Thank you to the American Atheists crowd

At the American Atheists conference I was scheduled to speak at the costume dinner (which had a price tag of $200 $50 to get in, I believe).  All day on twitter people were wondering if people who didn’t pay for the dinner could get in to see my talk.  Dave Silverman, who freaking rules, saw it and said the doors would open after dinner.  Seriously, Silverman gets it.

The dinner had all the celebrities present and people vying for their time.  Seemed like someone should go out and keep the waiters company, so I did.  At first it was about ten people waiting.  I gave them a sneak peak at a part of my talk, answered some questions, sang a bit for them, and then entertained with magic.  Jessica Ahlquist came by too and started talking to the fans who couldn’t get into the dinner.  After a bit there was about fifty people gathered around.

Here’s a pic, courtesy of the good peeps at JesusFajitaFishsticks.

Sophia Hernandez shot this video of me doing magic and goofing around. (video below the fold)

I loved getting to hang with everybody out in the hall.  It felt…honest?  It was just comfortable, with everybody hanging around having fun.  I thanked the crowd for what they did.

Eventually they opened the doors and decided to move my talk and the awards into the main hall.  Before I got up, the crowd was chanting my name and screaming that they loved me.  Who would have ever thought something like that would happen in my life?

As long as I have a career or any prominence in this movement, I want it to be like that.  I want people to be able to approach me comfortably.  I want to feel like I belong more in the crowd more than I belong on stage.  The flattery is nice, I won’t lie, but I never want to let it convince me that I’m not an equal part of this movement with everybody else – even if my role/skill set puts me on a stage from time to time.

You guys are the best.  I called my parents that night and told them what a great feeling it was to be around so many happy atheists and how flattered I was at your expressions of affection/gratitude.  I love you right back.

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • trevorobrien

    No, no — you da man. I insist.

  • Robert

    JT, we have a couple of vids of you singing we’re uploading today :)
    Thanks for the shout out!

  • Gordon

    Kicking myself that I missed it. Sounds like you knocked it out of the park!

  • TV200

    As long as I have a career or any prominence in this movement, I want it to be like that. I want people to be able to approach me comfortably. I want to feel like I belong more in the crowd more than I belong on stage.

    This,this, a hundred times this.
    When I was 13 years old,(in 1984 if that matters, ha!) I discovered this wonderful subculture called “punk”. I started going to punk shows, because of this attitude, and well, the energy of the music helped too. But it was this feeling that no matter if you were one of the audience, in a band that was just starting, or in one that had gained some notability, that the people in the crowd were the same ones that were on the stage. Yes, there were a few who wanted to be “rock stars”, and succeeded somewhat. But there were others who still maintain the “one of the crowd” attitude, while attaining some degree of success. It’s an attitude that I respect immensely.
    In short, I hope you become the Joe Shithead of atheism.