March 3, 2010

The death of Jon Swift — a formidable blogger.

I'm very sorry to read about the death of Jon Swift — whose real name was Al Weisel. He died after 2 aortic aneurysms, which happened as he was on his way to his father's funeral, according to a comment on his blog — which hadn't been updated in about a year. The comment is (apparently) from his grieving mother.

Swift was a terrific writer. He liked to antagonize me, but that means nothing now, other than that I'm honored to have provided some raw material to a fine writer. Here, he pretends to find it fascinating that I stopped by his blog:
Although I am grateful for every one of the new readers who visited this blog in the last week, I am especially surprised and delighted with one new reader in particular who finally decided to drop in. For years she adamantly refused to read my blog or even mention my pseudonym even as she said the most scurrilous things about me. I'm not sure why she resisted coming here for so long unless it was because she was afraid that my writing was so persuasive and reasonable it would shake the very foundations of her carefully constructed world view and set off a dangerous logic loop in her brain that would cause it to short circuit. For many years she remained steadfast in her refusal to let one word of my prose sully the purity of her thoughts. But perhaps the evenings in Madison, Wisconsin, are particularly cold and lonely this time of year and perhaps she had had one too many glasses of wine by 5:30 p.m. on January 8, 2009. And so that evening, as a bitter wind howled outside her window, she checked her Sitemeter to see how many visitors Instapundit had sent her that day and saw yet another link from my site, just sitting there enticingly, beckoning, whispering, "Click me. Click me." Imagine the inner turmoil she experienced as she tried with all her might to resist clicking on the link. Must. Not. Read. Jon. Swift. Then her will power failed her and she could no longer resist, and throwing all caution to the wind, she finally succumbed and clicked that fateful link that whisked her away to my blog. And soon she was reading, feeling that first rush as my prose entered her veins. Who knew it could be so good, she said to herself as one by one the words swept away the cobwebs and the dust in the attic of her cranium, cluttered with crazy theories about breast-bearing feminists, the plots of unfinished books that bored her, deep insights into American Idol episodes and even that dark corner where Bill Clinton waits, crouched lasciviously, ready to betray her all over again. And imagine that moment when her giddy anticipation was finally fulfilled and she came to the first mention of her name, right there, right there in black and light brown, her name in all its glory!: Ann Althouse. So welcome to my modest blog, Ms. Althouse. I wish you had told me you were coming and I would have tidied up the place a bit. I hope you finally found what you were looking for.
He emailed to let me know he'd written that. He said:
Thanks for the visit. I hope you enjoyed it and will be coming back soon. But let me know next time when you're coming over and I'll tidy up a bit first.
I responded:
That post was awfully needy. Not that I read more than the parts right around my name.
He said:
You know, as reflexively mean as you can be sometimes, it's hard not to like you anyway.
I responded:
Okay, I gave you a link, since you bowed down to me.
He said:
Very funny. Thank you.
Jon Swift
Thank you, Jon Swift.

25 comments:

Triangle Man said...

I guess I have been under a rock. I was not aware of him or his nicely written blog until now.

MadisonMan said...

perhaps she had had one too many glasses of wine by 5:30 p.m. on January 8, 2009. And so that evening, as a bitter wind howled outside her window

The high on January 8th 2009 was 18. Not really cold enough for a bitter wind.

The snippet you post is charming writing, however.

Rialby said...

It's weird when bloggers pass on. What will remain of their writing when their gone? Is anybody truly archiving this stuff or is it up to the blogger?

There's so much great (and not so great) writing that's happened over the course of the last 10 years, I would hate to see it disappear.

Palladian said...

The Internet is forever, Rialby. Fear not.

Kim Priestap said...

I read Jon Swift's posts from time to time and enjoyed his writing every time I visited. I'm sorry to hear that he died. I'm particularly sorry to hear the circumstances surrounding how he died.

rhhardin said...

XKCD had a strip on the reboot dilemma after a user passes on.

garage mahal said...

I liked Swifty. Sad news.

Rialby said...

I know about that site but that's only a few dozen cached pages. What about the days they missed?

Look at this: http://web.archive.org/web/*/http://www.andrewsullivan.com

Back before Sully succumbed to delirium, he was producing great writing. Unless he archived it, it's gonzo just like his grip on reality.

MC said...

That's an extremely witty exchange, it seems we've lost a talent. My condolences to his friends, family and readers.

Mike Schilling said...

Good Lord, his poor mother lost both her husband and her son within a few days?

traditionalguy said...

A very impressive writer. Goes to show again that the best of people on this earth are mists that are blown away by the wind.

Chris said...

That's a pity. I used to read him more often and always enjoyed it.

Beth said...

A nice tribute. I enjoyed his blog and now I wish I'd read it more often.

A friend had an aneurysm Saturday night and at this point, there's no clear prognosis. It's such an unsettling thing.

Kevin Dean said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
SteveR said...

Gee Kevin, what an incredible ass you are. Seriously worse than sad.

blog reeper said...

I hated his blog... it was terrible...

Hugo Chavez said...

Even at his meanest, Swift was classy and funny. We can't always be funny, but it's a shame we can't be classy.

This was a classy tribute from one of the people Swift dug at most often. He would have appreciated it. Too bad that some in the comments are writing exactly the sort of thing Swift enjoyed lampooning.

Fred4Pres said...

I thought his blog funny, but I had not been there in years. This is sad news. RIP Jon, Al, Jon. RIP.

Fred4Pres said...

Jon Swift:

Some, like Pia Zadora and Milli Vanilli, achieve recognition in their lifetimes, while others, like President Bush and, apparently, this modest blogger, will only be judged by history when "we'll all be dead."

mlfcyw said...

My daughter emailed your site to me. Al (Jon) used to tell me about you and was so thrilled when you visited his site. He loved baiting you, baiting anyone he could, actually, and he usually giggled when he did it. He tormented all that he could, but with style and grace and you had to forgive him. He influenced just about everyone who crossed his path and made them a better person because of it. My favorite blog was his 'Mother's Day' rant which held just enough truth to make me know he loved me. I shall love and miss him forever. His Mom, Mimi

M. Sean said...

@Rialby - >It's weird when bloggers pass on. What will remain of their writing when their gone? Is anybody truly archiving this stuff or is it up to the blogger?

I recently wrote a newsletter for my law firm on this and related topics, and then I have been keeping updates at this site.

Joseph said...

That was a lovely exchange. Thanks for sharing.

Ann Althouse said...

Hi, Mimi. Thank you for coming by. You have my deepest sympathy in the loss of your son and your husband. He sounds like a terrific guy. I'm sorry I never got to meet him.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

I responded:
That post was awfully needy. Not that I read more than the parts right around my name.
He said:
You know, as reflexively mean as you can be sometimes, it's hard not to like you anyway.
I responded:
Okay, I gave you a link, since you bowed down to me.
He said:
Very funny. Thank you.
Jon Swift
Thank you, Jon Swift.


Ahhh... the ritual of conservative mutual acknowledgment. It's about as charming as a Vulcan mating trial.

mlfcyw said...

Hi Ann, Thank you. I think you would have liked him. He always nudged us to learn something new. I have been in awe of the number of lives he touched both as my son Al and as his alter ego Jon Swift. The stories we are hearing about him are making his passing a little easier to bear. I will miss him forever. Mimi Weisel