The New Gnu

by Jon Garvey - 2013 (with apologies to Flanders and Swann)




"Gnu Atheists is a pun on the label New Atheists that quickly took on a life of its own. As a pun, it is equivalent in meaning to New Atheists, and the two can be substituted for each other anywhere they occur.

"While gnu and new are meant to be equivalent when it comes to atheism, usage of the modifier gnu tends to make any discussion about atheists or atheism more comical and less imposing - even when the subject matter at hand is very serious.

"Gnu has the added benefit of allowing atheists to reclaim the label new imposed on them by theists. In addition, the gnu (aka, the wildebeest) serves as a sort of mascot around which some atheists might choose to rally (PZ Myers)





If something like this hasn't been done, it ought to have been. Perhaps the focus on Gnus in the States, where Flanders and Swann are less legendary than in the UK, explains it. My only excuse is that I once met Donald Swann's widow, and also spent a fortnight at the B&B in Wales where Michael Flanders died, some four years before he went there. Oh yes, and my sopranino sax was bought with a bequest from a good friend who had been Swann's arranger. Here's a link to the original for the culturally challenged.