Work and Circuses

Office drones, courtesy of the Utne ReaderDisgruntled employees are a dangerous lot. Just ask the postal service. Or ask the guy who, inspired by equal amounts of frustration and creativity, one day decided to staple a ham sandwich–on a paper plate, no less, with a napkin set rakishly off to one side–to the ceiling over his boss’s desk. Sooner or later, it just needs some kind of outlet.

I thought back to the ham sandwich incident when I read the latest issue of the Utne Reader. Every couple of months, they gather between covers the best of the alternative press, and stories that the mainstream media tend to pass over, and two pieces in this month’s issue cover what they’ve aptly termed the “infantilization” of corporate culture.

Continue reading “Work and Circuses”

Chris Hedges: I Don’t Believe in Atheists

Chris Hedges: I Don’t Believe in AtheistsDouglas Adams famously referred to himself as a “militant Atheist,” mostly so that people would know he did not, in fact, believe God existed; he didn’t want to be confused with a garden-variety agnostic. However, the last few years have given rise–or at least a lot more attention–to an atheism that is militant in the more traditional understanding. These atheists have raised their profile considerably, collectively publishing thousands of pages on their belief system, and spending a good amount of time on the bestseller lists as a result. To wit: Christopher Hitchens’ God Is Not Great; Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion; Sam Harris’s The End of Belief and Letter To A Christian Nation; and Daniel Dennett’s Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon.

More on them later; for now, let’s have a look at one of the products of a pendulum shift in the other direction, courtesy of Chris Hedges. Previously the author of War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning and American Fascists, Hedges trained early on as a seminarian, and later cut his teeth as a journalist for the New York Times. With I Don’t Believe in Atheists, Hedges concerns himself with—to borrow a phrase from Tariq Ali—the clash of fundamentalisms. In doing this, he’s delivered not only a good read, but also something that will hopefully start a lively (not to mention probably heated) debate. Continue reading “Chris Hedges: I Don’t Believe in Atheists”