Proud to be an aphilatelist?
Have you ever been in one of those discussions where someone with a religious belief attempts to mock and/or discredit atheists by asking why they spend so much time and effort on something they don’t believe in? It’s similar to the “atheism is a religion” nonsense, and it drives me nuts.
Why do you need a special name for people who don’t support a football club, they ask. Or why would you identify yourself as someone who doesn’t collect stamps? This non-stamp-collecting one seems particularly common, so as a public service, here’s a non-exhaustive list of reasons why I don’t identify myself as an aphilatelist.
- Stamp collectors don’t stand on street corners shouting that people who don’t collect stamps are morally degenerate and destined to suffer for eternity. In fact, as far as I know, they don’t even believe such a thing, although I’m not sure about the extreme hardcore wing.
- They don’t get provided with free airtime on TV and radio to extol the virtues of a good Twopenny Blue to their audience.
- Schools have never been compelled promote stamp collecting through daily acts of stamp appreciation, and no organisations exist to go into schools and give each child a pair of stamp tongs and a copy of the Stanley Gibbons catalogue.
- No wars have been fought over whether stamps should be arranged in an album by country or topic. (Again, possible hardcore exceptions aside)
- No one has ever been disturbed in the middle of a meal or putting the children to bed by someone at the door, pushing tracts about the benefits of stamp collecting.
- No political leader has ever needed to invent a vague interest in stamps or make a speech to a convention of stamp collectors in order to improve his/her electoral prospects.
- High-ranking stamp collectors aren’t automatically given seats in parliament, nor do stamp collecting organisations get significant tax breaks by virtue of their work in promoting stamp collection.
- In any case, stamp collectors are entirely unfussed about social policy, having no “party line” in this area, and have never attempted to use their interests to promote whatever prejudices they may have.
- Scientific progress has never been opposed or obstructed because it conflicts with the way stamp collectors view the world. (mumblemumble hardcore mumble)
- Above all, stamp collecting has never been anything but a minority interest, and no one has ever been expected or assumed to participate, so specifying that you don’t collect stamps is about as necessary as identifying yourself as having two eyes.