All the time now, I’ve got people yammering at me about how I’m an awful, terrible, wicked person because I’ve become what I hate. I’ve got one guy calling me the “god of atheism”, another person calling me part of the “high priesthood of atheism”, illustrated with that lovely photoshopped image to the right. Then I’m accused of “believing [my] own press” and “thinking [I] can do no wrong” because my “swarm of mindless groupies” are all telling me my every word is golden.
You know, if I actually started believing my press, I’d have to go shoot myself. The only people lauding me as an atheist god or pope are the people who detest me; there are whole sites out there dedicated to spitting on Pharyngula, and my mailbox is full of missives telling me how arrogant/stupid/evil/ugly/Jewish/female (yeah, they think those last two are insults) I am, and very few praising what I’ve written. Here on my own blog, some people despise me, and even my allies nag and carp and pick at every phrase (which is what I expect). Ah, what I’d give for at least one blind, obedient minion who’d revere me as a deity…why, I might pay as much as a quarter.
You have to have a thick skin to be an assertive blogger on the internet; my primary input from the world is not that I’m coddled in a little bubble of approval, but that I’ve put myself in a prime position for every rock-thrower out there to take a shot at me. I don’t post with the attitude that I’ll get accolades for every word, but as an act of defiance.
And then we got complaints like that one on bitchspot, which dismiss every one who even partially agrees with me as “highly fanatical followers” who must “Stop being a groupie. Stop bowing before the altar.” That isn’t legitimate, valid criticism. That’s a kind of blindness in itself, treating everyone who might align themselves with my position as incapable of independent thought. It is a dishonest, dismissive tactic. What we have here is a horde of thoughtful, often angry people who think science, social justice, and the Enlightenment are good things, and are willing to fight for their causes.
Whining that I am an atheist pope is also incredibly dishonest, but OK, I resign. I’ll stop doing the things that make me equivalent to a high-ranking priest. I’ll give up my non-profit status. I’ll sell off my Italian villas and all their exquisite, priceless furnishings and art. I’ll give up the support of a well-established atheist institution, staffed with lawyers and professional apologists and PR persons. I’ll step down from my official position at the top of the atheist hierarchy. I’ll stop dogmatically pushing the infallible words of Charles Darwin on the populace. I’ll take off my uniform that grants me special privileges and respect.
I’ll just become an ordinary citizen, a guy with a blog. Will that do? Or is it expected that I also shut that down and be silent?
Because that’s all these baseless criticisms of my godless papacy are about: I’m already nothing but a guy with a blog, and there isn’t much more I can give up to satisfy these wanking whiners.