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.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. :(
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)
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.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.
- - -
you can read other memorials for jon/al here:
tom watson, who also knew al/jon in real life
drinking liberally in new milford
john cole @ balloon juice
maryscott o'connor @ my left wing
jill @ brilliant @ breakfast
michael j.w. stickings
carl @ simply left behind
mock paper scissors
blue girl @ blue girl in a red state
glenn reynolds @ instapundit
melissa mcewan @ shakespeare's sister (where jon was a contributor)
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
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
pamela @ the democratic daily
batocchio @ vagabond scholard
shawn russell @ the tardisgrade
busted knuckles @ ornery bastard
dj @ buzztwang
jeff fecke @ alas! a blog
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
right wing nut house
outside the beltway
eric martin @ obsidian wings
kevin @ the american street
brad jacobson @ mediabloodhound
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
out of context @ oocradio
lucskywardkevin @ 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
ina @ unbound confine