24 June, 2010

Why Is It Called Higginbotham At Large? Why is It Called Drinking Liberally?

Like most of my posts, this one is meant to answer questions I've been asked enough times to warrant a public answer. Today I'm answering questions about the name of my blog and the name of the liberal social group I re-launched.

Question 1 : “Why Is Your Blog Called ‘Higginbotham At Large’? Are You Running For Office?”

Every once in a while somebody asks me if the name of my blog presages some future run for an at large office. No.

Higginbotham At Large was the name an editor once gave to a column I wrote for him. He couldn’t pay much so I suspect he gave my column a name he thought would appeal to my ego in lieu of, you know, something useful like cash. Anyway, I liked the name and kept it for my blog.

Question 2: “’Drinking Liberally’? What Do You Guys Do, Sit Around Getting Drunk?”

I didn’t think of the name, I just started (or more accurately re-started) the Charleston chapter. The Charleston chapter was actually begun by lawyer Jennifer Hughes but was inactive when I re-launched it (with her blessing) in Fall of 2009.

The name “Drinking Liberally” has been problematic. The Charleston Newspapers wouldn’t print my meeting announcements in the Bulletin Board section under the name “Drinking Liberally” so I started sending in announcements under the name of the umbrella org, Living Liberally.

I even get grief for the name “Drinking Liberally” from other liberals. All three times I’ve appeared as a guest on his Huntington radio show, Bobby Nelson has made hiccup noises and asked about the name so I had to explain to listeners that, no, we don’t just sit around and get drunk.

Some young dudes who, I suspect, may have thought of it in a New York bar at around 2AM started drinking Liberally 7 years ago in a place very, very different than Charleston, WV. It probably seemed like a good idea at the time but young New York dudes had no way of knowing “Drinking Liberally” might not sell out here in flyover country where people who drink beer don’t admit publicly that they drink beer because they go to Baptist churches where nobody else admits publicly that they drink beer.

So let me take this opportunity to say what Drinking Liberally / Living Liberally means to me. I think the mission and purpose of the Charleston chapter of Drinking Liberally is to provide lonely liberals who have no other tribe with a tribe. It’s no accident that 3 of our 4 hosts are transplants and that most of our “regulars” are not native West Virginians. Natives already have tribes. Transplants or new liberals don’t have liberal tribes so Drinking Liberally can be their tribe, that place where they’re not an outsider. At every meeting we give everybody plenty of opportunity to make a 3-minute introductory elevator speech to tell us about their issue, their political campaign, their organization, job openings at their organization or anything else they may want to tell us. After everybody has had a chance to introduce themselves and exchange business cards, we talk about whatever people want to talk about. These discussions lead to collaborations, employment, donations and fun liberal fellowship.

If you don't have a liberal tribe, come to a Drinking Liberally meeting. Most of us know what it feels like to have no tribe so we'll welcome and accept you.

Now, let me tell you what Higginbotham At Large means to me. Higginbotham At Large is simply a public place where I park my thoughts on the subjects that people ask me about. When the same question comes up a few times I write an answer, park it at Higginbotham At Large, and then send the link to people who ask that question in the future.

Occasionally, one of my posts gets unexpected attention and tempts me to start writing for a different audience and for a different purpose. Back in December of 2009 I wrote a couple of posts about "Referrals and Relationships" that SMPS.org decided were "outstanding business development advice" so they put a link to my blog on their site. While it was nice to get emails from SMPS members around the nation I was briefly tempted to make Higginbotham At Large a different kind of blog. Similar things have happened when I've written about gay rights and why I'm not a member of AARP and a few other topics, but these are just distractions. Higginbotham At Large is just a public place where I park my answers to recurring questions.

If you would like to be a guest blogger, email me at JosephHigginbotham@gmail.com or call me at (304) 550-6710.

Higginbotham At Large publishes reader comments, both positive and negative but Higginbotham At Large will publish no pseudonymous, anonymous or profane comments or comments from readers hiding behind those childish “CB handle” IDs or the names of businesses or organizations.

Your Higginbotham At Large blogger is serving on a broad-based private / public task force whose mission is to reduce the disproportionately high unemployment rate of workers age 50 and up. In today’s job market, people in their late 40s and early 50s are the first fired and the last hired. When we have the right combination of private and public sector employers and employment experts at the table we will form a branded, org that performs public services and provides networking and educational events designed to help enlightened, self-interested employers connect with talented older workers.

Do you know someone who should serve with me on this task force? If so, please send them my way at (304) 550- 6710. We are especially interested in getting PRIVATE sector employers at the table.

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