears, calls to remove “cunt” and “twat” from the canon of genito-rectal epithets sound like a plea for special dispensation, rather than equal treatment. After all, the words are used by both men and women, chauvinists and feminists, across the spectrum of politics and class.

        Consider the French word “con” meaning “idiot”. It is in common and general usage, even by children. But its users are probably only dimly aware that it actually means “cunt.” Wouldn’t it be absurd for an English speaker to go on to French forums berating them for being sexist? I think the same principle applies here. The US and the UK really are two nations separated by a common language.

        That is not to say that the strong emotional reaction that an American woman experiences when seeing “cunt” or “twat” in print should be disregarded. Quite the opposite. The internet is an international medium, and although MWW is primarily aimed at a British readership, I have learned to be wary of using the British idiom too freely. Not only do I risk looking like an arsehole, but it also smacks of parochialism to blythely ignore how other nations use language.

        By that same token, I think Americans could cut British English speakers a bit of slack. Yes, you can legitimately accuse people of rudeness and insensitivity for mugging you with such a heavily loaded word. But, although it is true that it is sexism which fuels your indignation, it isn’t necessarily true that the writer is being sexist.

        • Well, first of all, you seem to be assuming that barriejohn is British or at least using British idiom. But I didn’t assume that, and I’m not sure why anyone would assume that. (Because he used it to refer to a male? I’m not sure that’s really a reliable marker!)

          Then, it’s not quite right that ‘cunt’ in American English ‘is obviously and grossly misogynistic in that it reduces her to a sexual part,’ because twat and pussy also do that, and both are obviously and grossly misogynistic for the same reason BUT not as much so as ‘cunt.’ Not nearly. ‘Cunt’ has a whole extra level of almost violence to it – it triggers fear as well as outrage.

          I know, about ‘con’ – I’ve been puzzled about how to understand that for literally decades. I accept that it’s a mild word – but I can’t like it.

          I’m willing to cut people some slack…and I wasn’t saying barriejohn was sexist, I was saying the retort was sexist. I knew that it was at least possible that he was British – but I’m not convinced that it puts a terrible strain on British men to be informed that to some people ‘cunt’ is not just a generic word for badperson.

          Here’s an interesting datum for you. I had a huge discussion about this at Butterflies and Wheels last April, during which I asked the Women’s Studies mailing list for thoughts on the subject, and got a lot of replies. Among them was one from Katha Pollitt (columnist for The Nation of a famously up front unapologetic unsentimental type); she said she simply could not believe that people in the UK thought ‘cunt’ was not sexist. She’s married to a British guy – Steven Lukes, the LSE sociologist – so it’s not as if she has no native informants.

          I think there’s, I don’t know, a funny kind of pseudo-innocence, or denial, or something, about this. Some kind of naughty boy thing. (If there weren’t – would barriejohn have spelled it CNT? Why be coy if it’s just a generic guy-insult?)

          I think there’s an element of having it both ways in this – of using a deliberately taboo word while pretending it’s not really all that taboo. But ‘cunt’ isn’t like ‘bloody’ – the taboo is not all that irrational or mysterious.

        • P.S. That all sounds pissier than I meant it to – I meant to be just discussy, not pissy.

          Anyway, apologies for pouncing on the C word.

          • Monitor says:

            Ophelia, you needn’t apologise!

            As the administrator of a couple of atheistic blogs, I already know barriejohn – and I can see his email address – so I have pretty good reasons for believing he’s British. You had no reason to assume that, of course. And I think his using the abbreviated CNT was echoing my “YHWH is a WNKR” joke in the blasphemy picture.

            I agree that it doesn’t put a terrible strain on British men to be told that to some people ‘cunt’ is not just a generic word for bad person. In fact, what I am advocating is a wider understanding of this fact (the ‘not just a generic word’ fact, not the ‘terrible strain’ one).

            The point I was trying to make was that what I think has been missing from this discussion is a sufficient acknowledgement and analysis of the very real difference between American and British usage. It is not only that ‘cunt’ is rarer and stronger in the US. In British English, it is a metaphor (as are all the genito-rectal epithets). In American English, it is a synecdoche. Big difference.

            And this makes a big difference to the intended meaning of the user, depending on the idiom they are employing. It also makes a big difference to how the meaning is perceived, depending on what side of the Atlantic the listener/reader comes from.

            I think people on both sides need to be more aware of this. On the British side, such an awareness can help ease communication and avoid causing unnecessary, distracting offence. On the American side, awareness might help take the edge off the offence felt when an ignorant Brit neglects to temper his or her language to suit their audience.

            Basically, I’m just trying to do my bit for transatlantic harmony!

          • Yes…I could just train myself to hear the word that way (as well as the way I hear it in the US). Seven types of ambiguity kind of thing.

            It’s funny, I just saw part of a French tv or film ‘Maigret’ a couple of days ago, including a bit where a fresh-faced teenage girl tells Maigret some guy is a ‘con’.

  2. YHWH is a WNKR… Do you think they actually make t-shirts that say that because if they do, I would buy one.