Friday, March 02, 2012

Forgetting Steven Gilliard

Following the death of friendly acquaintance Andrew Brietbart, Andrew Sullivan haz a big, 'ol sad about the perils of being Andrew Sullivan:
In the new 24/7 mediaverse, in a brutal, unending culture war, with the web unleashed and news and opinion flashing every few seconds, you can very easily lose yourself, and forget how and why you got here in the first place. There have been times writing and editing this blog on that kind of insane schedule for more than a decade when I have wondered who this new frantic way of life would kill first. I do not doubt that Andrew tried to keep a balance, and stay healthy, but like the rest of us, became consumed with and overwhelmed by this twittering, unending bloghorreic chatter. It takes a much bigger physical, emotional and spiritual toll than most realize, and I've spent some time over the years worrying it could destroy me. 

Mr. Sullivan ends his cautionary tale with this:
 He is in that sense our first new-media culture-war fatality. I fear he won't be the last.
No, Andrew, he was not.

He may have been the first, privileged, white, male, Conservative, celebrity-personal-acquaintance-of-yours-whose-circumstances-and-age-screams-"mortality"-in-your-ear, but for the true, first "new-media culture-war fatality" you need to think "blacker".

Think "liberal".

Think "not a completely conscienceless, lying scumbag".

I know that, like all Conservatives,  you're not very good at "remembering" stuff from the "past" that makes you look "like a complete idiot", so let me give you another hint.

Steve Gilliard, 1964-2007

It is with tremendous sadness that we must convey the news that Steve Gilliard, editor and publisher of The News Blog, passed away June 2, 2007. He was 42.

To those who have come to trust The News Blog and its insightful, brash and unapologetic editorial tone, we have Steve to thank from the bottom of our hearts. Steve helped lead many discussions that mattered to all of us, and he tackled subjects and interest categories where others feared to tread.

Please keep Steve's friends and family in your thoughts and prayers.

Steve meant so much to us.

We will miss him terribly.

No surprise that Mr. Gilliard went straight down the memory hole, given how many unpardonable offenses against Villager media sensibilities he gleefully committed while he was alive and on fire. He was, after all, a Fighting Liberal. And black. And poor. And an talented, muscular writer. And a devastatingly well-read historian. And unashamedly right about everything people like Andrew Sullivan spent their lives being horribly wrong about. And he said "fuck" sometimes. And he did not respect people who used their privileged positions in the media to lie -- in fact he used his own hard-won piece of media real estate to call them out, in public and by name.

People like Andrew Sullivan and Charles Murray:

Friday, August 26, 2005 

Why I'm a racist by Andrew Sullivan

Is this the America you love, Andy?

Atrios points out this post from bareback Andy on how great the Bell Curve, which suggested, to the scorn of everyone, that niggers are stupid with big dicks and gooks are smart with small dicks and white folks in the middle. Sounds a lot like Dr. Lynn from our previous post, no?

CHARLES ON LARRY: A must-read from Charles Murray. One of my proudest moments in journalism was publishing an expanded extract of a chapter from "The Bell Curve" in the New Republic before anyone else dared touch it. I published it along with multiple critiques (hey, I believed magazines were supposed to open rather than close debates) - but the book held up, and still holds up as one of the most insightful and careful of the last decade. The fact of human inequality and the subtle and complex differences between various manifestations of being human - gay, straight, male, female, black, Asian - is a subject worth exploring, period. Liberalism's commitment to political and moral equality for all citizens and human beings is not and should not be threatened by empirical research into human difference and varied inequality. And the fact that so many liberals are determined instead to prevent and stigmatize free research and debate on this subject is evidence ... well, that they have ceased to be liberals in the classic sense. I'm still proud to claim that label - classical liberal. And I'm proud of those with the courage to speak truth to power, as Murray and Herrnstein so painstakingly did. Pity Summers hasn't been able to match their courage. But recalling the tidal wave of intolerance, scorn and ignorance that hit me at the time, I understand why.

- 12:52:00 PM

Andy, no, you are a racist.

If you agree with Charles Murray, you are a racist.

The Bell Curve is tripe not based in science but racial hatred and eugenics, the science of nonsense. It isn't free research, it isn't a liberal idea unless you think Julius Streicher is a liberal.

I know you have some fantasies about being taken by black men, with their large penises, but when you consider that geneticists find race a fluid concept, how can you endorse this kind of racism one step above Segregation or Mongrelization?

Easy, because you're a clueless white man. That's why. You don't have to pay for your ideas, while 1/3rd of America does. I mean, it's really a dodge in the end.

Murray is the intellectual gloss for racial hatred and cruel indifference. If niggers are born stupid, why help them? After all, you can't help them, right?

Here are the words of another eugenicst which sound familiar

Any crossing of two beings not at exactly the same level producesa medium between the level of the two parents. This means: the offspring will probably stand higher than the racially lower parent, but not as high as the higher one. Consequently, it will later succumb in the struggle against the higher level. Such mating is contrary to the will of Nature for a higher breeding of all life. The precondition for this does not lie in associating superior and inferior, but in the total victory of the former. The stronger must dominate and not blend with the weaker, thus sacrificing his own greatness. Only the born weakling can view this as cruel, but he after all is only a weak and limited man; for if this law did not prevail, any conceivable higher development of organic living beings would be unthinkable. 
The consequence of this racial purity, universally valid inNature, is not only the sharp outward delimitation of the various races,but their uniform character in themselves. The fox is always a fox, the goose a goose, the tiger a tiger, etc., and the difference can lie at most in the varying measure of force, strength, intelligence, dexterity, endurance,etc., of the individual specimens. But you will never find a fox who inhis inner attitude might, for example, show humanitarian tendencies towardgeese, as similarly there is no cat with a friendly inclination toward mice. 
Therefore, here, too, the struggle among themselves arises less from inner aversion than from hunger and love. In both cases, Nature looks on calmly, with satisfaction, in fact. In the struggle for daily bread all those who are weak and sickly or less determined succumb, while the struggle of the males for the female grants the right or opportunity to propagate only to the healthiest. And struggle is always a means for improving a species' health and power of resistance and, therefore, a cause of its higher development. 
If the process were different, all further and higher development would cease and the opposite would occur. For, since the inferior always predominates numerically over the best, if both had the same possibility of preserving life and propagating, the inferior would multiply so much more rapidly that in the end the best would inevitably be driven into the background, unless a correction of this state of affairs were undertaken. Nature does just this by subjecting the weaker part to such severe living conditions that by them alone the number is limited, and by not permitting the remainder to increase promiscuously, but making a new and ruthless choice according to strength and health. 
No more than Nature desires the mating of weaker with stronger individuals, even less does she desire the blending of a higher with a lower race, since, if she did, her whole work of higher breeding, over perhaps hundreds of thousands of years, night be ruined with one blow.

It is nice to know great minds think alike.

Mr. Gilliard died young -- a year younger than Andrew Brietbart -- but he died without fancy friends in high places, which meant that he did not get to spend any of his valuable time on this Earth ass-sniffing his fellow media celebrities in Bill Maher's Green Room or Arianna Huffington's parties.  Which, in the end, only serves to further underscore the fact that Mr. Gilliard's existence was one of those horribly inconvenient rebuking realities that throws the wretchedly dishonest, ass-kissing careers people like Andrew Sullivan's own, into stark and embarrassing relief.

I promise I'll write all this up better once Tina Brown hooks me up with a Newsweek cover.

In the meantime, while you enjoy this dramatic video recreation of Andrew Sullivan defending gala blogger luncheons, why not email Mr. Sullivan at "The Daily Beast" at "" and ask him how in the world he managed to forget Steven Gilliard?

Tungsten carbide drills?

What the bloody hell is "tungsten carbide drills"?


nilsey said...

thanks for this. steve gilliard really was an inspiration.

steeve said...

"It takes a much bigger physical, emotional and spiritual toll than most realize, and I've spent some time over the years worrying it could destroy me."

There's a direct mapping from that to:

"Only a truly great hero can be a blogger. I'm a blogger."

There's no greater scum than someone who thinks that snuggling up to privilege is an act of courage. Which might make Sullivan lower than Breitbart.

JerryN said...

Thanks for this. Man, I miss Gilly.

Knute Rife said...

Gilly kissed no bum, so there was no one to pay the professional eulogizers.

RossK said...

The first five-tool blogger....


All that and beer can chicken, too!


Mister Roboto said...

I miss Steve, and I also miss the eclectic collection of commentors we had back then. (Those "Gracchus" vs. "Marx and Lenin" sparring matches always cracked my shit up, I'm tellin' ya.)

Lit3Bolt said...

Let's not forget Jon Swift (Al), or or Andy Olmsted from Obsidian Wings, who was killed in the Iraq War Sullivan advocated, apologized, and forgot about. Somehow, I don't think Andy's family has forgotten about the Iraq War.

But Sullivan just writes little words and "crosses swords" in delightful dandelion intellectual dances that have absolutely no impact whatsoever, and he is so very meek and humble in his poor, privileged, white, white world.

mary said...

Thank you. Steve Gilliard was an inspiration and we are poorer without him.

bluepillnation said...


Absolutely - they should not be forgotten.

But for my money it was Gilliard's writing, at first through The Smirking Chimp, and then The News Blog, that lit a fire under my arse from 3,000 miles away and made me care even more about these things than I already did.

Here was a man who was clearly incredibly intelligent, amazingly well-read and occasionally very angry, but that anger was channelled into a laser-focused pinpoint, the white heat of which filleted his targets rather than incinerated them. He was very public with his opinions and at the same time intensely private about himself - though over time he gradually opened up, which only had the effect of making him even more endearing.

The way he could eviscerate the right on any subject - whether it be military history, politics or racism, and then execute an immaculate written handbrake turn to describe the finer points of down-home cooking without seeming to bat an eyelid, along with his almost-to-a-fault unconditional love and support of the underdog (best evidenced by the affection with which he spoke of his beloved Mets) was what made him utterly unique and beloved by people who only knew him through his words.

When it became obvious he was unwell, then seriously unwell - those people would have shifted the earth on it's axis to get him to seek treatment sooner. His natural shyness along with his financial situation meant that the treatment didn't come until it was too late. What makes me angry about Breitbart is that even though he had a miniscule fraction of the writing talent, he could have sailed through the barriers to treatment that effectively endangered Gilly in the first place, just because he wrote for the side that paid better.

Retired Patriot said...


Thanks for bringing Steve back to life, even if for a moment or two.

Boy, could we use his voice these days! One of his greatest legacies was inspiring so many others to think, to write, and to care! Including you!

And if there's an afterlife, let's hope Brietbart is there having to work for a new boss -- Steve Gilliard!


Tata said...

Well, shit. I think about what he might say about the day's events almost every day and it's still exciting to imagine. I loved watching him land an argument with the blast force of the Tunguska meteor and very much miss the daily surprise of how he did it. He was one of a kind.

HubrisSonic said...

heh, indeed

Hubris Sonic said...

heh, indeed

Anonymous said...

Nice post. I found it because Gilly was on my mind and I googled to see if anything had been written about him lately. June 2nd will be the 5th anniversary of his death. Like the other commenters, I miss him and often find myself thinking, "I wonder what GIlly would make of this."