Elsewhere on her blog, “Neo-Neocon” asks, “Where have you gone, Steven Den Beste? Our nation turns its lonely eyes to you”:
I miss Steven Den Beste.
No, I never met him; and yes, I know he’s not returning to political blogging (he still blogs on anime here).
He’s very ill; and, what’s more, even if he weren’t, I don’t get the sense that he’s the type who would respond to pleadings from his audience. He’s no Andrew Sullivan, playing the “Hello I must be going” game. He’s the type who makes up his mind and that’s it. No looking back. At least that’s what I imagine.
But I still miss him, and hope he’s doing well. I think, when I reflect on it, that he was my favorite blogger. There was nothing easy about him; no cheap shots, no funny stuff. He didn’t pander, and he was the hardest worker imaginable, churning out reams of lucid prose on a daily basis. I never understood how there were enough hours in a day for him to write as much as he did, even if he was working round the clock. And of course I didn’t know at the time that it was done at enormous physical cost to him because he was suffering from a progressive degenerative illness. When he quit blogging about a year ago in July, 2004, he cited both the illness and a massive psychological burnout that seems to have come from the fact that almost all the mail he got–and he got a lot of it–was negative.
I felt guilty, having never written him an e-mail myself that let him know how much I admired and appreciated his work. I wrote one afterwards, but he never replied, nor did I expect him to. I like to think it was because he was inundated with similar missives.
Someday, we might very well look back at the period of between 9/11 and the presidential election in November of 2004 as the Golden Age of Blogging. And Den Beste’s great, lucid writing is going to be a big part of the reason why. Fortunately, all his archives are still online.