I just have to say that I totally despise the “e-begging” nonsense: not the requests for donations, but all the assholes who come squirming out of the woodwork to sneer at people who have financial difficulties, who make pleas for donations to support the work you are reading, who think it is somehow a mark of inferiority that someone does not have a prestigious job to support the leisure activity of writing, and are offended that they’re asked to maybe, voluntarily, donate a small sum to an author who’s having a hard time making ends meet.
Ultimately, the complaints are rooted in classism and bigotry. I’m in the odd position of being financially rock-solid — not rich by any means, but economically stable, with good health insurance to protect me from catastrophe, which, come to think of it, does mean I’m wealthy — yet here I am promoting people who are the less widely heard voices in freethought, and they generally have less robust incomes than I do. There is a big gay and transgender pay gap, and an even wider pay gap for racial minorities, and yet, when someone with less dares to hold out a hand and ask for some help, the hecklers all come to mock me, which is just plain weird. It’s as if they not only scorn the underprivileged, but they despise them so much they don’t want to even talk to the person, but instead come to spit in the face of the old white man, because he’s the one with authority.
The first time this happened, years ago, I was so discombobulated that I actually asked the asshole what he was complaining about; I said that I whole-heartedly supported people who asked for voluntary donations, and that those of us who could, should be chipping in to promote talent. Apparently, that was the problem: that I was enabling “freeloaders”, so I was responsible for the epidemic of begging that was annoying him.
Apparently, too, writing is something people should do for free, because hey, anyone can do it. It’s strange how so few authors get paid what they’re worth, then.
Well, fuck that.
Also, have you noticed all the outrage directed at Anita Sarkeesian because she’s held wildly successful fundraisers? These are donations by people who appreciate the fact that she promotes an important and interesting perspective, and they freely give to support her work, and this stirs up intense resentment among certain other kinds of people…who say nothing about the “e-begging” of Thunderf00t or Sargon of Akkad, which, apparently is something fundamentally different and isn’t even called “e-begging”.
And, as a mentioned, I get to be the recipient of all these bullying complaints about people who ask for a few dollars to support their writing. All that means, of course, is that I get to witness first hand how these whiners react to people of color, or gay or transgender people, reminding them of their privilege. I also get to be dumbfounded at my privilege, which is to be treated as the master who is supposed to keep all the little people in line.
The latest case: Tony is trying to make ends meet. So I get to hear all these weirdly inappropriate insults because, obviously, I have something to do with allowing these “e-beggars” to pollute their internet (I also get supportive suggestions, so it’s not as if the internet is entirely a cesspit). It’s weird because Tony is on a different network, I’ve never met him, and he doesn’t even like me very much, but because I’m the Emperor of all things SJW within atheism, I’m responsible. They have such a blithely authoritarian perspective. Note also: these are people who are so ravingly anti-black, anti-gay, and anti-SJW that the only reason they can be reading Tony’s blog is to metaphorically spit on it, and they’re complaining about a donation request that won’t take a penny out of their pocket.
So I’m going to come out and say it: if you want to see a greater diversity of ideas on the internet, if you want to promote greater equality, and if you’ve got the financial ability to do so, you should seek out people other than us noisy old white cis-het men, and put your money where your mouth is. If you like Tony’s writing, give him a little help. If you want to hear more from other than the usual suspects with the big bullhorns, look around, explore, and read what they write…and if they have a “donations” button, click on it. It’s good for everyone.
And now when the jerks come complaining to me that I’m
enabling freeloaders, I’ll be able to say that yes, I try to enable writers, but you’re mistaken. My job is to shut down assholes, goodbye.