Monday, June 04, 2007

 

Steve Gilliard, RIP

The Armed Liberal posting at Winds of Change passes on news that Steve Gilliard died this past weekend. Beloved, we are told, on the left, despised (when acquainted) on the right, and probably rather anonymous outside blogging, Gilliard was a frequent contributor to The Huffington Post and founder of The News Blog.

Here’s how AL eulogized Gilliard:

The News Blog is very much a kind of Bizzaro Winds of Change; it's a progressive, antiwar site with an eye toward serious military knowledge. While we disagreed deeply on many many issues, it was a place where I went to see what smart antiwar people who weren't clueless about war had to say.

This weekend, Steve Gilliard, the founder of The News Blog died. He'd been profoundly ill for some time, and it was sad to go over and see what his co-bloggers were saying as his condition deteriorated.

We seldom agreed, never spoke or even emailed, but my world is smaller because he's gone.

Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit linked to Dean Bartlett, who likewise expressed condolences and payr Gilliard respect at Hugh Hewitt's Blog.

Barnett:

Most of you have probably never heard of Steve Gilliard. Steve was a Daily Kos front-pager, and then when his time there expired he formed his own blog. I always thought he was the most gifted wordsmith in the left half of the blogosphere. I don’t mean that as a damning-with-faint-praise backhanded compliment. The guy could write, even though I virtually never agreed with what he wrote.

Steve Gilliard died yesterday. The eulogy of Steve that appeared in the Daily Kos referred to him as “hard-nosed, independent, (and) acerbic. Steve often pissed off the same readers he wowed with his take-no-prisoners style.” I read Gilliard every day, and I can attest to the accuracy of this summation. He wowed me, and he pissed me off, usually multiple times in the same post. As I made my daily virtual stroll through the lefty blogs, I always looked forward to hitting his site. He was profane, angry and offensive, but also intelligent and still somehow fun.

I had one encounter with Gilliardthat I knew of – in the matter of my 2005 complaint, suggesting Gilliard was manipulating data to convey a false picture of defeat

. I posted this response early in OIF III tour in March 2005, when I had been in Iraq about two months or so.

Steve Gilliard responded in comments with respectful civility. Maybe the fact that I was at that moment serving in Iraq tempered what would otherwise have been a more typical response. Since that exchange in comments, I’d seen his posts from time to time. I decided pretty quickly that whatever rationality or reasoned argument he revealed in our exchanges in 2005. I think his “acerbic, take no prisoner style” grew exaggerated the more he grew in popularity in the left side of the blogosphere. (Not an uncommon phenomenon on either side of the blogging divide.)

Later in comments in the same post, the Liberal Avenger took up the line of argument.

Our debate in comments remained remarkably civil, despite our passion for our respective positions. That led to the creation of Debate Space, my now dormant attempt to initiate a civil debate between left and right (especially on Iraq, the military, and the war on terror). AL and I left Gilliard behind, and in over a dozen extended debates on a wide range of topics, made a fair demonstration that a civil debate was still possible between left and right sides of the blogosphere.

(Sigh.) That was then, this is now.

Tragically, the longer this fight lasts, the less and less room for (sane, rationale and non-vituperative) discussion on issues of critical importance to our nation. Where is that middle ground where reason and argument can lead to solutions?

And just as sadly, Gilliard, his many admirers on the left, and perhaps as many detractors on the right, abandoned that middle ground a long time ago.

Steve, in tribute to your too-short life, your passion, your writing, your friends and your admiring detractors, may I say, rest in peace.

We will all of us follow you some day, and well might we hope that others take note of our passing. For their betterment, in not for ours; we will be in Another’s Hands then.

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