Wednesday, May 06, 2009


Some Names

Stanley Fish, "God Talk, New York Times (May 3, 2009), discussing Terry Eagleton, Reason, Faith and Revolution: Reflections on the God Debate (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009):
No wonder "Ditchkins" — Eagleton's contemptuous amalgam of Hitchens and Richard Dawkins, perhaps with a sidelong glance at Luke 6:39, "Can the blind lead the blind? Shall they not both fall into the ditch?" — seems incapable of responding to "the kind of commitment made manifest by a human being at the end of his tether, foundering in darkness, pain, and bewilderment, who nevertheless remains faithful to the promise of a transformative love."
Hitchens is Christopher Hitchens, author of God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything (New York: Twelve Books, 2007). Richard Dawkins wrote The God Delusion (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2006).

The name Ditchkins reminds me of another name famous in the annals of religious controversy — Chesterbelloc, which was George Bernard Shaw's nickname for G.K. Chesterton and Hilaire Belloc. Shaw coined the name in "The Chesterbelloc: A Lampoon," New Age (February 15, 1908).

An apt name, or at least middle name — George Bird Grinnell, an ornithologist who founded the first Audubon Society in 1886 and wrote such books as American Duck Shooting (New York: Forest and Stream, 1901) and American Game-Bird Shooting (New York: Forest and Stream, 1910).

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