The New Yorker Profiles ‘Secular Gadfly’ Tim Minchin

It’s about time the man got some recognition like this.

In the upcoming issue of The New Yorker, Michael Schulman profiles singer/songwriter and secular hero Tim Minchin:

Unfortunately, the article is behind a paywall, but the profile gives him the praise he deserves (while offering a few jabs at atheists in the process):

… A kind of rationalist Russell Brand, he presents himself as a secular gadfly, a voice of sanity in a dismayingly daft world…

In America, he draws more of a niche audience: Minchin has become a cult figure for atheists. In March of last year, he appeared in front of twenty thousand people at the National Mall, as part of the inaugural Reason Rally (nicknamed Atheist Woodstock).

Minchin’s act borrows heavily from “the big four”: Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, and the philosopher Daniel Dennett. (Dawkins posts Minchin’s videos on his Web site, which has bolstered Minchin’s fan base among the pleased-with-itself autodidact set.) “He does ridicule very well, and ridicule is one of the weapons that we need to use against softheadedness,” Dawkins told me.

Weeks earlier, Minchin had told me that he considers his world view “romantic,” a common sentiment among Skeptics, who are often mistaken for killjoys. “I’m quite optimistic about human nature,” he said. “I get along with pretty much anyone I meet.”

The article is actually about Minchin’s role in writing the lyrics for the musical adaptation of Roald Dahl‘s Matilda, but goes very deep into his personal life as well.

Minchin was arguably the most popular attraction at the Reason Rally, even if his lyrics provoked criticism from the right-wing media. I had a chance to talk to him briefly backstage and he was as nice as could be, despite me being a complete stranger to him:

Hopefully, the article and the subsequent publicity will mean a bigger stage for one of the premier atheist artists out there.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.


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