Hilzoy Retires

Since I check Memeorandum before Google Reader most mornings, I saw Hilzoy‘s post “Bare-Faced Go-Away Bird” there first.  I glanced at it before going on to other posts but resolved to write something snarky about how it was quite likely that it was the first time the phrase “I’m going to Rwanda this weekend, on vacation” had ever been written.

It seems, however, that she buried her lede and that the real news of the post is that she is retiring from blogging Friday.  She’s been at it nearly as long as I have, joining Obsidian Wings in 2004.  You can read her lengthy explanation for yourself but the short version is that she was motivated to start because of what she thought was the insanity of the Bush era and that Obama’s taking over the White House means she can devote her time to other things.

Years ago, George Will told a story about his first coming to National Review and asking Bill Buckley how he managed to continue putting out commentary three times a week year after year.  Buckley replied to the effect that he never failed to be irritated by something at least three times a week.  While I go through periods where I’m less productive than others (indeed, I’m in one now) I’m seldom at a loss for something to write about.

While there’s a decent chance Hilzoy will pull a Brett Favre — bloggers who are good at it for any length of time find it hard to stay away — she’s got other outlets for her writing in her other life as a scholar.  She’s been one of a handful of bloggers from the Loyal Opposition that I’ve read regularly because she thinks and writes well and mostly lives up to this:

And that was what I really wanted to do: to listen to people I disagreed with, to engage with them, and to try to show that it was possible to care deeply about politics without hating your opponents. Being civil doesn’t mean you’re lukewarm, and being committed to your principles doesn’t mean you have to be hateful.

That’s not the way to maximize pageviews, alas, but it is the proper attitude if your goal is to persuade and engage rather than vent.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Dave Schuler says:

    It’s not just Hilzoy. I’ve noticed an enormous drop-off in blogging and, possibly more importantly, the zest of blogging over the last few months. Some long-standing bloggers have retired; others are posting much more rarely; far too many posts are perfunctory.

    The phenomenon doesn’t seem to be confined to progressives hanging up the “Mission Accomplished” banner. There are conservatives who’ve hung up their spurs, too.

    I may be too far outside the zeitgeist but I detect a whiff of despair, possibly mirroring a spirit abroad in the land.

  2. James Joyner says:

    I’ve noticed an enormous drop-off in blogging and, possibly more importantly, the zest of blogging over the last few months. Some long-standing bloggers have retired; others are posting much more rarely; far too many posts are perfunctory.

    Interesting. On the leeward side, at least, I’m noticing quite a bit of despair at the continuity of hated Bush policies under the Sainted One. On the right, there’s the standard post-loss agonizing over whether the Republican Party can ever win another election and whether conservatives can get back to their roots vice the need to blow it up and start over.

  3. Michael says:

    It’s not just Hilzoy. I’ve noticed an enormous drop-off in blogging and, possibly more importantly, the zest of blogging over the last few months. Some long-standing bloggers have retired; others are posting much more rarely; far too many posts are perfunctory.

    That’s probably a result of the fact that many bloggers, like Hilzoy, started blogging for reasons that no longer exist. People who started blogging to criticize or defend President Bush must now either find zeal in defending or criticizing President Obama, or move on to something else that sparks their interests.

    But it’s not so much the end of the era of blogging, as it is a passing of the torch. I suspect a new crop of bloggers is even now coming up to take their place. Those who had little or no interest in blogging about the politics of President Bush may be finding reason to blog about President Obama. It would be interesting to speculate now, on who will stand out among this new generation of bloggers.

  4. […] James Joyner: Years ago, George Will told a story about his first coming to National Review and asking Bill […]

  5. Anderson says:

    Obama’s taking over the White House means she can devote her time to other things

    Her optimism is unfounded.

  6. Herb says:

    Clearly, Hilzoy is prepping for a 2012 presidential run…

    In all seriousness, blogging as an enterprise doesn’t seem to be all that rewarding. There’s no money in it and no one respects bloggers anyway.

    As a hobby, though…

    I mean, I don’t expect ever “quitting” my personal blog, mostly because it exists purely for my own amusement. I don’t want to use it as a springboard for something bigger and better, don’t want to be relevant in the political punditsphere, and I certainly don’t want it festooned with ads because no one’s hitting the tip jar anymore.

    I look forward to the day when “blogs” are these more personal, less ambitious sites and the blogs…like OTB for instance…are just another website.

  7. […] of Obsidian Wings is retiring from blogging. I learned this from James Joyner, who says: You can read her lengthy explanation for yourself but the short version is that she was motivated […]