3/3/10

RIP Jon Swift

A sad day for the entire Bloggosphere as Al Weisel, AKA Jon Swift, has passed away:
The great Jon Swift has died. That's the "blogging" angle to a personal tragedy. In reality, the voice of Jon Swift - the hilarious faux conservative blogger whose talent and passion were evident in every post - belonged to Al Weisel, a sweet and good-natured journalist who happened to be the college roommate of my once-and-future collaborator Jason Chervokas.

...snip...

Al was on the way to his father's funeral in Virginia when he suffered a sudden aortic aneurysm and underwent several surgeries in an attempt to save his life. Sadly, they did not succeed.

Heartbreakingly, Al's mother has posted this comment to the Jon Swift blog, unmasking the true identify of her brilliant son - and yes, he was a blogging super-hero to many of us.
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 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)
Al Weisel was the political poser's worst enemy as Jon Swift, but he was also a good guy to hang around the pub with and commiserate over New York's shrinking freelance rates. Gone all too soon, he'll be truly missed by many.
One of the greatest satirists in the entire Blogosphere, for certain. And someone I considered a friend even if our only contact was through comments, posts and occasional emails. I had assumed for a longtime that something had been wrong with him as he had not updated his blog in nearly a year. Now we all know why. :(

Here is the Facebook group his mother mentions.

And here is a glimpse of some of what he did beyond the Blogosphere from his profile.

RIP Al Weisel...

[update] I should note that Al began the idea of B.A.D. with some help from skippy, a linking celebration meant to take the Blogroll Amnesty Day that had created some negative feelings in the Blogosphere and turn it around into a positive for everyone of which many Blogs, myself included, were early participants. Here is a list of some of the original B.A.D. participants taken from Jon Swift's own post on Blogrolling and just to give you an idea of how much sway he had in the Blogosphere:
Polimom, My Left Wing, Kiko's House, Blue Gal, Brilliant at Breakfast, Thoughts of an Average Woman, Blah3, Mockingbird's Medley, Hot Potato Mash, Mad Kane, Chapomatic, Howard Empowered People, Instapundit, Classical Values, Mock, Paper, Scissors, Drinking Liberally in New Milford, Pen-Elayne on the Web, Three Sticks, Man Eegee, Barefoot Bum, Three Wise Men, The Apostate, Debsweb, Newshog, Spiidey, The Talking Dog, BostonJoe, Booman Tribune, The News Blog, The Field Negro, If I Ran the Zoo, The Galloping Beaver, The S.N.A.F.U. Principle, driftglass, Republic of T, Faux Real, The Debate Link, Creek Running North and Blogroll Amnesty Day Sucks.

Since that original frenzy of linkage it has grown to become a yearly celebration of Blog discovery. And skippy suggests linking to memorial diaries from the many others that Al's Jon Swift personae has touched and inspired in honor of Al's typically liberal linkage policies:


you made life on earth and in blogtopia a better place.

- - -

you can read other memorials for jon/al here:

tom watson, who also knew al/jon in real life

blue gal

drinking liberally in new milford

john cole @ balloon juice

mad kane

maryscott o'connor @ my left wing

oliver willis

jill @ brilliant @ breakfast

sadly, no!

michael j.w. stickings

carl @ simply left behind

mock paper scissors

distributorcap

blue girl @ blue girl in a red state

glenn reynolds @ instapundit

melissa mcewan @ shakespeare's sister (where jon was a contributor)

instaputz

libby spencer @ the impolitic

kevin k. @ rumproast

kathy kattenburg @ the moderate voice

kathleen maher @ diary of a heretic

mike the mad biologist

mustang bobby @ bark bark woof woof

jill @ feministe

vast left @ corrente

man eegee

steve hynd @ newshoggers

chuck for..., who, sadly, was the subject of jon swift's last post when tragedy visited upon chuck's family

attaturk @ rising hegemon

the mahablog

james wolcott

lance mannion

pamela @ the democratic daily

batocchio @ vagabond scholard

shawn russell @ the tardisgrade

busted knuckles @ ornery bastard

dj @ buzztwang

ann althouse

jeff fecke @ alas! a blog

driftglass

liberal values

jurassic pork @ welcome back to pottersville

pam @ pam's house blend

ed morrisey @ hot air

thers @ whiskeyfire

and blue gal over @ crooks&liars.

we are sure that jon would want his idea of linking to other deserving voices in blogtopia to continue. if you write a memorial on your blog for jon, pls. send us a link and we will post it here.

also, sadly, no! has a special thread for posting links to your favorite smaller blogs, all dedicated to jon's memory.

addendum: the next morning...tributes keep rolling in for al/jon:

joe gandelman @ the moderate voice writes a very heartfelt tribute

terrence @ the republic of t

m.a. peel

tbogg

right wing nut house

outside the beltway

eric martin @ obsidian wings

kevin @ the american street

brad jacobson @ mediabloodhound

cogitamus

the dc trawler

dan @ pruning shears

avedon carol @ the sideshow

m and t @ agidita diaries

steven d. @ booman tribune

david e. @ fablog

the sailor @ vidiotspeak

zencomix

out of context @ oocradio

and lucskyward kevin @ am. street tells us that dougj @ balloon juice is trying to endow an annual al weisel award for internet humor. more on this later.

the day after that: the tributes keep coming in:

shy ann @ cheyenne's campsite

enigma4ever @ watergate summer

that's right nate

zenyenta

ina @ unbound confine
Here is another post from another satirist, William K. Wolfrum, but he lays off the satire in this one. And Reconstitution 2.0 has added another voice to the Blogosphere memorial.

7 comments:

skippy said...

this is terribly sad news. thx for letting me know.

Connecticut Man1 said...

I was deflated when I saw this float by in a tweet from a friend. Given you had worked pretty closely with him on BAD I had to stop by and let you know.

Clark said...

I have been waiting a year for Jon to resurface. Nobody could write satire like him. He will be missed.

PALGOLAK said...

I hope there will be an archive of his stuff somewhere, not just archive.org.

Even if he is dead, his old stuff will still cheer me up, kind of like being able to download Phil Hartman's work (Phil never got the role he *deserved*, BTW).

field negro said...

R.I.P. Swift. You were good people.

I will miss your clever writing and your blog. :(

Connecticut Man1 said...

field... If it were not for that Blogrolling post he wrote we might not have found some new Blog friends.

field negro said...

C-Man, that is so true!