Steve Gilliard -- my blogfather and a one of the genuine masters of the form -- died two years ago today.
Which, of course, tells you nothing.
So instead of let me tell you something.
More after the jump, open thread in comments...
Steve left the bright lights and accolades of being a front-pager on Barsoom and hung up “The News Blog” shingle on August 3, 2003, and it should surprise no one who read him on even a semi-regular basis that his first post was entitled “Why Blacks don't vote Republican” and fairly hummed with his signature clear, unapologetic, incandescent-enough-to be-seen-from-orbit style--
Now, in the real world, the GOP still tolerates racists. Not the "I'm not comfortable around black people kind" or the "my family would never accept a black person kind", but the "I hate coons" kind. Some would never ever use those words, but the GOP has two problems with blacks, and they don't care about addressing either one.
Most average black people are socially quite conservative, even if economically, they would be progressive. But the idea of being subervient to people who clearly seem to relish making the lives of the poor and black harder is insulting. So the GOP gains no traction.
Ultimately, the GOP has to decide, either continue to support racists or embrace a wider America. Until it does, it will be the party of decline.”
-- that was to become cool water in a vast media desert for so many of us over the next few years.
His next few posts on “Vichy Democrats”, the political naiveté of Arnold Schwarzenegger and the intersection of military strategy and foreign policy drew on his strengths as a historian, journalist and hard-core political junkie and established a basic motif that Gilly would return to literally thousands of times over the next four years: bringing his strong, well-informed and impenitent writing to bear on politics, the media, war, race, sex and history.
However this snip from a “Thank You” post from his first day on the beat will give you a better sense of Gilly and his mission than any words of mine:
This blog will reflect my interests, which will cover more technology than your other left-of-center blogs. I've been a registered Democrat since I was 18 and I don't see that changing. I know politics, but I don't have much of a political agenda.
As a rule, insulting me is pointless. I don't know you, unless I know you, and I have friends and a life, so I'll just ignore or toss the insults. Argue the facts and things will be fine.
And since I'm here, let me say something else:
I don't play cute with the war fan club folks at LGF, Newsmax, Tacticus, Opinion Journal and the rest of them. I think they're wrong. They're wrong about this war, this country and the people who run it. I don't respect their opinions, because that's all they have. They insult their opponents, they denigrate their arguments and they offer few facts. I grew up with conservatives who actually respected other people's opinions. These people want to crush their opponents and treat their arguments as irrelevant. They're not interested in discussion, but polemics. Their arguments are wrong and I will say they're wrong when I discuss them.
Or. if you’re not one for long bios, then simply this:
Steve Gilliard began The News Blog on August 3, 2003.
He blogged powerfully and prodigiously on media, politics, war, race, sex and history for four years, always with an eye towards reshaping journalism itself.
And a billion newspapers went belly-up.
(Yeah, I stole it from Mark Twain. So sue me.)
See you around, pal; breaks my heart that I never got a chance to meet and thank you face-to-face.
And, of course, Eff the Effing Yankees. Now and forever.