I had never heard “brights” used to describe anything other than high-beam headlights until Sunday, when I ran across a friend I hadn’t seen in a while, and the topic came up. Apparently brights has been co-opted as a catch-all term to describe agnostics, atheists, etc. It sounds a little too airy-fairy for my tastes–and indeed, following the model of “gay” for homosexual, it was coined to put a cheery word to a ghettoized social group.

In June, Richard Dawkins, who has never been shy about describing himself as an atheist, used the term. More recently, Daniel Dennet came out. Interestingly, the term has stirred up some ire among those it might describe.

4 thoughts on “Brights”

  1. “Headlamps set too high” may be just the right connotation for my atheist brethren and sistren who insist on imitating the theists by wearing their religious beliefs on their sleeves.

    But I think I’ll ride this one out until the atheist language activists decide to reclaim the word “atheist” just as a portion of the gay community has reclaimed “queer”.

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