Saturday, 24 October 2009
Christian Album Covers gallery being a prime example.) I also sometimes like to point out how atheist attacks on Christianity tend to miss the point (see Bugaboos). And I've mentioned a time or two my belief that most things in life tend to balance themselves out one way or another.
The Annoying Music Show's The Annoying Music Show CD
So I suppose I should have seen it coming. I didn't. I saw it the other day in an article on Scriptorium Daily (one of very few places on the Web where you can get substantive little historical theological studies in your blogroll). Author John Mark Reynolds gleefully points out that--you guessed it--there's plenty of bad kitschy "art" created in the name of atheism. Excerpt:
Whenever I feel too bad about such strange Christian “products,” I visit the web sites of the new Internet atheists.... It is perfectly possible to load up on atheist swag and the graphic quality of t-shirts there actually makes one long for the comparatively excellent stuff one can get in the local Christian book store. Only infidel tees can make you feel better about the dreadful “This Bloods For You” top. (Read more.)This I had to see to believe. A few minutes with Google confirmed it. Oh, man, did it ever confirm it. Anything you can think of in kitschy Christian art has its equivalent in kitschy atheist art. Would you believe...
The Happy Throw Pillow!
The Patriotic Yellow Tote Bag!
The Huggable Plush Propaganda Buddy! (Awwww!)
The Tacky T-Shirts!
The Tacky T-Shirts With Cheap Knock-offs of Formerly Trendy Slogans!
The Tacky T-shirts With Silly Attempts at Worn-out Slang!
The Tacky T-Shirts in a Disturbing Unintended Juxtaposition!
(OK, a cheap shot I admit, but still-- really?)
A Cheesy Album Cover—wait, an album cover?!That’s right, an album cover. This one deserves a little extra attention. As highlighted sarcastically in Reynolds’ article, prominent atheist activist (and former preacher) Dan Barker has composed, performed, and recorded a series of atheist-themed songs, now available on CD. I promise I’m not making this up. You can see the album and listen to excerpts at this link from the Freedom From Religion Foundation.
How good is the atheist album? It’s everything you could dream of and more, if you’re a connoisseur of truly staggeringly awful art. You know the kind of thing I mean—no, not that current teen-pop idol with all the screaming fangirls. Not even the amateur praise band at Community Church of X overplaying a Vineyard song. Set your sights lower. Think back to Mystery Science Theater 3000 and “The Annoying Music Show.” Think Plan 9 From Outer Space. Manos, The Hands of Fate. The poetry of William Topaz McGonagall. Japanese pop stars covering Coldplay. William Shatner singing the Beatles. Doctors rapping about sickle-cell anemia. (No, really.)
Describing the sound of this debacle—the cheap electronic keyboard, the digital drumbeats, the too-earnest crooning—is all but impossible. A track title should give you the flavor in four words: “Stay Away Pope Polka.” My other favorites are the title track (think a rather creepy take on Mr. Rogers), “Love” (you only think you know about schmaltz), and “No Hurry to Die” (which, as Reynolds observed, may have you rethinking your position on that). Somebody call Jim Nayder.
As a Christian I certainly don’t mind anyone expressing what they believe or disbelieve in, but as a musician I just have to shake my head and laugh. I guess these “New Atheists” have a lot more in common with the Old Fundamentalists than they may care to admit.
Still, you have to give them a little credit: it's got to be hard to write a song about how good it is not to believe in something you don't think is real. Christians, on the other hand, have been known to make art this bad in worship to the Creator. And we even have Bach, Mendelssohn, and Handel to look up to. Hmm.
On the other hand, maybe the lesson to take away here is simply that a taste for producing, marketing, and consuming awful art is endemic to our society, regardless of faith or creed. I think that's called "the fallen state of man." God and/or Reason help us all.[T-Shirt Images: 20 coolest atheist T-shirts for sale on the web - Telegraph. Yep, those were among the coolest.](Read more, hear music, and comment at ericpazdziora.com)