October 07, 2007
Happy blog birthday to me
Posted by: Chris
Amidst all the hullabaloo this week over ENDA and such, I missed marking the one-year birthday of this here blog, which commenced Oct. 3, 2006.
I knew even before I decided to leave the Washington Blade and move to Brazil that I would start my own blog. I had been along with my close friend and colleague Steve Koval the primary blogger for the Blade Blog ever since it debuted in August 2004. Even still, I launched Citizen Crain in a hurry, only a couple of weeks after I left the Blade, because the Mark Foley scandal was enveloping Washington, and it killed me to stay silent, when I had been covering Foley for years.
Despite those years writing for the Blade Blog, having my own was an adjustment for me, after a decade of writing 1,000-word editorials week in and week out. I appreciate those of you who wade through my longer posts. It was also an adjustment to write without pre-publication feedback. I made some early mistakes, and was taken to the woodshed (thankfully in private) by my friend Andrew Sullivan for what he saw as my campaign to villify Jeff Trandahl, the chief House clerk who oversaw the page program.
Trandahl and Kirk Fordham, who both found themselves in the white hot glare of press scrutiny based on someone else's odious conduct, are both good people who deserved better, including from me. I continue to believe that I raised important questions about how the closeted and semi-closeted gay Republicans on the Hill dealt with "the Foley problem," but I no doubt fell guilty to assuming the worst in the way I asked the questions.
Since that scandal, I've reveled in the freedom to opine on whatever subject, without worrying how my view might impact a larger institution, like the Blade , Southern Voice and the other gay papers I edited. (Some would say I didn't worry so much about that before, but in fact I did.) Because a blog is so personal, it was personally very gratifying that so many of you have visited over the first year.
I appreciate the early links and support since from Andrew and the guys over at Gay Patriot, North Dallas Thirty and The Malcontent. I've always felt more accepted by gay conservatives, perhaps because of my own Republican past or because they "get" my criticisms of "gay-friendly" Democrats. But the truth be told, I am much more comfortable as an independent and except in local D.C. votes I haven't pulled the lever for more than a handful of Republicans in more than a decade. When I watch the news, I generally view positive developments for Democrats as positive for me, and the contrary with Republicans.
I'm not sure exactly how to label myself, although "progressive" probably fits the best. Reading Andrew's book "The Conservative Soul," I was struck by just how hard he was working to reclaim the conservative name, even as those who self-identify as such had moved leagues away ideologically. I long ago gave up that fight, and maintain a very optimistic view about the march of human progress in all things.
Some commenters on this blog and elsewhere have accused me of sucking up to Andrew or trying to be his twin. I'll plead innocent to both. I disagree with him regularly, including on very big things like the Iraq war, which I opposed from the outset. At the same time, I will freely acknowledge here what I have never told him personally: I have been an ardent admirer of his work and the way he has lived his life since his days at the New Republic. I am one of many who have been greatly influenced by the example he sets, and I am happy to say so.
I also want to give special thanks to a couple of bloggers who helped me out in simply figuring out the medium. At the top of that list is Jeremy Hooper (pictured), who blogs over at Good As You (G-A-Y). He has endured with cheerful patience my endless questions about the inner-workings of Typepad and HTML. He was so kindly and gentlemanly, in fact, that I had assumed he was some elderly retired gent sharing niblets of what he knew about the world of the Net. You could've knocked me over with a feather when I saw his photo recently -- "Que gato!" as they say down here in Brazil.
Speaking of Brazil, I'm grateful for the small but incredible network of gay bloggers opened up to me by my move here. At the top of that list are two of my very best friends here in São Paulo: Marcos (Carioca Virtual) (pictured) and my fellow gringo Kevin (Club Whirled), who like me left behind the Beltway life for the love of a Brasileiro.
I enjoyed a very blogger moment just last weekend when the three of us adopted-Paulistas (as natives of São Paulo are called) were at a birthday party here for a friend from Belo Horizante when we were joined by Juliano, the popular blogger over at Made In Brazil -- a must-read English language blog for all things gay, Brazilian and fashionista. (Juliano, like Jeremy, is a very pleasant surprise to the eyes in person. Not all bloggers are the stereotypical scruffy, underwear clad slobs).
More thanks go to Augusto, a Brasileiro living in Canada with his U.S. boyfriend, who commiserates with me about America's discriminatory immigration policy. Augusto's must-read gay-sensitive film reviews are over at Queer Beacon. And although he's Colombian and not Brazilian, Andrés Duque (Blabbeando) has been a lifeline for gay news from Latin America, and a wonderful supporter along the way.
But the Brazilian most responsible for this blog is my partner Anderson, who has come to accept that I'm glued to my MacBook at all hours, even when the beaches of Ipanema were calling our names from just three blocks away. His love and support have meant everything to me.
And last but certainly not least, thank you. I am grateful that you take the time to visit, whether or not you agree with anything I have to say. Thank you as well for all your comments, on the blog and by email as well. I hope you will join in the debate here. We'll all be the better for it.
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