Rob Acidman Smith, RIP

Photo Rob "Acidman" Smith Rob “Acidman” Smith was found dead yesterday at 2 a.m. of unspecified causes.

The Acidman was one of the “Tall Dogs” in the early days of the blogosphere; his site was among the most trafficked and linked when OTB started. His was a unique voice among widely read blogs, very blue collar and personal. He shared his rage over the direction the blogosphere was heading, his troubles with women and the law, his advice on getting “some”, and even the joys of a bionic penis. As Terry Oglesby once noted, “[H]is blog is G-rated, as well. Usually each one is followed by an “oddamn”, but there you go.”

via Misha via Memeorandum

Many tributes and commentary out there. A sampling:

Steve Graham: “Rob was a real writer. Nothing was hidden. He said things about himself that I would hesitate to reveal about my worst enemy. I read his site even when I forgot to read sites belonging to close friends. He was a true original.”

LaShawn Barber: “Rob made me laugh most of the time”

John Donovan: “The world is briefly a smaller place without Rob in it.”

Juliette Ochieng: “I don’t believe it.”

Kim du Toit: “I was always pestering him to come and visit us, but he never did—he was either in rehab or in too much pain, or else jumping whores in Costa Rica (which is how I’ll remember him, the horny-toad Cracker bastard).”


Oh yes, he was rude, outspoken, at times downright obnoxious, but he was always true to himself. True to himself and honest to the point where it sometimes hurt. I admired that, even when some of the things he said made me cringe, because you always knew exactly where you had him. And beneath that rough veneer, beneath all of the raging against the fading of the light, there was a warm, loving man. Most of all I remember his posts about his love of his son, Quinton, in which the “softer side of Rob” shone through like a beacon.

Steve Graham again:

There was something about Rob Smith that made you root for him. His wife ran off with another man, prostate cancer left him impotent and incontinent, he became estranged from a young son he adored, and to top it all off, he got fired for coming to the Blogosphere to share his pain. Something he clearly had a driving need to do. He couldn’t win, and he couldn’t even talking about losing without being hammered for it. Not just in his comments, but at his job and in divorce court. How can you not be drawn to a story like that? How can you not go to the website of a person like that every day, to see if things are finally getting better? Every day that he chose to get up in the morning and face life, however imperfectly or unwisely, he impressed the hell out of me.

My reading of Rob’s site tapered off for almost exactly the reason Steve felt compelled to visit. I had lost hope that Rob would pull out of the collision course he was on and it was just too sad to watch, knowing there was nothing I could do. Still, because of the personal nature of his writing, I actually felt like I knew the man himself in a way that is untrue for most bloggers that I read daily.

Hank Williams, Jr. once described his late father’s gift as a songwriter as “pouring his heart out on the page.” It’s a rare talent and not something most of us could do. Rob did it on a daily basis for years.

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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. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. McGehee says:

    Rob �Acidman� Smith died yesterday at 2 a.m. of unspecified causes.

    He was found at 2:00 a.m., according to his daughter. He may have passed away hours before.

  2. James Joyner says:

    True enough. Post corrected.