The Republic of T.

Black. Gay. Father. Vegetarian. Buddhist. Liberal.

R.I.P., Jon Swift

Via Skippy comes the sad news of the passing of blogger Al Weisel, a/k/a Jon Swift.

this is the saddest news we have had to report in a long, long time.
the blogger who was known as jon swift has passed away far too soon @ age 46. his mother posted this message on the comments on his blog:

i don’t know how else to tell you all who love this blog. i am jon swift’s mom and i guess i’m going to out him. he was al weisel, my beloved son. al was on his way to get one of thoseĀ prepaid funeral plans for his father’s funeral in va when he suffered 2 aortic aneurysms, a leaky aortic valve and an aortic artery dissection from his heart to his pelvis. he had 3 major surgeries within 24 hours and sometime during those surgeries also suffered a severe stroke. we, his 2 sisters, his brother, his partner and his best friend since he was 9 years old were with him as he took his last breath. we have all lost a shining start who warmed our hearts, tormented us and made us laugh as he giggled at our pulling something over on us. he passed away on february 27, 2010. my beloved child will live on in so many hearts. i miss him more than i can say. if you are on facebook, go to organizations and join “friends of al weisel, unite!” it will give you just a taste of how special he was. farewell, jon (al)

My heartfelt sympathies go out to Weisel’s friends, family, and those who knew him well. I can honestly say that, having learned more about the man behind the “nom de blog,” I regret that I won’t have the opportunity to know him better. But I do heartily echo what Skippy had to say about him.

it was his graciousness and tenacity to actual liberal values that inspired (and indeed, was the engine that perpetuated) the idea that all blogs should support each other, never mind the size of the sitemeter traffic stats.

he was a brilliant satirical writer; so brilliant that often times readers (especially conservative readers) had no clue that jon was making fun of the right wing by appearing to be one of their own. [ed. note: many commentors on other sites remarked how jon was doing colbert before colbert]

…his sense of humor made us all realize that it was unhealthy to take ourselves too seriously…and alas, his passing makes it even more pertinent to enjoy ourselves and be kind to each other on a daily, if not moment-to-moment basis.

My first contact with Jon was when he reached out to offer his support after I stepped neck-deep into still-steaming, two-month-old pile that was Blog Amnesty Day. I found myself in the center of a shitstorm of the kind of intensity that only the blogosphere can muster, without so much as a poncho. I’d only just recovered from the shitshtorm that was the aftermath of the Clinton blogger lunch. (Oddly enough, upon writing this post, I went searching for the initial post that started that one, and it has disappeared from my database. Google cache doesn’t have it either. The Wayback Machine appears to have it, but is taking it’s sweet time to load it. Nonetheless, you can see the photo from that post here.)

I’d just about decided to withdraw from the political blogosphere, when I heard from Jon and a few other bloggers. Jon reminded me that there are a lot of good people out there on the other side of the monitor, and some of them reach through the wires with a helping hand instead of a flamethrower.

He kept in touch after the storm subsided, linked to my posts on occasion (in fact, one of his last posts links to one of mine), and invited me to send in posts for his annual “Best Of” roundups. So, for what it’s worth, Jon helped convince me that it was worthwhile to keep it up.

For that, thanks Jon. You made a difference to me by offering encouragement when it was in short supply.

I hope, wherever you are is peaceful.


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