The Level of Awesome Just Increased by a Factor of 11

Jamila Bey just joined FtB, people. She’s one of my idols, one of the most talented people in atheism, so I’ve basically been non-stop squeeing since I found out. I already thought this place was one of the best blogging collectives on the entire internet. Now it feels like it was only quasi-awesome before she got here and made it uber-awesome.

Image is Jamila Bey's blog header, which is a black bar with a drawing of Jamila raising a victorious fist on the right and the words "Sex, Politics & Religion" inside a brain on the left.

You can read her first post here, in which she reminds us that Black History Month includes atheists and freethinkers, and was actually started by one. While you do that, I’m gonna go have a lozenge and then go squee some more.

Welcome to FtB, Jamila!

Bienvenido a FreethoughtBlogs! Say Hello to Our Sniny New Bloggers

You know how we’ve been going on for ages about adding new bloggers? You know how we said we’d do it after the big transition to the new site design was complete? WE DID IT!!!

Image is a lot of pastel-hued fireworks exploding over a bay. Caption says, WE DID IT!

Fireworks photo by Booyah Kasha on Flickr. Werdz by moi.

And the network just got that much cooler. See who we’ve got (in alphabetical order because you can’t rank ’em by coolness):

Between a Veil and a Dark Place

Now I’m a queer, kinky, polyamorous heathen who ‘can’t just leave religion alone’. I’m vocal, feminist, and vocal about being feminist. I’ve had a very difficult life to date, growing up with a lot of violence and control (neither my family nor Hezbollah took kindly to the whole attempting-to-escape-and-have-my-own-life thing) and I think it’s all worth talking about extensively.

Consider the Tea Cozy

I’m Aoife (think Eva with an F, but only if you’re pronouncing Eva to rhyme with TREE-vah). If you’re looking for descriptors, I’m a queer Irish feminist with a social science background and a bucketload of opinions. This year I founded the Bi+ Ireland Network, and I ain’t kidding when I say it’s the thing that I’m proudest of. I’ll write about all of those things, but- being honest, since we’re friends here- I’ll mostly be thinking about roller derby. Sometimes you’ve just gotta strap on a pair of skates and hit some people, y’know?

Heinous Dealings:

After all, when it comes to promoting a community currently as small and as besieged as the ex-Muslim community, or viewpoints as oddly controversial as being in favor of social justice, every little bit of attention counts. I’m proud to join a blog network doing more than most others in ensuring representation.

So you should go read them instantly, and I hope you enjoy them immensely (as I do!), and above all, give them lots of ohais.

Image shows a chick hatching from an egg. Caption reads, Ohai!

Brand-New Blogger, Y’all

You may have noticed the list of blogs got one longer. We were lucky enough to snag Kaveh Mousavi, and his blog On the Margin of Error is absolutely fascinating. You know an atheist in Iran has got stories to tell. He’s got insights only a person living under a theocracy can have. Head on over, say howdy, and help me encourage him to post lots.

On the Margin of Error blog header.

An Outstanding New Addition to the FtB Family

I love it when we get new people here. I love it even more when they’re as awesome as Yemisi. I’ve only just started reading her and got sucked in the first night, ending up spending far more time with her words than I’d intended. She’s one of those bloggers who grabs my mind with both hands and stretches it out beyond its well-worn little ruts. So having her here on FtB where she’s nice and easy to see every day is awesome, and I hope you’ll all drop by and say hello and welcome and enjoy her as much as I have been.

Her intro post leaves me no doubt we have a superbly strong blogger joining us:

My tagline is Proudly Feminist, Proudly Bisexual and Proudly Atheist. These tags are not things I do part time or caps I take off when things get hot, as they often do, it is simply my life.  I live it every day, every minute, actually every second with no apology.

Hopefully her archives will be live soon, and I look forward to her new material. Welcome to the network, Yemisi!

oh hai kitten

 

No, Patheos, You Can’t Have These New Bloggers Either!

Huzzah, Miriam and Paul are here! And they are awesome. You should go read them if you haven’t already.

Brute Reason

Brute Reason banner, image courtesy Miriam.

Miriam does a lot of social justice, psychology, and other interesting bits. I’ll confess I’ve been spelunking her archives while I should have been doing Very Serious Work. I’m enjoying her a lot, and she’s another reason why I’m proud to be a part of FtB.

Near-Earth Object banner, courtesy Paul

Near-Earth Object banner, courtesy Paul

Paul’s blog is lovely – lots of fascinating tidbits and quotes and science. And his banner has Galileo’s stars in it. I <3 his blog!

Between the main bloggers and the co-bloggers and guest bloggers on this network, we’ve got an incredible lineup. Some days, I have no idea why I’m a part of it. Other days, I know it’s because FtB is smart enough to know it needs a resident geologist. Doesn’t every network?

And every network should have a Miriam and a Paul, but they can’t have them because they joined us. Ha ha ha suck it, Patheos! Hands off our new bloggers.

Everyone else, please give Miriam and Paul a very warm welcome, and enjoy!

To Patheos, Re: Our New Bloggers

Dear Patheos,

After having seen our ranks decimated* by your network, we here at Freethought Blogs have finally recovered enough to add two excellent new bloggers: Avicenna and NonStampCollector. You probably noticed them the instant they appeared, but for the edification of others, I shall proceed to say a bit about them anyway.

Avicenna is a British medical student of Indian descent who is completing his clinical training in India. He’s genius. We folks who live and work in countries dominated by the three “great” monotheistic religions don’t know how good we’ve got it. Yes, these religions can be nasty, brutish and theocratic, but there is at least only one god** to contend with. Avicenna has to deal with a million (numeric 1,000,000 or French “holy fuck that’s a shitload of gods!”). And he does it brilliantly, while also taking on a plethora of other issues. I think he may even have sparked the beginnings of the logical evolution of Rickrolling, which in this case would be Psyrolling, or some clever word I’ve not come up with. Despite that, I’ve been enjoying his work immensely.

NonStampCollector is a superbly talented Australian living in Japan whose YouTube videos helped preserve my sanity during costume-sewing madness. He made me laugh hard enough to stab myself with a needle more than once. I now have an arsenal of videos for lobbing at literalists. Here is one:

His blog often takes ridiculous comments from his YouTube channel and skewers them mercilessly.

These are our new bloggers. They are awesome. We’re excited they’re here. And no, you can’t have them. Don’t even try.

Sincerely,

Dana Hunter

 

*For the pedants: yes, it was a decimation. We have ~30 blogs, and they took 3: Libby Anne, JT, and Dan. That’s a tenth. So shh before you start.

**Or, if you count a certain way, three. Or one god plus thousands of saints. Or 3 gods + 1,000s of saints. Still: not a million.

I Can’t Keep Up With the Added Awesome Anymore

We’ve added even moar vloggers. Superstar vloggers. Outstanding vloggers. This community of ours keeps growing, and keeps getting more amazing, by the day.

I’m going to have to have a discussion with my computer about this whole “I’ll only stream for so long before I kick you off the internet” thing it’s got going on lately. Because now there are videos, right here, where I can’t miss ’em. Also, these folks blog. Regular ol’ text. Images and words and voices, oh my.

Drop by and say hello, or allo, or your greeting of choice.

Ace of Clades.

Christina Rad.

And, I know I’ve introduced them before, but figured I’d mention them again:

Zinnia Jones.

Ashley F. Miller.

 

FreethoughtBlogs Just Got That Much More Awesome

Sometimes, I have no idea what I’m doing here, and I mean that in a good way. It’s nice to blog on a network filled with so many consistently awesome people. And we’ve just added two kickass atheists to the bunch: Zinnia Jones and Ashley Miller. They’re the vanguard for our videoblogging horde. Not only do they vlog, they blog, and they are outstanding writers. With Ashley and Zinnia, I think we have achieved a majority share of awesome atheists online. And dere r moar on teh wai!

Suddenly, taking over the world doesn’t seem like an impossibility…

She’ll Make It a Country For Women

This is still kinda secret, because magic buttons haven’t been pressed in order to make her appear on the front page, but Taslima Nasreen has joined us, and she’s come out of the gate roaring. I’ll admit that I read her first post at work. I very nearly told the person who called in while I was in the middle of it to hold a minute while I finished, or at least let me read her post aloud to them so we could finish it together.

I feel like reading the whole thing to you, but you’re old and wise enough to go read it yourself. I’ll just give you a taste:

A recurrent question that is often raised claims that I have hurt religious sentiments of people. Feminism has long opposed religion; whoever has even the slightest knowledge of women’s rights knows this. Religion is patriarchal through and through. I shall follow a religion and I shall acknowledge women’s rights – this stance is akin to saying I shall drink poison along with honey. Whenever religion-motivated abuse of women has been challenged in order to wrest women’s rights, immediately the slogan “Religious sentiments must not be hurt” has been raised by those that are anti-democracy, anti-free speech, and opposed to women’s freedom. I, however, don’t refer to any kind of barbarism as culture.

Hells to the fucking yes! I wish she’d been writing when I was in college. I wish I’d had these words, from someone who is there, to give to the well-meaning folks who were all about the respecting other cultures and not judging because that’s like totes imperialistic. I think my Women’s Studies teacher might have got it. Quite a few of the rest of them might have, too. Respecting different ways of living is all lovely, and diverse cultures welcome, but respect for those differences does not and should never extend to shrugging off oppression and violence by saying, “Well, it’s their culture, and we’re wrong to judge.” I wish I’d understood that back in my early twenties.

Thanks to amazing and courageous people like Taslima, I’m starting to get it.

So go read her post.

And maybe also this interview, in which so much territory is covered that I can’t really sum it up, but includes this bit on exile that has haunted me since I read it:

People ask why I don’t stay in Europe. In India, I am in a familiar place. (Points to a tree outside the window) I know the trees; I have grown up watching the same trees in Bangladesh. People won’t understand this… For someone who has lost her home, it means a lot. That’s why I feel at home in Kolkata.

With Taslima Nasreen, FtB has just leapt a megaparsec forward in awesomeness.

The Obligatory Introductory Post, or “Just Who the Hell Are You?”

¡Bienvenidos a mi cantina! Mi casa es su casa. Pull up one of the nice comfy chairs, and have a beer. One thing you’ll discover is that geologists are mad for beer. It’s practically a job requirement. If, like me, you’re not quite so keen on beer, I’m assured that gin and tonic is just as acceptable. So is whiskey. Or rum. Wine’s a great geological drink, as geology is so much a part of making it. Or you could – oh, hell, any sort of alcohol’s okay with this crowd. Pour your poison of choice.

Right. We’ll just let the regulars get on with kicking the new furniture, then, and have some introductions. Hullo. I’m Dana Hunter. That’s not the name on my driver’s license, but it’s the name I go by in all situations aside from my workplace and among family members, who haven’t quite figured out that the name I was born with isn’t the one I most frequently answer to. It’s gotten to the point where I’m startled when I see my birth name on something. So, call me Dana, and I’ll know who you’re talking about.

So, we know what to call each other. Now on to the important stuff.

First important thing: I’m not a geologist.

Exploring Doherty Ridge with George’s rock hammer.

Yes, that is indeed me on an outcrop, with a rock hammer. I can pass for a geologist in a good light, I’ll admit. But I’m not a professional geologist. I’m not even in school. I’m entirely amateur. Thing is, I have this love affair with rocks, and I do a massive amount of reading and research. Most of my best friends are geologists, and they send me papers and answer questions and write amazing blog posts and sometimes, when we can arrange to be in the same state, take me out and teach me how to bang on rocks. This is how a total amateur gets away with writing about geology without screwing it up utterly.

I’m a writer. I write blog posts, and I am writing speculative fiction stories, and a novel that I will somehow manage to complete, and a book on geology or two that I turn to when the fiction won’t come. I’ve been writing ever since my mother told me I was old enough to tell my own stories at the age of six, and I haven’t ever stopped. That’s over thirty years, for those of you who are curious. Not well over, but still, over.

I’m an atheist. And not just any old atheist, not even just a New Atheist, but one of those dreaded Gnu Atheists. The only use I have for religion is occasionally cannibalizing the more interesting ones for bits of myth to put into stories, and as fodder for rants. My religious friends have grown used to this, and even occasionally egg me on when I take off after a particularly egregious creationist. You’ll not see me do that quite as often as my fellow Freethought bloggers do – I’ve got other things I’m busy with – but I do love taking the metaphorical rock hammer to Flood geologists especially. Fun as that is, though, I enjoy celebrating atheism far more. Life as an atheist is gorgeous. I’ve seen both sides, you see: I was a Christian (briefly, long ago), and for a while a pagan, and an agnostic, but none of that worked. Atheism works. Life has never meant as much, been so precious or beautiful or worth living, as it has since I finally accepted I was an atheist, full stop. I wish I’d had the courage to do it sooner.

I’m a raging liberal. Got me start in political blogging, actually, and kept on with that until I ran out of new and creative ways to call Republicans fucktards. You will notice, however, that there’s a sleek, shiny implement hanging over the bar. It’s the Smack-o-Matic, and you’ll see me lovingly take it down on occasion and apply it to some deserving Con. I’d much rather blog about science and SF writing and other things that make me intensely happy, but there are times that require furious anger, savage snark, and perhaps even a touch of satire, and I’m never out of practice.

There are some people who will groan (I’m looking at you, PZ), but I own a cat. She is what convinced me to never have children of my own. If she’d been a human, I’d be one of those wretched mothers on the teevee apologizing for my serial killer offspring. She hasn’t actually killed anyone yet, though not for lack of trying. However, she’s beautiful and sometimes disgustingly cute, and I love her beyond measure and blog about her on occasion. Consider yourself warned.

I, along with Ed Brayton, am a ginormous Peacemakers fan. I blog about them sometimes, too. They are my favorite band, and I will sound like a hopeless fangirl, but if you come along with me to one of their shows, you’ll probably not emerge without at least a deep fondness for them, so you’ll forgive me for it one day. The title of this blog, in fact, comes from one of their shirts. In tequila is truth.

That’s one thing that threatens my atheist cred – I practically (I say, practically) worship them. The other threat is Doctor Who. Steven Moffat, people. That’s all I’m saying, and those of you who love the show will know exactly what I mean.

Last but not by any means least, I am a woman. I sometimes write about things pertaining specifically to women, and I’m way past the age where I think we’ve won all the battles and misogyny’s harmless and cute. If that’s something that threatens your sense of self, this is not going to be a comfortable cantina for you. For those interested in creating a world where women and men are on equal footing, you’ll be right at home.

Right, I think that’s enough babbling about myself. I want to take a moment to tell you about my regulars: they are incredible people, a wise and wonderful mix of geologists and bloggers and science geeks and political junkies and atheists and writers and incredible people who make me want to be the best blogger I can possibly be because they deserve nothing less. Without them, my world would be a far smaller, much duller place, and I wouldn’t be writing this right now. Raise a glass to them, my dear new readers, and join me in saying, “Salud!”

Then raise another glass to the incredible folks at Freethought Blogs who inflicted me upon you brought me on board: Stephanie Zvan, whose writing brings me to tears, elevates me to heights of joy, and brings on a nice righteous outrage – sometimes in the same post. PZ Myers, who got me started on this whole science blogging thing and helped me over the threshold from agnostic to atheist. Ed Brayton, who’s not only one of my favorite political and religious idiocy bloggers, but is a fellow Peacemakers fan. Ophelia Benson, who has introduced me to subjects I never thought about and made me care intensely about them. Jason Thibeault, who is not only a fabulous writer but a genius at making this whole migration thing painless. Raise a glass to everyone at Freethought Blogs, those glorious freethinkers who are making this world a better one, one post at a time.

And raise a final round for yourselves. Without you, my dear readers, these words would be nothing more than pixels on a screen. If I ever write something that inspires you, touches you, moves you, just remember: without you, it would be a lonely echo in a void. People like to think writing is a solitary art, but they’ve just failed to notice that magnificent audience, reading and engaging and egging the author on. You lot, you’re marvelous. Don’t ever forget that.

Are we suitably intoxicated? Right. On with it, then. ¡Vámonos!