Let’s face it, writing for a freethinking website often seems like a thankless job. A well thought of article may take anywhere from a whole night, a whole day or maybe more to research, mull over, write, and proofread. Then if and when you do post it, you shouldn’t expect glowing compliments all over like you would when writing an inspirational post in a religious site where you’d be awash with “Amen, brother“, “Bless you!” and “You are doing the Lord’s work” just by quoting a few bible verses and writing about how your prayers were answered. There, you can expect instant gratification and mutual back-patting, not matter how superficial or cliché.
But this is the freethinking crowd we’re talking about here, the trademark qualification being industrial-grade skepticism about everything and an almost pathological urge to debate and dissect everything. I expect no quarter to be given nor do I want one. At least not if I want to preserve my intellectual integrity by writing about what I truly feel and not worry about pleasing my target market. And that’s only worrying about your legitimate reader-base, you still have to worry about the ubiquitous fundamentalist trolls taking pot-shot comments in the shadow of anonymity (yes those same fanatics whose god commanded them to love their neighbors, love their enemies, turn the other cheek, yadda-yadda…) .
It’s a pretty vulnerable position up on that soapbox. Everything to lose and nothing to gain (ok maybe I’m just being a bit over-dramatic, maybe not everything, just your writer’s pride, and the realization that you just wasted that many hours crafting your piece to be ignored or ridiculed). It’s the stark realization that this really is a thankless job, not the writer’s block that continually plagues the writer in me.
Does this sound like whining? Maybe it is. But it’s an honest assessment on the biggest stumbling block I’ve encountered, and perhaps what other potential writers may also feel. I’m relatively new to writing and atheist world and as such, I still haven’t built up that tough layer of epidermis to withstand all the slings and arrows of bad reviews. People like Hitchens, opinionated bastards that they are, may have no problems withstanding their detractors, but that’s part of their job and they get paid for it. This is like voluntarily jumping into the lion’s den.
But why do we still do it? What is this masochistic streak of seemingly irrational behavior that still compels us to write, knowing the outcome is rarely pleasant? It’s because we value truth more than convenience. When everybody else is content to view the world through rose-tinted glasses, we’re the first ones to come out and say “Hey, things are really beginning to suck, and we should be fixing this now!” Its not cynicism, its pragmatism-in-practice.
While the rest of the world is content to sing songs of praise and thanksgiving, taking comfort in the notion that everyone else who may not look like them, dress like them, or act like them are going straight to hell, we’re the ones putting our foot down exclaiming “Now that’s a really screwed-up way of thinking!” Are we being wet blankets? of course! The world needs wet blankets. A wet blanket is the best thing to put out all the fires out there. All those smoking little bonfires that everyone else just seems to ignore even when its right in front of them – discrimination against gender, race, creed, sexual orientation, marital status, not to mention antiquated laws that need to be updated given today’s world. The fires that burned witches ages ago are the same fires that still condemns all the minority groups who are too few to stand up to the juggernaut of superstition-based beliefs.
So go ahead all you Filipino Freethinkers! Let your voices be heard!