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.