A Thank You to the FtB Community.

My dearest comrades, commenters, lurkers and benefactors-

I am overwhelmed and overjoyed to report that our recent Mothers Day fundraiser brought in an astonishing, record amount:


As you know, 100% of these funds go toward retiring the substantial legal debt incurred from fighting Richard Carrier’s baseless lawsuit against our blog network and others, including PZ Myers personally. That so many of you stepped up with contributions large and small in support of this endeavor is truly humbling. Speaking only for myself, I am so very grateful to all of you, each and every one, who collectively make FtB a community, and one I feel honored to be a part of.

Others bloggers will speak for themselves here, live at 3:30pm EDT:

And a very special shout out is due to my esteemed FtB comrade Kristjan Wager for matching the first $1,000 in donations! I…just…WOW.

For the rest of you, I don’t know what, in particular, inspired your urge to click this link and enter a U.S. dollar amount.* Maybe something about the Mothers Day theme interested you, or gave you all the warm-‘n-fuzzy feelz? Perhaps you really enjoy the work we do here, and this is a way to say “hey, thank you.” Maybe you, too, feel like I do about being a part of the FtB community, and making a donation is an empowering way to make a stand in solidarity with everyone here. Maybe you just hate Richard Carrier, think he’s a grade-A @$$hole, and simply cannot abide the injustice of his senselessly wreaking financial havoc and harming undeserving targets.

Or maybe you are someone who takes opportunities to defend free speech whenever and wherever you can, because you understand it and truly value it. Unlike, say, certain loathsome creatures who shriek an awful lot about “censorship!” and “cancel culture!” while neither understanding nor truly valuing free speech at all, particularly whenever the “marketplace of ideas” renders its verdict on the value of their own words at $0.00.

And you know that for as long as SLAPP suits are A Thing, and @$$holes roam the land, the “free speech” protections enshrined in the first amendment to the U.S. constitution will never be truly free. I wrote about this in one of my previous fundraiser contributions:

Free speech isn’t really free. Sometimes defending it requires a serious commitment of time and money, and it especially requires people like PZ Myers and his co-defendants who are willing to make those sacrifices to fight for it. Too often, voices are simply silenced when the targets of suits cannot marshal the considerable resources needed to defend against them – even when, as in this case, the defendants are virtually certain to prevail as a matter of law. It is no small thing: both the SLAPP suits themselves and the fear of being targeted by one imperil First Amendment rights for all of us.

I think all of these reasons apply in my case to some degree.

Whatever moved you, please know that I am grateful to the bottom of my smoldering, little black heart.

With many thanks and in solidarity,

-Iris Vander Pluym

*Oh come on, who are we kidding? We all know what really sparked everyone to jack up May’s fundraiser totals. It was my extraordinary, jaw-dropping, glorious, inspiring artwork! You know, the sitewide ad for the fundraiser? Where I took one of Leonardo da Vinci’s Madonna and Child paintings, nixed the kid, and replaced him with an enormous swaddled spider in her arms. As an extra bonus thank you, here it is in higher resolution, for the downloading pleasure of all you wise connoisseurs and collectors out there:

Composite image of one of Leonardo da Vinci's Madonna and Child paintings, where I nixed the kid, and replaced him with an enormous swaddled spider in her arms.


  1. DrVanNostrand says

    That’s totally not how I interpreted that image. Because the swaddling kind of resembles being wrapped up in a spider web, I thought the spider was preparing to feast because Mary was sacrificing baby Jesus to her spider god.