Tuesday, April 7, 2009

This Book Is Not Helping


Via Pharyngula, I have run across one of the most horrible books in existence: The Professor and the Dominatrix. The author is a self-professed atheist, and his magnum opus here handily illustrates the fact that atheist does not automatically equal decent human being.

That link above goes to an extensive review of this horrible book. You can read the whole thing, if you're really sure, but to sum up, I'll list a few of the really awful aspects of this book:

1. The Dominatrix of the title isn't a very good one; she meets the Professor and immediately starts talking babies and marriage. They're married after they've known each other a) for a week, and b) twice (hem, hem). The Professor, on the other hand, is no more than a giant Mary Sue and Author Avatar.

2. The Mayor of this little college town is the only black man in the book, and while everyone else talks exactly like a college professor might, Mayor Stereotype speaks like Steppin Fetchit and curses about every other word.

3. Every woman in this book is either a frumpy, ugly old crone who continuously commits the mortal sin of not turning on the Professor, or a ditzy young thing who is simultaneously pure as the driven snow and built like a pr0n star.

4. The murder victims in the scant plot are both gay men; you'd think then the plot would be sympathetic to people of a non-normative sexual orientation; you'd be wrong. The gay slurs are up there with the women and Mayor Remus. Oh, and the text refers to a trans person as "he-she" and "it."

5. The sex scenes. Good lord, the sex scenes. There are only two, which apparently qualify this book as "dripping with sex," in the author's words (oh -- forgot all the sexual evaluations going on in connection with 3. above), and they suck. There are references to "whangs" and the text constantly refers to the Professor's "whang" as "Captain Marvel." Captain Marvel. I'll never be able to look DC in the eye again.

6. And finally, there's the arguments against religious people. This book is full of straw men and women who exist only for the author's abuse. There are author filibusters -- whole chapters of incoherent ranting with no plot or tension, just the author barfing all his pent-up frustrations onto the page. The philosophical climax of the book occurs at a televised debate between the Professor and the Dominatrix and a man-woman team of evangelicals, and it ends when the Prof (an accomplished boxer) goads the other man into attacking him so that the Prof can lay him out flat in as violent a manner as possible. Meanwhile, the Dom rips the other woman's clothes off. And then everybody points and laughs. Oh, and there's a man dressed as Jesus in the audience getting a hand job. Ew.

So, to sum up, this book's author may be a professed atheist, but his book reads like it was written by a right-wing hater, with all the unreconstructed opinions about the value of women and the jabs at gay people.

Being an atheist is a moral-neutral stance; it doesn't automatically make you good or bad. It's your own actions determine that, and this book is dripping with Bad. In the philosophical debate between atheists and theists, this book is absolutely a harm to its professed side, and not any help at all.

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