Sunday, June 03, 2007

Steve Gilliard is gone 

I learned so much from reading Steve Gilliard over the years and I am grateful. Jane Hamsher provides a vivid portrait:
...An inveterate reader, he carried an enormous backpack filled with books and couldn't fathom that I was trying to negotiate New York City in a rental car. We spent the afternoon together eating antipasto and shellfish, wandering the streets looking for WiFi, drinking coffee and gabbing.
It was a crisp blue day, the five year anniversary of 9/11 and it made Steve extremely somber. He was very much affected by the experience of 9/11 and resented those who wanted to appropriate it for their own purposes, and didn't think that anyone who wasn't there that day could ever understand what it was like to have their whole existence shaken in such a profound way. Like many New Yorkers, he felt quite proprietary about that day and it very much shaped who he was and fueled his passion for blogging. He'd spent most of the morning grumbling online at those he felt could not possibly know what they were talking about.
Steve was unique, and it struck me as odd how someone could be such a pragmatist and a purist at the same time. He was eloquent, fierce, irascible, passionate, brilliant and brave. And I'll just shut up now before I let the cat out of the bag and tell everyone how gentle and caring he came across in person. He'd no doubt be furious with me for blowing his cover.
Eventually I had to get back to Connecticut and the last time I saw Steve he was walking away carrying that backpack, off to lay his hands on another military history book he hadn't been able to locate. I offered to drive him but Steve, being the consummate New Yorker, looked at me like I was insane and walked off into the chaos of the city that somehow seemed to center him.
Miss you, Steve.

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