In a long and particularly greasy display of adulation for Richard Dawkins (“A Knack for Bashing Orthodoxy,”New York Times, September 19, 2011) Michael Powell helps us understand why papers like his are losing significance: Dawkins isn’t bashing orthodoxy; his ideas are orthodoxy among People Who Count. And it has probably never even occurred to senior journalist Powell to notice. For example, he tells us that Dawkins,
… often declines to talk in San Francisco and New York; these cities are too gloriously godless, as far as he is concerned. “As an atheistic lecturer, you are rather wasting your time,” he says. He prefers the Bible Belt, where controversy is raw.
Which is to say what? That the Bible Belt is where the action is intellectually? It is true industrially; in the US, that’s where the jobs are going. And the political clout. Much else follows.
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