Thursday, October 25, 2007

I Don' Need No Stinkin' Badges

It seems as if every month or so, there's a new atheism symbol. The oldest one I've seen, an "A" inside an atom, looks like an advertising tie-in for a 1940s sci-fi radio serial.

Don't forget kids: If you buy a box of Sugar Jets you can get the exact same decal that Captain Atomic and his Asteroid-Jumpers wear! Ask your mom to iron it onto YOUR shirt today.
The bright red Dawk-A would be great if we wanted people to think we were selling apples.

The newest creation, from Atheist Alliance International, is equally ridiculous. Lots of vjack's commenters were reminded of a stray badge from a Star Trek uniform. Others saw a branding iron, or an @ sign.
Stranger: At what?
Atheist: At what, what?
Stranger: I like your at pin. I was asking: at what?
Atheist: That's not an at sign.
Stranger: Is it a branding iron? Are you here in town for some kind of cowboy convention?
Atheist: No. It's an A. For atheist.
Stranger: At atheist?
Atheist: No, just plain atheist.
Stranger: You're gonna brand your cattle as atheists?
Atheist: No. It's what I am. I'm an atheist.
Stranger: Well why didn't you just say so. Sheesh. You people are so secretive.
Now, I don't see why we need a symbol. I'm perfectly capable of using my mouth to tell anyone who asks that I'm an atheist. I'll bet most of my readers are, too. I also don't think we need a secret handshake, a code knock, or a group whistle.

And c'mon, be truthful. If you're the kind of shrinking violet that needs to hide behind a symbol, are you going to be that comfortable answering strangers when they ask you what it means?

But none of my opposition to the symbol silliness stopped me from designing one of my own. I like it because no one seeing it will have any doubts: It says ATHEIST, f'cryinoutloud.

Unfortunately, not being particularly gifted in the artsy way, I'm sorry to say that the image in the center of what was supposed to be a circle is not actually in the center of not actually a circle. And for some mysterious reason, my reds don't match. Also, you might notice that my lines are slightly wobbly.

But my nonbelief is as steady as it ever was. Symbol or not.


Spanish Inquisitor said...

Wait!. I know what that is!

"No Old Farts!"


"No Aged Geezers!"

I'm close, right?

The Exterminator said...

Actually, it's "No Old Farts Who Think They're God!"

So Dick Cheney is definitely taboo.

tina FCD said...

Can I use it?

PhillyChief said...

Thank you for bringing that other design to my attention. I've posted a critical response over there of the design and execution of the design. I won't do the same for your design, because I like you and I should encourage you to explore your use of and further creation of graphics. ;)

I personally don't like the idea of a symbol, and considering the overall individualistic nature of Atheists, I can't imagine how everyone could agree on just one symbol anyway. What you'd have, at best, is a putrid page of variations of the symbol like on that page where that new symbol originated from where one person thinks drop shadows are better, and another gets the bright idea to click the filter that makes it look like it's carved into a crappy wood or marble square, or another who's watched too many episodes of "The Nanny" thinks it should have a leopard pattern and perhaps set against hot pink or hey, let's make it appeal to the kids and make it hip hoppy or gansta by making it look spray painted on a brick wall. Fuck, I'm annoyed by that page of "designs".

DaVinci said...

I can't agree with Atheist, let alone a symbol for it. I prefer the bold S in the diamond for SKEPTIC, however finding a phonebooth these days is not easy.

John Evo said...

I kind of like your symbol. I'm with Tina... can I use it?

For a guy who hates symbols you sure do WRITE about them (and now create one)!

I've said it before but since you bring it back again - we don't NEED a symbol. If you want to post one or wear one, I'm fine with it. We absolutely should make our top priority talking and writing about it and getting our more timid brothers and sisters doing likewise. If the symbol (or group of symbols) makes them feel better about standing up and saying "I live a life free of gods", then I think it's a good thing. I don't see the downside, as long as no one is marginalized for NOT doing it.

The Exterminator said...

John-Evo (and anyone else who wants to use this symbol):

Of course feel free to use the symbol. I'd appreciate some credit for it, perhaps with a link back to this post. But that's not obligatory. (How could I enforce it, even if it were?)

By the way, I don't think Michelangelo cares whether or not he gets a shout-out.

Mojoey said...

Symbols have always intrigued me. For awhile I felt that without a symbol, atheist could not be recognized like Christians. Then I realized I did not want to be thought of like Christians. In fact, the whole symbolic organized religious thing is what I abhor. We are not a group; we are a collection of individuals flipping the bird at groups.

Having said that, can I use your no-blowhards symbol?

The Exterminator said...

Well, now that you've dubbed the symbol with an appropriate name, of course you can use it.

Lynet said...

I confess my allegiance will always be with the pansy for a freethought symbol. Bit girly, perhaps, but for me that's half the fun -- being girly and, well, rational at the same time.

However, that symbol already has an established historical meaning, so I don't need to ask anyone else to adopt it to be able to have fun with it myself :-)

The Exterminator said...

Now if only you could breed a pansy that spelled out the word "atheist."

Anonymous said...

and the AAI symbol looks remarkably like Chris Angel Mindfreak's symbol. Almost a mirror image!

Paul said...

I have the impression that atheists sometimes feel threatened by religion. While I understand disbelief, I don't understand the emotional turmoil often involved.

Same with fundamentalists, who strike me as often threatened/agitated over atheism.

I say let's all worry about global warming...

John Evo said...

Paul said, "I have the impression that atheists sometimes feel threatened by religion."

Well, yeah, with all the political representation we have in American Politics, it's kind of silly of us to feel threatened by religion. What do we think they are going to do, take evolution out of school and insert prayer? Take away abortion rights? Make life miserable for homosexuals? We all need to get a grip.

By the way, I bet you 90% of highly religious people disagree with you and me about global warming.

The Exterminator said...

I actually checked out Paul's blog, thinking I might have some non-heavenly light to shine for him and his readers. Then, I saw this in the comments (not written by Paul, I take pains to note):

Sometimes I feel that certain athiests refuse to believe in God because they might look "stupid" for believing in something they can not see!

Well, as I've said dozens of times, why bother answering a comment like that? What's to be gained?

Of course, the scary thing is: This idiot woman has the same vote that you and I do. That's democracy, right? But the candidates don't seem to care about us. No, she's the one who's being wooed not only by Republicans, but also by Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, John Edwards, et al.

And even though I can't see the future, I do believe that the First Amendment is going to get trampled on again in the next administration -- no matter who gets elected. That's the tacit "bargain" the candidates are making with the people of faith.

Anonymous said...

Paul, what threatens me about religion is what some people use it for and what they would do in its name.

I wrote of it elsewhere, but I was performing for a church service a month or so ago (mainstream) and their guest preacher felt that the best way to combat "unbelief" was to emulate an occurance that took place in France during the 1600's. He opined that another St. Bartholomew's Day was long overdue. Oh, he deplored the need and the fact that it was the Catholics who did it, but that didn't make it unrepeatable. I don't think that many of the people sitting there even knew what he was talking about, but there it was.

I've heard others say that granting the taste of a little hell here on earth (ie, torture chamber, execution) while not good, may be the only way to reclaim souls. I've been told I have no right to NOT believe, and that my example is a danger, and I'm someone about whom something, someday, should be done.

As Elbert Hubbard said, the fires of the auto da fe arem't out, they're banked and waiting.

Grumpy Lion said...

Wait, it says '4 theists'. Which four? Or do you mean 'for theists'? As in you are for theists? Or 'this is for theists'? I'm apparently symbolically challenged.

I kinda like the idea of tattooing an A on my butt. Then when I get a theist chick into bed and she asks what it is I can tell her I'm an Atheist and then she'll have to rethink the whole religion thing and we'll have snared a convert. Whaddya think? Too tacky? Too pushy?

The Exterminator said...

Well, I'm not sure that your idea is fail-safe. It kinda depends on how well you perform.

John Evo said...

Exterminator, I share your despondency over the potential future of our primary rights. This is something I believe is being overlooked about Bush. It's bad enough what he has done... but it's the precedent for the future that is truly scary.

While "more or less" a liberal by current definition, there are MANY issues I deeply disagree with other so-called liberals on. I'm afraid Hillary would use some of her new-found powers in ways that would not be good. That doesn't mean I wouldn't support her. It, unfortunately, always comes down to the lesser of evils in U.S. politics.

I sure wish Gore would run. If I can believe what he says in his recent book, "The Assault on Reason" then he would be the best "lesser" out there who is also electable. Kucinich might be even better, but he has no chance of being the next President.

R Nicolas said...

Hey now I like that image. Like your blog too--keep it up.