I Hate This Year

Steve Gilliard has died.

His voice was one of the most prominent influences on my own blogging, and it was a really fantastic example of what I loved about this medium: Its brashness, honesty, creativity and life. I knew if I went to his site there’d be something to make me angry, something to make me happy (a koala picture with a caption: “Mark Foley tries to fuck me, I’ll claw his fucking eyes out”), something to tell me something new. Military history, race, lifestyle commentary, cooking, hands down, one of the best writers out there.

Steve was incredibly supportive of First Draft. During our last fundraising drive he not only editorialized asking for donations to our cause, he also kicked in some scratch himself. One of the last e-mails I got from him was right before our NOLA trip. He was encouraging and funny, said he’d be happy to come with us if not for the dialysis. I feel I’ve lost a good teacher, and wish I’d known him longer, longer. I can only imagine what those who knew him best must feel. There are these cracks in the foundation, when something like this happens.

I meant to ask you how when everything seemed lost
And your fate was in a game of dice they tossed
There was still that line that you would never cross
At any cost

I meant to ask you how you lived what you believed
With nothing but your heart up your sleeve
And if you ever really were deceived
By the likes of me

Bang the drum slowly play the pipe lowly
To dust be returning from dust we begin
Bang the drum slowly I’ll speak of things holy
Above and below me world without end
—Emmylou Harris, “Bang the Drum Slowly”


17 thoughts on “I Hate This Year

  1. Daddy-O says:

    Oh, my God…Athenae, I’ve been online all day, and this is the first I’ve heard of this…
    Rest in Peace, Steve.

  2. Athenae says:

    Daddy-o, I just found out myself at the Crack Den. I could punch something. A lot of somethings. It’s rotten and unfair.
    I hope he’s someplace good, and warm, with lots of homemade macaroni and cheese and the Yankees losing every single day on TV.

  3. scout says:

    No. This is so sad. I loved his writing. I’ve really missed his military analysis. He was a unique voice. He will be greatly missed. Damn.
    Nice tribute post A.

  4. “I hope he’s someplace good, and warm, with lots of homemade macaroni and cheese and the Yankees losing every single day on TV.”
    You just made me laugh, A.

  5. So sad, so sad. He was a wonderful writer. I have missed him, too. I, too, hope the food’s good where Steve is.

  6. Tena says:

    I was so afraid of this all along – O I’m just heartbroken. I loved Steve – I used to comment over there and he’d jump onto the thread and talk to me and I loved everything about him.
    O Steve, I will miss you. You were a great heart and wonderful person.

  7. paida says:

    A. – When I saw this on Atrios I knew you would write about him. I loved News Blog but once Steve went into the hospital I realized what a unique voice he was on the blogisphere. He was one of those writers who made me wonder how the hell Washington Post and NY TImes column writers got such good gigs. Steve kicked ass.
    I am so sad he didn’t live to see the end of the Bush Administration. I am so sad for Jen, who he obviously had an enormous amount of love and respect for. Also sad for his niece and nephew who he wrote about so lovingly – I am just sad. It sucks.

  8. mdhatter says:

    tragedy. He was young.

  9. I am deeply saddened by this news. I’ve been a fan and a commenter on his site since his travels from Dkos.
    I never expect the site owners to acknowledge my posts, I toss them out to the world like leaves on a lake. You all are busy people fighting the good fight and shouldn’t feel like you have to answer each post. Yet, once Steve responded to a comment I made and agreed with ‘most’ of it. His explanation of where I had drifted from reality was concise, fair and absolutely true.
    I felt giddy that one of the masters of the blogosphere had taken the time to correct a simple comment from a charter member of the peanut gallery. He was that kind of man.
    When I heard news that he had become ill, I did something out of character for this Pagan. I prayed for him.
    May the Goddess keep him and protect him and let him have all the mac and cheese he wants with all the fixings. (and lots of that crusty cheese on the edge!)
    The best we can do is keep Jen and his family in our thoughts, make sure that they want for nothing, and keep his memory alive. Steve’s legacy is our mission – fight for the truth and never, ever let down the guard.

  10. mrstrailerco says:

    I began worrying about this some time back. When you’re in the hospital so long – and it’s been a long time – something not good is going on. And Jen took a lot of shit for posting about how serious the situation was a few weeks back.
    His voice was truly unique. There is no one out there with his point of view. Even when he yelled at me, I still came back. Whenever the issue was New York, urban living, world cup soccer, politics in the big city, or being a black man in America, I headed over to thenewsblog. And he posted the coolest music videos on the web. He said that he just wanted to prove there was stuff on YouTube besides bad 80’s hair bands.
    I’m very sad. I’ve already been missing him for awhile.
    And fuck the fucking Yankees x 7

  11. pansypoo says:

    i am sorry to say i never visited. he only registered really after he got sick. but i felt the respect for him and the love. and georgie killed him too.
    damn. i still miss hesiod’s blog, so i understand. and i understand more so the end to something wonderful. he looks like a sweet person.
    and georgie lives on and dickie lives on and and on and on.
    getting old sucks.

  12. dave™© says:

    You can access the vast majority of Gilliard’s posts through his old blogspot address:
    He was probably the best pure writer in the “blogosphere.” In his memory, I have but one thing to say:

  13. DaveH says:


  14. flory says:

    I’m hoping this is the galactic bottom. The universe moves into an upswing from here.
    Things really shouldn’t get any worse.

  15. leinie says:

    I’ve been wicked busy this week, and away from the toobz. Logged in this morning to catch up. Been weeping for about an hour now, and I didn’t even *know* him.
    Except I knew that voice – that honest, courageous, insightful, funny, inspiring, brilliant voice. I learned so much from Steve. He’d make me furious, he’d make me laugh – he’d make me think. I’ve missed that voice. I thought that heart was too big and strong to be silenced, but that bitch death will get us all in the end.
    He will be missed. Peace, Steve. We’ll keep fighting.

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