Miscellaneous writing

  • Foolish Thing Desire
    For gay men, the intersection of sex and race brings out the worst in a small number of people, who then make headaches for everyone else.
  • Deserve American
    Reducing citizenship to where you're born diminishes what it means to be an American for everyone.
  • This Land Is Your Land
    Journalist Jose Antonio Vargas came out as undocumented and challenged the nation on what it means to be American.
  • Daniel's Choice
    Faced with a decision between living with integrity or living a lie, West Point graduate and Iraq War veteran Lt. Daniel Choi chose honesty
  • Cross Cultural
    Cooking my first Thanksgiving dinner for my in-laws last year, things were going perfectly up until the point when I sliced off the tip of my finger.
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About Sean Bugg

  • I’m the co-publisher of Metro Weekly, Washington, DC’s biggest and best gay and lesbian publication. Over the course of my 40-something years, I've been a good little golden boy, a sub-Ivy-League college grad, an annoying activist, a very active party boy, a humorist and a journalist -- if those last two have any distinction. In addition to the magazine, I’m a freelance writer, car reviewer, book addict, gamer, amateur tennis player and reasonably successful husband. I have my hands full.
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C'mon Sean, the bitchy slaps on Chris are a little much. I don't see MW as a "small" publication, never have. But this all has a little bit of a ring of the little dog yapping at the medium-sized one. It's beneath you.

CC, if Sean doesn't answer and you would welcome another set of eyes on your list, just say so and I'll offer a perspective that might help sharpen your own - you know, hopefully, I mean.

Michael, it's just my 2-cents and >>>nothing more<<<, but can't you see how aggressive hauling along a camera to a meeting is? It's like that old joke, "You know it is going to be a bad day, when you get up and '60 minutes' is on your doorstep."

I don't know why HRC doesn't use electionic bulletin boards and other things to help integrate themselves into the community. I think they miss out on mashaling resources, on force multipliers that are available just for the asking.

Unlike you, I don't ascribe it all to arrogance. In some ways, it's organizational nature. I'm NO pro - repeat no pro - but it seems to me that very few organizations in general like to open themselves up. Usually, a bunch of people get together in a room and hash out what they want to do and why, maybe they reach consensus, but often they do not even have that. Still, someone has to make a decision. Before you know it, it is midnight (or next month) and folks are tired - tired of trying to think of everything and to "get it right" without fail. At that point, the last thing they probably want to do is go have the same discussions/arguments all over again, in public where there is even less control and order, with a heap of people who (a) don't come to the table with the same information set (i.e. raising the spectre of having to hold an 'education' session) and (b) may often just looking for ways to be dissatsified because of some other gripe.

Last, I would also suggest that some people are jealous of their careers and who can blame them? They have great jobs, they work for causes they firmly believe in, they have a gay-friendly environment/bubble that allows them to integrate all aspects of their life and never have to worry about an asshole boss or new marketing chief who is homophobic and keeps shitting on their work performance or whatever else. So, no, they have a 'natural' non-interest in holding a public seminar in how to think about thier work and their jobs, to "train" others, if you will. So, in the end, they usually appoint a public-relations specialist to handle 'the message', often in a rigid way, to be conservative and avoid flaps that only take up time.

Nevertheless, if you approach most people in not-for-profit in the right way, it has always been my experience that, if you get the right person, they are just joyous to talk about what they are working on and why. You can catch a lot of flies with honey.

One other comment.

If you have ever been inside the hallowed walls of say, the Ford Foundation (and I have and greatly respect that org), you know that you can hear a pin drop in that place. Some non-profit, at the highest levels, can be a very surreal, formal, and almost snobby environment. The nature of the work lends itself to that.

Anyway, my point is that if HRC, whose offices I have never visited, are even half of that (with proviso that they are not a grant making group, per se), I can understand why it all might rub people the wrong way. Still, if you make no attempt to understand them and they make no attempt to understand you, how does anyone benefit?

>Michael wants to take a one-man crew with him and go *film* their upcoming, non-public SF meeting - is that the kind of "legitimate criticism" that you want to get behind?

Oh, so the problem is me wanting to hear what Joe has to say and tape it, not the fact that HRC is not holding any public meetings with our national leader while he's in SF? I wish I knew where and when HRC was holding public town hall meetings for the community.

Chris Crain here:

Sean, it's a bit curious to see you diss me even while you agree with me that:
1. HRC focuses too much on champagne fund-raisers and not enough on its mission.
2. With the sizable resources they take from the gay community ought to come sizable scrutiny.
3. Tim Gill offers an attractive alternative for gay donors.
4. The Globe story highlighted how HRC has devoted too few resources to fight state amendments and too much on electing Democrats.
5. HRC should not come out so early and often for the other HRC, Hillary.
6. HRC should be truly bipartisan where it can in supporting candidates, which means sticking with pro-gay GOP incumbents. (BTW, I wrote editorials back in '98 defending HRC's endorsement of D'Amato and clearly it hasn't hurt them or gays with Schumer).
7. HRC has handled the blog backglash badly and acted almost Bush-like in claiming its critics are helping "the enemy."

Where do we disagree? Your Washington-weary reminder that "it's the nature of the beast" for groups to inflate their numbers and cave on principles in favor of donors.

In fact, the original Blade story (from two years ago, and not credited by you) that Sullivan relied on in criticizing HRC's book-cooking "member" tally compared HRC, NGLTF, NCLR, PFLAG and even AARP: None of the others counts members the "creative" way HRC does. And HRC's methodology was criticized in the Blade piece by the National Council of Non-Profit Associations. Is that bar really too high for you?

As for the "vitriol" and "animosity" that you say characterizes the debate, perhaps you shouldn't have checked your "genteel Southernness" before writing your posts.

You take a couple of bitchy shots at me without any explanation, and you and I have never even had a one-on-one conversation. As far as I can remember, we've only even met once. I'm sure it has nothing to do with the fact I edited a competing publication for five years. :)

I remember the D'Amato endorsement and just rolled my eyes at the time, as I lamented the nature of the beast. It's like high noon in Washington as "they" pick who is on the list and who is not and the other "theys" become outraged (Log Cabins included, but you've links some too from 1998), as if the peon gay-voters cared about their posturing one iota.

I remember the HRC when they didn't endorse candidates (that I know) and they would send "mailgrams" to Congress on your behalf on important issues. When they left off doing that in favor of endorsements or whatever, I had to have a friend explain to me that was how Washington worked, not to worry.

Anyway, where do you see a chorus of valid criticism arising? I've followed it day-by-day on my blog and, frankly, if anyone approached me that way that Sullivan did the HRC I'd have been less chartiable.

They offered him a meeting and he turned them down. Yet he decries their transparency. Go figure. Michael wants to take a one-man crew with him and go *film* their upcoming, non-public SF meeting - is that the kind of "legitimate criticism" that you want to get behind?

No one is above criticism, but I dislike bullies even more.

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