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12 Things I’m Thankful For December 25, 2007

Posted by Teen Atheist in family, friends, issues.
Tags: , , , , , ,

So, it’s Christmas, and despite all the shit I’ve been put through recently, I still think that it’s a time to be happy and to reflect on the things that made 2007 a spectacular year for me. I figured that 12 was a Christmassy enough number, so here are the top 12 things I’m thankful for this year:


12. My 18th birthday celebration (best birthday ever)
It was the first birthday I got to spend with just me and my friends, because in previous years I’d tried to ask but would invariably have my father try to guilt-trip me, all “she doesn’t want to spend it with us.” This year, I guess I’d finally earned it. I had an amazing time, being with people I loved who treated me like a queen. I was smiling the whole time.


11. Scrubs
For a sitcom, this one sure makes me cry an awful lot (damn you, John C. McGinley and your out-of-this-world acting skills!). I’m especially thankful for this line by Dr. Kelso:

“Nothing in this world that is worth having comes easy.”

It’s become my personal motto, and it’s helped me through a lot of the challenges I’ve faced this year.


10. Clothes shopping and spa trips
Shallow as it may sound, shopping and getting my hands and feet pampered never fails to brighten my day no matter how down in the dumps I’m feeling. They’re my favorite vices.


9. Fred
I still refuse to apologize for standing up for gay people, but it’s not like Fred was a horrible friend otherwise. I do owe him for being one of the few friends who could truly empathize with me and be there for me whenever I was in a bad place emotionally. We’re still on bad terms with each other (and I still think he’s a little off his rocker), but I am still thankful for what he’s done for me over the years.


8. The LGBT Pride March
Special thanks to everyone who encouraged me and gave me the testicular fortitude to go through with it. Through the march, I met a lot of amazing LGBT people, like Justin and Emmett, who truly inspire me. I felt so proud of myself for standing up for others’ rights, and I would gladly do it again next year. In fact, I’ve already signed up for a couple of local gay-straight alliances, and I plan to be an even louder voice in support of LGBT rights in college.


7. Greg Berlanti
This TV wunderkind, the creator of Everwood, Brothers & Sisters, Dirty Sexy Money and Eli Stone, is exactly the kind of person I aspire to be like when I’m older. It’s my personal ambition to become a television screenwriter (and clearly, I’m siding with the WGA on the writer’s strike), and if I ever achieve the dream of creating my own drama series, I hope mine could be as significant as his shows, which are not only well-written and entertaining, but are a huge step forward in terms of LGBT visibility on television. (more…)

Just because I’m an atheist doesn’t mean I’m [adjective] November 14, 2007

Posted by Teen Atheist in issues, rants.
Tags: , , , , ,

I have a religious friend, Alice, who is working on a chick lit novel for National Novel-Writing Month. We haven’t known each other all that long (we met at an event), but we get along fine even though she knows I’m an atheist.

Reading her plot synopsis, however, made my facial muscles twitch a little bit: [Removed for privacy. Sorry, guys! And Alice, if you’re reading, don’t take it personally!]

Even funnier is this exchange:

TA: “Your protagonist is an atheist, right?”

Alice: “The girl is. The boy isn’t. He’s nice.”

TA: *trying hard not to headdesk*

I actually still like Alice despite this, and she hasn’t made any judgments (out loud, anyway) on my atheism so far. So while we’re still friends, I doubt I’ll be reading that novel anytime soon. Besides, I loathe chick lit.

The whole conversation got me to thinking about atheist stereotypes in the media. I’m not as big a literature geek as I am a TV buff, and while there are definitely types that atheist characters on television are categorized into, I can’t say I really mind these types:

  • The Brilliant, Snarky Misanthrope: Dr. Perry Cox (Scrubs), Dr. Gregory House (House), Dr. Cristina Yang (Grey’s Anatomy), Matt Albie (Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip)
  • The Heartless, Dysfunctional Whore: Andrew Van De Kamp (Desperate Housewives), Dr. Christian Troy (Nip/Tuck), Brian Kinney (Queer as Folk)
  • The Slutty, Angsty Rebel: Jen Lindley (Dawson’s Creek)
  • The Lab Geek: Dr. Temperance Brennan (Bones), Dr. Mohinder Suresh (Heroes)

The only one who doesn’t fit into any of the above categories would be Dr. Allison Cameron on House, and this fact is actually acknowledged on the show (House to Cameron: “You’re the most naive atheist I know”).

While I’m against stereotyping of any kind, I don’t really have a lot to complain about when it comes to what we atheists have been stuck with. Notice that out of the 10 examples I’ve provided, 6 are doctors (7 out of 11 if you include Cameron). Of the remaining four, one is a successful advertising executive (Brian Kinney) and one is a talented head writer for a popular sketch show (Matt Albie), while the last two (Jen and Andrew) are the cool, rebellious teenagers. And all ten are smokin’ hot.

Honestly, I kind of love it. A lot of these characters (see: Cox, House, Yang) tend to be the most popular among TV critics, they tend to be the most quotable, and most of them have been my favorites on the shows, even before they came out as atheists (see: the above three, plus Andrew on DH and Albie from S60). If anything, I take this as an indication that TV writers understand atheists better than most people do, otherwise all TV atheists would be serial killers, rapists and/or baby-eaters. Or “temporary” atheists, like Girl X of Alice’s novel. Thank God (hee-hee) TV writers know better.

And really, what would we have to bitch about? “We atheists are misrepresented! Not all of us are terribly smart, sexy and successful! We demand more idiotic, vapid atheists on television!”

That’s not to say there are no idiotic, vapid atheists in real life (because, well, I am one), and should such a character ever appear on a TV show, I’d welcome it. Right now, though, I’m really happy with the way we’re being portrayed on TV.

[ETA 11.15.2007: Oh my Godz! I forgot to mention one of my favorite characters of all time, the whip-smart, lovely Brenda Chenowith from Six Feet Under. In terms of the stereotypes I mentioned above, she’s a cross between the first two (brilliant, snarky misanthrope and heartless, dysfunctional whore). Absolutely looove her.]