Previous Entry Add to Memories Share Next Entry
(no subject)
nighthawks
that_atheist
So I'm really not digging the speakers' list for the Reason Rally.

One by one:

Richard Dawkins: Good choice!
Tim Minchin: Good choice!
Eddie Izzard: Good choice!
PZ Myers: Good choice!
Taslima Nasrin: Good choice! (Not very well-known, but should be.)
Paul Provenza: Who? (Evidently he has an interview show on a channel which nobody watches which involves him interviewing minor and has-been comedians. That makes him a celebrity!)
James Randi: Good choice!
Adam Savage: Good choice!
Jessica Ahlquist: Good choice!
Bad Religion: Who? (A punk band who have never had a top-10 album or single. Most of their output didn't even chart, and for all intents and purposes they had tumbled into irrelevance before most of the people who will be attending the rally were even born. But they're TOTALLY LEGENDARY U GUYS!)
Dan Barker: Well, I mean, it's an atheist speaking gig thinger, so you can't not have Dan Barker.
Jamila Bey: Good choice! (Minor figure within the movement, but a perfectly good speaker.)
Greta Christina: Good choice!
Elisabeth Cornwell: Good choice!
Fred Edwards: Who? (Executive Administrative Vice-Director of Somesuch Foundation or Another. In other words, white dude with a combover.)
Sean Faircloth: Who? (Executive Administrative Vice-Director of Somesuch Foundation or Another, except this one has a book to promote!)
Jesse Galef: Who? (Board of the SSA. I guess he's younger than most of the Executive Administrative Vice-Director types?)
Annie Laurie Gaylor: Who? (A female Executive Administrative Vice-Director of Somesuch Foundation or Another! You know, for variety!)
Greg Graffin: Haven't heard of him, but he sounds interesting.
Victor Harris: Who? ("Poet". I have a sinking feeling that "poet" is code for "token black dude".)
Jamie Kilstein: Who? (A comedian whose recent accolades include starring on Paul Provenza's Show Which Nobody Watches. That's promising.)
Lawrence Krauss: Good choice!
Ron Lindsay: Who? (Executive Administrative Vice-Director of Somesuch Foundation or Another)
Hemant Mehta: Good choice!
Cristina Rad: Who? ("Popular YouTube *mmph* Activist". Sorry, couldn't keep a straight face. I tried!)
Michael Shermer: Who? (Executive Administrative Vice-Director of Somesuch Foundation Magazine or Another, also with a book.)
Shelley Segal: Who? (Another person who we're told is popular on YouTube. Hooray?)
David Silverman: Who? (Executive Administrative Vice-Director of Somesuch Foundation or Another)
Roy Speckhardt: Who? (Executive Administrative Vice-Director of Somesuch Foundation or Another)
Pete Stark: Good choice! (He hasn't been a very "good" atheist congressperson, but in this instance we take what we can get.)
Tom Harkin: Oh hell no. (A lifelong Catholic who openly supports homeopathy, chirophracty, acupuncture and alt-med. Why is he here?)
Todd Stiefel: Who? (Executive Administrative Vice-Director of Somesuch Foundation or Another)
Tombstone Da Deadman: Who? (Oh. Another one of these YouTube people.)
Indra Zuno: Who? (A Mexican Spanish-language actress who, according to IMDB, has not worked regularly since the 90s, and not at all since 2006. Huh?)
Andy Shernoff: Who? (Seems to be some sort of music-industry insider who fronted a minor punk band in the 70s. And?)
Nate Phelps: Good choice!
Herb Silverman: Who? (Executive Administrative Vice-Director of Somesuch Foundation or Another)
Bill Maher: *ptooey*

While I would also like to see more diversity in the lineup, why be so sure that none of the people to whom you respond "who?" fall into the "not very well-known, but should be" category?

I suspect that Bad Religion being there means that their singer, who is an evolutionary biologist, will be doing some speaking. Perhaps that will be of interest even if their music isn't your cup of tea.

Also, did you really just assess the quality and relevance of a band's output by how well they did on the top-40 charts? O.o

Ah, actually... *points to Greg Graffin in the list above*. That's him. Interesting guy from everything I've heard.

Also, did you really just assess the quality and relevance of a band's output by how well they did on the top-40 charts? O.o

No, I assessed whether or not a band deserves the title "Legendary" based on whether or not they had actually made an appreciable and long-lasting impact upon popular culture generally, or even just the genre within which they worked. They don't seem to clear that hurdle.


why be so sure that none of the people to whom you respond "who?" fall into the "not very well-known, but should be" category?

There are any number of people who might be interesting to have at this rally, and I'm sure that many of the people I've listed as "Who?" will rise to the occasion. My concern, however, is that we have a whole truckload of Generic White Dude From Some Foundation Or Another, and it's not immediately clear that these people are going to represent different constituencies or say substantially different things. If we could cut half of them off the bill without losing anything, this would not only be a good idea on its own merits, but it would create room to showcase more skeptics and atheists from other communities. (And I'm not just talking about PoC and women here: what about queer skeptics? Blue-collar and working-class skeptics? Atheist conservatives? Any number of groups are absent from this rally.)

Michael Shermer is a name I've definitely heard before. On wikipedia it says that he's the founder of The Skeptics Society, and Editor in Chief of its magazine "Skeptic". I think that's enough to qualify him.

Asides from that I'd agree with pretty much everything.

That said, on the Bad Religion thing, it may be that they were the most high profile musical entertainment who were interested in getting involved. Heck, even if you DID get Marilyn Manson involved in an event like this, you'd have trouble giving him anything less than centre stage...

You are viewing that_atheist