A New Icon for Atheists - Frank Sinatra!

I can remember the voice of Frank Sinatra from back when I was a kid.  My father wasn't quite a fan, but he had more than a couple albums which got played regularly and which I can still recall in my head when I want to.  Certainly, Ol' Blue Eyes was a vocal technician of the first water.  His intonation, treatment of even the simplest phrase, breath control and overall execution place him deservedly in a rarefied atmosphere shared with a scant few other artists, and that by itself is admirable.

However, it would seem as though there was more to Mr. Sinatra than a disciplined voice or an alleged connection to the Mob.  This "new" facet was brought to my attention this morning by my wife, courtesy of an article which highlights an excerpt from a Playboy Interview of many moons ago.  I'm placing a fragment of that piece below the fold here, but I encourage you to read the entire article.

It would seem that Frank's vintage was, indeed, a very good year ... for more reasons than one.


Playboy: You haven’t found any answers for yourself in organized religion?

Sinatra: There are things about organized religion which I resent. Christ is revered as the Prince of Peace, but more blood has been shed in His name than any other figure in history. You show me one step forward in the name of religion and I’ll show you a hundred retrogressions. Remember, they were men of God who destroyed the educational treasures at Alexandria, who perpetrated the Inquisition in Spain, who burned the witches at Salem. Over 25,000 organized religions flourish on this planet, but the followers of each think all the others are miserably misguided and probably evil as well. In India they worship white cows, monkeys and a dip in the Ganges. The Moslems accept slavery and prepare for Allah, who promises wine and revirginated women. And witch doctors aren’t just in Africa. If you look in the L.A. papers of a Sunday morning, you’ll see the local variety advertising their wares like suits with two pairs of pants.

Views: 402


You need to be a member of Atheist Nexus to add comments!

Join Atheist Nexus

Comment by Joan Denoo on January 11, 2018 at 1:27pm

During WW II, my mother and I were living in a rented room in the home of a very cranky woman. Mom had a Frank Sinatra album on the bookshelf; I remember her putting it on a little record player, a scratchy one. Funny how little details come back to me after all these years. 

We were not in that rented one-room and a cranky woman renter for very long; Dad worked for Morrison-Knudson in Alaska building airfields and barracks. He earned enough in a short period of time to pay cash for a little house that was a dream cottage. Mom and I moved in and remained there, just the two of us, until the end of the war. Dad came home and he created a huge vegetable garden and orchard with many kinds of fruit. I lived there until I went away to college. 

Comment by Loren Miller on September 5, 2014 at 7:59am

In the comments of the article, a few people alleged that Playboy supplied the questions to Frank before the interview, and that doing so was a rare or unique event for the magazine.  For myself, I have no idea one way or the other.

Interestingly, though, it was in that same era that Playboy interviewed Madalyn Murray O'Hair.  I read that interview, and if memory serves, the interviewer's attitude was far more confrontational, especially considering Hugh Hefner's opinion of religion as expressed in his Playboy Philosophy.  It would be intriguing to see how such an interview would be conducted now, were it possible, and since it isn't, perhaps interviews with Richard Dawkins, Lawrence Krauss or Sam Harris, if they haven't been done to this date.

Comment by Randall Smith on September 5, 2014 at 7:23am

I'm not convinced those are Frank's actual words. I have a feeling his opinions on religion were reshaped by the interviewer or editor. Nonetheless, I like them! And I always liked his singing. 

Comment by Bertold Brautigan on September 4, 2014 at 5:28pm

Besides being a great singer and actor, and now a pundit, maybe he was a bit of a philosopher in the style of the troubadours. One of the songs he made popular has the answer to the ever-popular question, what meaning does life have without god?

Dancing in the dark

Till the tune ends

We're dancing in the dark

And it soon ends

We're waltzing in the wonder of why we're here

Time hurries by we're here

Then we're gone.

Comment by Larry on September 4, 2014 at 1:07pm

Even 50 years ago, some entertainers were expressing their 

opinions about how they saw society in that era.  Too bad Faux news wasn't around to reprimand him voicing his views which were different from theirs.

Comment by Bertold Brautigan on September 4, 2014 at 10:13am

Thanks for this, Loren. OMG – his answer to the first question is even better than the one you posted. I would never have imagined FS invoking the likes of Bertrand Russell!

I had an uncle who was an avid fan and I inherited quite a slug of the albums. I remember when I was about 12 my uncle said he’d defended everything Frank had done up until he married Mia Farrow – for some reason that was a step too far in my uncle’s mind. I totally agree about his vocal talent. In the 60s and 70s I kind of bucked the trend, as it took the hippie generation a while to get that he was cool. [Of course there were mitigating circumstances; Ol’ Blue Eyes wasn’t too keen on the raucous rockers and long haired upstarts who started acing him out of the top 40.] I find his music intensely evocative of a lost world of standards in a very similar way to the film Casablanca.

Comment by Michael Penn on September 4, 2014 at 9:04am

Sinatra was so smart that not only was he an icon type singer for most of my lifetime, he was also a top rated movie actor for well over 20 years. When Frank talked people listened. He had lots of "pull" with lots of people. I think this is what made the mob so attracted to him. I used to jokingly call him Frank Sinister, but Sinatra was a no nonsense kind of guy.

Comment by Frankie Dapper on September 4, 2014 at 7:53am

another example in which stereotype is inaccurate...

Comment by Loren Miller on September 4, 2014 at 7:34am

No, kiddin', Pat.  A bit more than a pretty face and a talented voice, for sure!

Comment by Pat on September 4, 2014 at 7:33am

Damn! Sinatra was smarter than I ever gave him credit for. Much smarter.



Update Your Membership :




Nexus on Social Media:


© 2018   Atheist Nexus. All rights reserved. Admin: The Nexus Group.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service