The Orbit welcomes you!

Welcome to The Orbit, a brand spanking new collective of social justice advocating, atheist writers from across the blogosphere! Have you seen the names on the front page? We have some amazing talent onboard. Some of the them are people whom I’ve read many times over the years. Others are people who, I’m sad to say,  were not on my radar until recently (that’s changing though). And then there’s me.

I began my blog (then known as The Shoop’s Roost) just under two years ago as a place to talk about a range of topics, from issues of concern to me to subjects I find entertaining. I didn’t have any aspirations for the blog, aside from the hope that anyone who stumbled across it found something interesting or worth their time. And what do you know-that’s what happened! I’ve been humbled by the overwhelmingly positive responses from readers of the blog. Until a few short months ago, I figured I’d remain in my little corner of the internet doing my own thing.

And then the invite came.

“How would you feel about joining a new online collective of atheist social justice activists?”

Imagine for a second that you’re a musician in a small town. You’ve loved music for ages and you have favorite bands big and small. You’ve been writing your own music and bought your own guitar and play at local restaurants and watering holes. You don’t have any huge aspirations apart from making a few dollars and entertaining others through your music. Then one day, out of the blue, you’re in the middle of playing for the Sunday brunch crowd at a local restaurant and a woman walks up and tips you and says she enjoys your music. You smile and realize you know who she is. She’s a member of one of your favorite bands. After you finish your set, she strikes up a conversation and reiterates that she thinks you’re a good musician and asks if you’d like to join her band.  Imagine the look you’d have on your face. Would it be one of shock or perhaps one of disbelief ? When I was approached to join The Orbit, *that* was the face I had. At that point, I’d been like that small town musician. I had been participating in the online atheist/skeptic community for over 5 years and been speaking out on social justice issues for roughly the same time. All of a sudden, this group of impressive writers wants *me* to join them? That’s an honor. While I was content to remain where I was, the opportunity to work with a group of like-minded individuals in such a unique environment was enticing, as was the possibility of raised visibility for my blog. You can guess my response to the invitation.

So here I am. if you’re wondering who I am, my  name is Tony Thompson. I hail from the Southeast United States. In addition to being an atheist and social justice advocate, I’m also an African-American, cisgender, gay man. My sexuality and my ethnicity both inform a good bit of the subject matter that I write about here at the Progressive Pub (so named bc it’s a progressive environment and up until last year I was a bartender). I’m also a tv, movies, Nettflix kinda guy, with my favorite genres being science fiction, fantasy, some horror, and of course superheroes.

I’ve been a lifelong comic book reader. I think the first comic book I had was an old copy of Marvel Tales, a series that reprinted the 1960’s adventures of Spider-Man. I seriously began collecting comics in my teens, and over time managed to acquire a substantial collection. Though I’m largely a Marvel and DC guy, I do venture outside the Big Two at times. As I look across the television and movie landscape, this is a pretty great time to be a superhero fan. I remember growing up (child of the 80’s here) and loving the Avengers and the Justice League. I imagined how cool it would be to see them in the movies or on television, but aside from the Superman movies and few other lackluster films, there wasn’t much for superhero fans to sink their teeth into on the big screen or the small. But today? Hoo-boy. It’s like the cinematic golden age for superheroes, with multiple films in the last decades from characters like Spider-Man, Captain America, Batman, the Avengers, Thor, and more. On television, we’ve got the likes of iZombie, Arrow, Flash, Supergirl, Walking Dead (and the likes of Preacher are on the way). To top that off, we Netflix, which has changed the game and upped the standards for adapting comic books to film with their equally amazing shows Daredevil and Jessica Jones.  You can expect me to geek out often on comics and comic related media.

I don’t have an official commenting policy as yet (that will change in the future), but a few guidelines are:

  • Generally speaking, I encourage commenters to treat one another respectfully and with civility where possible, especially at first glance. Try to grant an individual the benefit of the doubt if you come across a comment that rubs you the wrong way. *However*, I do not fetish civility, and in fact, I think it is too often used as a tool of repression.
  • Along those lines, I use so-called profanity and have no problem with anyone doing the same. Note that profanity/swearing/cursing is not the same as using slurs.
  • I don’t tolerate bigotry or the use of any bigoted slurs. No racism, no anti-LGBT nonsense, no abelism. No disparaging of people because of the integral aspects of their identity. Use of such language will get you put into moderation or banned, depending on my mood.
  • In your criticism of others, please focus on ideas and not the person as much as possible.
  • I don’t mind a little thread drift, but try to stay on topic as much as possible. if you want to chat with people at length about something that is off-topic, the Speakeasy is the perfect place for that. The Speakeasy is the social thread at the Pub, where you can talk about anything under the sun, from the joys and frustrations in your life, to your favorite movies or music. There is no off-topic there.
  • Related to that, the various anti-social justice malcontents and miscreants in the online atheist community are not welcome here and that is not a violation of anyone’s free speech. I am under no obligation  to provide a platform for people to speak from and given the nature of these individuals, I refuse to allow them to use my space as they see fit.
  • First-time commenters will go into moderation until their comment is approved. After that, you’re free to comment wherever and whenever you’d like.
  • Please, no spam or attempts to sell products.

If you’re looking to get a feel for my writing, here are some post you might be interested in:

Why I am not overly excited about Batman vs Superman.

For all those complaining about the lack of a White History Month, here you go. Try not to choke.

Are you interested in an African-influenced space opera?

I loved Daredevil and Jessica Jones. Here’s why.

A question for straight people.

Some methods of parenting should be criticized.

That’s should be enough to get you started! If not my blog, I hope readers will take a look around The Orbit to see what my fellow writers have to say. I suspect there is very  nearly something for everyone here.

If you like what you read, please consider donating to our Kickstarter. Thanks to our generous readers, we’ve met our first fundraising goal today! If you are unable to donate, consider sharing your favorite posts on social media.

The Orbit welcomes you!