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July 13, 2009


in addition to your intelligence, generosity, and unwavering fairness, you are the kindest of bloggers.

Yes indeed. Kindness is absurdly underrated as a value, and Hilzoy cultivates kindness - as a product of high intelligence, as a skill one can get better and better at. It's a superior form of intelligence, IMO. Thanks for sharing, Hilzoy, and for taking it - and us - seriously.

I've never commented here but wanted to let Hilzoy know that after Edwards dropped out in early 2008 with the Texas caucus/primary coming up, my wife and I were having trouble deciding between Clinton and Obama. Many things didn't seem as clear-cut then as they do now. Our hearts and our heads were torn. We wanted to get behind someone and work for them in the primaries and the general, but were stuck on the fence. Ultimately, after much reading and talking, it was a couple of posts by Hilzoy examining Obama's record in Illinois and afterward that tipped us firmly in his direction. I'll always remember the point where I made my decision, right after reading Hilzoy's take. In the end we volunteered and became precinct captains and district delegates, narrowly bringing in our little precinct for Obama in the Texas caucuses. It was a great experience and we met some good people who are still friends. All of it because Hilzoy helped us decide who we were for.
We wish you great success and happiness. We'd love to see you blogging again but if that never happens, we'll still be grateful for the analysis and insights you've provided.

You'll be missed.

also, i used to live in Goma & had several fine times in Gisenyi, so recommend you visit - it's half-way between our Gulf Coast & the French Riveria.

One standard tourist item i recommend skipping is tromping after gorillas. the gorillas by the time i visited (1980) were inured to tourists, and made me feel like I was invading their privacy. if you're climbing a mountain & see wildlife fine, but skip the gorilla treks; they're demeaning for all.

"If we can't have you -- can we have a cadre of Hilzoy-trained ProBloggers??"

I'm also still in firm denial.

One thing I'd like to beg of Hilzoy, whether before she goes -- and I realize she probably won't have time for it, what with preparing for her trip and everything else, but after she returns? -- would be at least one last final post (for some indefinite period of time!) along the lines of "Hilzoy's Guidelines For Blogging" or "How I've Always Tried To Blog," or something else to help educate us as to how Hilzoy has managed to blog in such a sane, thoughtful, educational, calm, rational, and downright beautiful manner, that has changed so many people's thinking, and so many people's feelings, and so many people's lives.

I can't can't say enough how much the idea of a blogosphere without Hilzoy horrifies me. I know she owe us nothing, she has given so much.

But I also know, therefore, how much of a loss a loss of her writing will be, and one way I think Hilzoy might fail is that I don't believe she has even a fractional understanding of how very much of a loss to so many thousands of us -- and I do mean thousands -- the loss of her insights, and wisdom, will be.

I just can't over-state this. I firmly believe that Hilzoy's blogging has made more of a difference in more people's lives, overall, than anyone else in the blogosphere, ever. I don't believe for a moment she realizes that.

I can't say how much, no matter how little I may show it, she's been a personal influence on me, in so many ways, including, often, tempering how cutting my natural inclination runs to.

I can't say how much, no matter how little I may show it, Hilzoy has influenced my thinking on an issue.

I can't say how much, no matter how little I may show it, Hilzoy has expanded my empathy, and my view of the need for people to be kind.

And I can't yet imagine a Hilzoy where Hilzoy will never return. A long vacation: sure. Never to return? Only, at the least, if she does indeed wind up somewhere with the far larger circulation that she deserves, including the New York Times, or WaPo (where god knows they have a particular shortage of sane and smart columnists these days), or anywhere else that would bring her the readership she so very much deserves.

And I can't say how very selfishly, how very upset I am, at the thought of how much I'll miss her.

It literally brings me to tears.

And for once, I'm going to make a mind-reading claim, and assert that I speak for many more people than myself, in all of this.

"I don't comment often, but I've read almost every word, posts and comments, written on this blog for the past 4-5 years."

Hilzoy is the only blogger whose every word on her blog I've ever made sure to always read every word of.

There's simply no one else I feel remotely that strongly about as regards what I get from their blogging. No offense intended to any of the many other fine and superb bloggers out there, but that's the plain truth.

One more de-lurker who is a regular and devoted reader.

Good luck, Hilzoy, and farewell. You'll be missed.

Good luck Hilzoy.

But Damn, you and your analysis of just about everything are going to be missed!


You will, of course, be missed, and I expect that a greatful blogosphere thanks you for your service in our hour of need.

Selfishly, I wonder why you don't simply reduce your blogging output to "whenever you feel appropriate."

Farewell, and goodluck, Hilzoy.

Gah. Hilzoy, you're one of the best out there for thoughtful analysis, and it will be a tremendous loss. Please do whatever feels best, but I hope you will consider being an infrequent blogger, without the pressures of feeling you need to cover every story. Or maybe you feel you can do that just fine in comments. In any case, I've appreciated reading and citing your fine work, so thanks again, and best wishes.

And for once, I'm going to make a mind-reading claim, and assert that I speak for many more people than myself, in all of this.

You've read my (so-called) mind, Gary. I honestly think, as corny as it may sound, that reading Hilzoy has made me a better human being - not just in the sense of being better informed, but in having more care and respect for other people, particularly people I, consciously or unconsciously, may have been inclined to disregard in the past.

Well, what can I say but "Thanks!"

You stood up when it mattered, and while I think you're probably a bit too optimistic about how sane things have gotten, the Bush administration feel of "we're going to tell you black is white, and you're going to love it!" seems gone.

If only Obama wasn't defending indefinite detention without trial, I think I'd be a happy guy.


Well, OK.

But at the first hint of insanity, YOU GET BACK ON DUTY, DAMMIT.

Love ya, and be happy!

In Swahili, the prefix "Wa" makes a word plural. Thus you have one Tutsi, or if you have a group, they are WaTutsi. Brings up an amusing variant: the African politicians and businessmen who parade about in their Mercedes Benz automobiles, are know informally (and mordantly) as WaBenzi.

Best of luck in your travels on a very cool continent.

Don't remember ever posting a comment in the past, but I want to thank you for the posts you have made defending the rights and humanity of trans people, before you disappear. Your thoughts were greatly appreciated.

Gary: "You are, bar none, with no competition, the best blogger I have ever read.

Please never say never."

Yes, that.

If you need a break, take one. Lord knows you give so much to so many with no monetary compensation, all on top of your 'day job'. But "the madness is over?" Hil, it's only just begun. We need your voice now more than ever.

(And here I was planning on not getting drunk tonight.)

Oh, damn. While I rarely initially agreed with you, I always found your posts thoughtful and worthy of reading, and sometimes convincing. You will be missed, and I hope that you do not stay among the missing. Thanks for all of the thinking you've inspired.

In addition to repeating all the praise and desolation of other posters, let me offer a personal eulogy to a great blogging career.

I first read Obsidian Wings in 2003, from a link at publius's solo blog Legal Fiction. ObWi pulled me into blog reading and commenting as no other blog ever could, because of Hilzoy.

Hilzoy's posts should be used as a textbook for political blogs. She is sensible, moderate, focused, courteous, and devastating to irrationality. She cites her facts, reasons from her facts, and in six years I think I have caught her in an error of logic once. She is astonishingly good at finding analogies -- and I say that as a lawyer, a professional analogy-finder. Her compassion is as remarkable and consistent as her intellect, yet she is as far from the bleeding-heart, no-personal-responsibility stereotype as can be imagined. She has an uncanny knack for distilling from the welter of current events the key issues that matter. Her volume is also astonishing -- I cannot imagine how she finds the time to research and write on so many subjects at such length.

In fact, while Hilzoy's brilliant prose has drawn me in, it has also discouraged me from blogging. How, I ask myself, can I possibly match her insight and precision? And why bother, when she already does it so well? Time after time, a subject I might have wanted to write about was already thoroughly developed by Hilzoy, leaving me with nothing to do but cheer from the bleachers.

Equally amazing is that Hilzoy -- along of course with ObWi's other bloggers -- has created a unique corner for courteous, thoughtful political/policy conversation on the internet. I have seen many attempts to do this, but no other successes.

Naturally, when I learned that Hilzoy lived not far from my Maryland home, I schemed to meet her. At an anti-war march a couple of years ago, shortly before I moved to the Left Coast, I succeeded. Several ObWi regulars met up and went to the march. It was a fine rally, but personally I remember it as the time that I met Professor Bok in person. Suffice to say that she fully lives up to her online persona.

After I moved, Hilzoy's example inspired me to participate in the Obama campaign. I had to curtail my local political participation even before the end of the campaign due to health and family problems, but maybe someday I will return. If I do, I will strive to exhibit the courtesy and rationality of a Hilzoy.

Although we have only met once, I consider Hilzoy a friend. Hilzoy, if you are ever in Seattle and need a favor -- crash space, a native guide, a place to hide a corpse -- please feel free to call. Meanwhile, ave atque vale! Thank you. You will be missed.


You do what you gotta do, hilzoy. But this lurker will be sad.

Another person delurking to let you know I really appreciated your thoughts. This place is a real island; thank you for making it so.

I want to second (or third as it were, as on preview I see hairshirthedonist got in before me) Gary's request at 2:48pm for a "Hilzoy's Guidelines For Blogging" and support what he said about how influential hilzoy's writing is, from my point of view.

This is one of the very, very few political blogs which I will forward links to when chatting with people I know who are apolitical, because I can trust that what they read here is written with humility and a lack of vitriol such that somebody who is lacking in the thick skin and insider's guide to the lingo (acquired from long practive reading the blogs) can safely wander about here without being horrified by what they encounter, and can come away with something more productive than the vague impression that people on the blogs are either really, really mean or speak in incomprehensible gibberish.

There are to my limited knowledge very few hard hitting political blogs that are like that, and the example that hilzoy has set with her writing (and her occasional firm admonitions in comments to keep it civil) are IMHO a very big reason for ObWings being the special kind of place which it is.

As russell has reminded me, I forgot to say "Thanks" the first time. Thank you hilzoy for everything that you've put into this. It wasn't wasted effort and I and it seems a great many others have learned, laughed and been enriched thanks to you.

Oh and JanieM, thanks so much for your kind comments. In due time I'll be in touch via email, but it might take a while as this week is kinda crazy.

I've always enjoyed your writing. I'm still fearful that the loonies will win, but at least there is hope now that they won't. Take care!

Wait, since when do you get to make this decision unilaterally? Last I heard, America was still a democracy.

Seriously though, this is gonna leave a smoking crater right smack in the middle of downtown Internet.

You wouldn't remember this, and I wouldn't even know how to find it (don't remember the post or what pseud I was using then), but a few years back Andy called me out for cussing, I tried to slink off, and then the two of you tag-teamed me with follow-ups to try to keep me around. Which would make sense if I had been anything even remotely akin to a valued contributor, but I was just some random dude (still am). Kindness like that is darned rare. Wasted on the likes of me, but neither of you could've known that.

Oh, and thanks for all the great writing and astute analysis and whatnot. That was pretty cool too.

Hike up in the mountains yourself to see the gorillas along the Congo border. Good luck.

"One thing I'd like to beg of Hilzoy...at least one last final post... along the lines of "Hilzoy's Guidelines For Blogging""

you guys are lame, sitting around asking someone else for help like this.

hell, *i* can write the damn guidelines for you--it's easy.

step 1: be hilzoy
step 2: a few other trivial things.

okay, there's your guide.

now, how hard was that? just follow those simple rules, and you'll be a great blogger.

Well, this is surprising. Good luck, your thoughtful commentary will be sorely missed. In the meantime, this is a great time to remember my favorite Hilzoy quote:*

"If Jonah Goldberg can explain why she takes what I say to have anything to do with expertise ... I'd be fascinated to read it."

*for anyone that missed or have forgotten the original context that makes this so damn funny, catch up here:

I'm saddened to lose hilzoy's voice of reason in the howling wilderness of the political blogosphere. There's a sad lack of reason, logic, and generosity of spirit out there, even on the blogs I agree with.

Here, though, I've found both posts I agreed with without feeling manipulated, and relatively civil discussions in the comments, which are a blessed relief after the fetid swamp one finds in other places.

Thank you, hilzoy, for your thoughts and your generosity in sharing them with us, and for hosting this community. Good luck in Rwanda, and wherever else you go. I hope you find the time, energy, and opportunity in the future to continue speaking publicly on issues of importance, but god knows you've done more than your share already. It's time for someone else to shoulder the burden.

Thanks for all the fish, hilzoy. Good luck with what comes next.

I don't know if anyone's said it yet, but it deserves pointing out:

Many years from now, this might mark the end of the political blogosphere's "good old days" in our memories. It will be the only way in which the Bush years will evoke nostalgia.

"Sure, things were truly ghastly back then . . . but at least we had hilzoy!"

So again, thank you, hilzoy, for helping me through that dark time of insanity. For helping all of us.

Hilzoy, thank you for an outstanding run.

Good luck with whatever you do. I hope to see you back some day because you think and write so well. On many occasions I have seen the following post:
What Hilzoy said. and a link.
No one can improve on the original, and we know better than to try.

I'd like to thank you for making me think and to try to get better. As others have said you will be missed. The vast majority of your readers probably know nothing more about you than what they read but that has been enough. As DanS wrote we will all have to go through the stages.

Thank you.

Thinking about the world was easier with the daily click (or several) of the Hilzoy bookmark.

I'm relieved you will still be impacting the world all the time through your students. Sigh.



More than any other blogger, my reaction to your writings over the past few years is best summed up by the movie title: "Beautiful mind".

First reaction:
Free ice cream of the highest quality, once served daily -- a taste to which I and so many others have become addicted -- no longer available at any price? Noooooooooo!!

After a deep breath and a few moments of tears:

Have a wonderful trip, Hilzoy. And enjoy your new freedom. You've set a standard that I hope will inspire others and last.

And I guess we'll get over the shakes eventually.


I don't blog and I don't regularly read very many blogs and I comment on even fewer. This blog is the exception and your posts are important in why that is so. Ethical behavior and principled thinking are personal attributes that I admire and, although I do not know you personally, those characteristics appear to be driving forces behind your posts. Thanks for your effort and devotion and I wish the best for you.

So long, Hilzoy. I read fewer blogs these days, but always yours. Maybe I'll get more work done now, but I know I'll be a little less well-informed than I would have been if I were still able to crib off your homework. Be well. Keep in touch.

Inconceivable! No more "dread blogger hilzoy"?

Thanks for being one of the most thoughtful human voices in any kind of media.

I wish you good fortune in everything you do.

Thank you for your time and thoughts, Hilzoy. I wish you peace and richness in all the things you do next. I hope you savor your break from blogland and I hope to encounter your thoughts again.

Bye, hilzoy. You'll be missed; like others, I've come to rely on your judgment and good sense. I hope you'll eventually reconsider and just post less frequently. But if not: thanks so much for all you've done.

Thank you, hilzoy. And best wishes for your next adventures!

Adieu, you'll certainly be missed.

Thank you for many great posts.

I'm really bummed about this. I went camping for a few days, came home missing the internet, only to discover that the best writer on the internet is quitting! What a day...

Hilzoy, it's very likely that you have no conception of how many people's lives have been improved in subtle ways by your blogging. This is a great loss.

I only caught you recently, but it's been interesting. You're wrong about the madness, though, especially with democrats voting republican and a president who wants to continue to expand executive power and secrecy. But good luck in your future endeavors and have fun in Africa.

I am very new here and still unsure whether we, all of us, can have an honest yet civil discussion. But you could , so I had hope. Thanks for that hope. Best of luck.


Thank you for your contributions, hilzoy. Add me to the many voices who hope that your departure from blogging is temporary and not forever. I have very much appreciated your calm, respectful analysis of a number of controversial issues over the years. I will miss your contributions.

You are one of the best and will be missed. Come back if you get the hankering.

I love you hilzoy.

I've always enjoyed your very insightful posts, and I will be sorry not to be reading more of them. I hope your time in Africa is amazing, and I wish you all the best.

Hilzoy got it right. Five years ago the country was nuts. It was indeed an all hands on deck moment.

The moment has passed. The appalling popularity of torture shows there is plenty of work still to be done, but the country is no longer in the hands of maniacs, and the center of gravity of opinion has shifted from bombastic warmongering to the zombie-like must-have-more overspending we've grown so used to.

Thanks for all, Hilzoy. You made a difference.

No, hilzoy!!! I hope you change your mind after vacation! ObiWi is the first thing I go to every morning to see what exciting new, thoughtful, thought-provoking, ethical words you have for us. It's a true loss! I thought one day I could get my O'Reilly/Limbaugh watching brother to read your column and realize that all the hate isn't necessary.
Missing you already,

Not a regular reader, but bumped into something you wrote - about why people get trapped in abusive relationships - that not only made me finally understand, but came at a time when I could actually help two separate people who are in that position. Thanks for what you did, and remember that even just this little part of what you did helped a bunch of other people.


Words fail.

I heard African Christians have a saying, "Stay in the Light."

Thanks for all the great writing, Hilzoy. And best wishes for great things in your future. You're one of a kind and will certainly be missed.



You are by far one of my favorite, but more importantly, most trusted reads. Thank you for everything. Please enjoy the trip, and I very much wish you the best of everything.

Another first-time hilzoy delurker here. I've only been lurking here for about a year -- ever since I stumbled into ObWi and found this place to be an oasis in the "desernet". I will miss your voice. And ditto to everything Gary has said. Selfishly, I continue to hope that you will grace us with your words in the future.

Calling Publius!

Isn't this, somehow, actionable under the Deceptive Trade Practices Act, and can't we then get an injunction, requiring Hilzoy to continue blogging unabated?

"Isn't this, somehow, actionable under the Deceptive Trade Practices Act, and can't we then get an injunction, requiring Hilzoy to continue blogging unabated?"

I think we might look into an Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigation, on the grounds that a blog that isn't equipped with a Hilzoy is not worker-safe. This place could easily become hazardous in the absense of a Hilzoy.

Does anyone know a Blogger Compliance Assistance Specialist to ask for advice regarding this?

You will be sorely missed both here & at Steve's place. Have a great vacation & keep in touch, please. And thank you for all of your hard work, your posts are always well researched and well thought out, making them not only entertaining, but very informative.

I don't know but to say but that your departure saddens me. But on the bright side, our loss might be your gain. Enjoy your non-blogging time!

Thank you for the dialogue Hilzoy. Have fun in Rwanda.

I've been a regular reader and extremely sporatic commenter for most of your tenure with the kitty. I would like to thank you. Your posts here, with their simple and beautiful humanity even more than their brillance meant more to me than you can know. When everywhere I turned darkness seemed on the march, you spread light. Thank you.

Sorry you will no longer be posting. Thanks for your wonderful words, I have learnt much.
Enjoy your hols.

This is terrible, if understandable, news. I have often wondered how you could do all that you do, and to do it so thoroughly and so well. ObWi has become the only blog that I read regularly because of your rational and reasoned postings. I can't imagine life without Hilzoy! On the other hand, I can see how it could become a chore for you. So, thank you immensely for all of your time and effort given to freely to us all. You helped me to remain sane during an insane period. I also hope that you will find that you would like to return after a good break. You are addictive! [Grin]

I wish you well and hope that you enjoy your time in Rwanda.

Um, I know this is a bit indecent to ask, but is there somewhere we can send a resume for the job opening?

I can't help it. It's this economy. I need the work, people!

"I need the work, people!"

And it pays so well.

Also, you get to constantly fight spam, and deal with plentiful abuse. Great bennies.

Chiming in way late here to add my voice to the chorus. The best tribute I can offer to hilzoy is that her always thoughtful and well-reasoned posts changed my opinion on more than one issue. When I first started reading ObWi, back in 2005 or so, I thought hilzoy was the best liberal blogger on the intertubes. I was wrong, of course. She is the best blogger, period.

God speed and God bless, hilzoy.

Thank you for helping to shepherd so many of us through the dark years. Your empathy, perspective, world view, and deft touch made many of us feel that there was hope for us.

If you won't be writing here, where will you be channeling your energies? Something tells me that you will have some type of outlet for your wisdom...

hilzoy may be retiring, but at least we'll still have SuperUser's insightful posts. Right? Right?

How can I describe the wondrous thing that is a hilzoy blog post? Someone who has thought through the issues clearly and perceptively has put those thoughts, transparently, into words. So often political discussion is filled with confusion and distortion, with bold yet ambiguous claims followed by more modest restatements (whose relation to the original claim is ambiguous as well), and with people who address a topic by putting on blinders and narrowing in on the one point that puts their side in the best light (or the other side in the worst light). hilzoy has a way of laying out exactly what she is saying and what she's not saying, without defensiveness, keeping everything in perspective while making her insightful and well-supported point. There is no one else like her writing on politics, and it is sad to see her hang up her keyboard.

Hah. Now you'll have the free time to interact with actual human beings. Trust me: after many many long years blogging, it turns out that it's incredibly rewarding to return to the forum of the, admittedly slower, but infinitely more colored practice of hanging out with newly discovered physical beings and shooting the shit with them over beers. The internet is really only ever useful in facilitating this particular endeavor.

I'm in denial, and I plan to stay awhile.

Jay Rosen reported your news thusly:

Hilzoy, a top liberal blogger, says its time to call it quits. The emergency has passed.

0) I doubt he's right, but you're only fractionally responsible for it, and quite entitled to time off.

1) I never read your blog before today, so your retirement fills me with relief that I won't have to ;-)

2) It's definitely a good idea to retire from blogging. You'll find it turns into a sabbatical. Then you'll be back with something new and even better.

Reps loose S.P. And we loose hilzoy. What a los, i am going to drive my car off of the clif. It is a junk anyway.

I have nothing to add to this chorus except to say that I have been a reader for years and I will dearly, dearly miss reading your perspective on world affairs, Hilzoy. I have found more value in your your writing over the years than I have found in much I can think of that I've read in mainstream journalism, let alone mainstream punditry. I wish you the best in all your future endeavors.

Thanks, Hilzoy, and so long.

I like to think that on the Internet, as well as anywhere else, we have the ability, the choice, to stay sane and civil. I like to think that those of us who make that choice have an effect on the people we interact with. And I'd like to think that in the time you describe as insane, everyone who made the choice to hold on to their sanity contributed to the larger enterprise of creating a sane and civil society on the Internet; a choice that may well have affected the larger society.

I also like to think that we can all do this work, which means not depending on particular individuals, however talented, brave, and decent, to do it for us. That means that whatever decision Hilzoy makes, I salute her, and trust that if she does indeed stay retired, other people will respond to the same imperatives that brought her to Obsidian Wings.


(and fare well wherever you fare)

I've long thought that Hilzoy is the best incarnation I've seen in blogland of the public intellectual.

I almost want to argue that people with her gifts have such a unique and important contribution to make that they actually have a responsibility to do so, but (a) I recognize the folly of my trying to address an argument about moral responsibility to Hilzoy, of all people, and (b) it's her choice and I respect it.

Biggest loss to the world of intelligent online commentary since Billmon left. Good luck.

Gary Farber is spot on in saying that Hilzoy has changed many people for the better without even knowing it. I'm an Australian political junky that found Obsidian Wings around the time that Hilzoy joined. I was immediately struck by the subtlety and moral attentiveness of her thinking, and that it was expressed so lucidly and devoid of academic pretension. Then, over time, her character revealed itself not just in her superb, careful arguments, but in the way she conducted herself with her commenters, co-bloggers and opponents - her amazing decency, tolerance and grace. She set a fine example and it was obviously natural for her to be like this.

I remember when Andrew Olmsted came aboard Obsidian Wings. I was furious about the war in Iraq and here was this soldier who wouldn't come out and explicitly condemn the occupation. But, Hilzoy introduced him to the readership and it was plain that they were friends. By then, that was enough to make me read his posts with an open mind. Andrew showed his own remarkable integrity, intelligence and graciousness, and he was an invaluable correction for me in my thinking about the war and the role of soldiers in it. I hope it's OK for a stranger like me to talk about such a thing here, but it seemed to me so fitting that there was an obviously a special and strong affinity between Hilzoy and Andrew. It seemed to this reader that they recognised in each other a rare commitment to treating those around them with careful respect and compassion.

I remember reading that Andrew Olmsted had died. I was in the US staying with my then girlfriend, and I hadn't looked at the internet for a few days. It was hard to explain why I was suddenly weeping, why my anger at the stupid war mongers took on a new and unexpected dimension, why it was personal. He was this blogger...no, I didn't comment or interact with him...I just read him...there was something really importantly exemplary about him. Decency. Patience. Courage. Honour. If everyone was like him, nobody would need to be killed. We wouldn't need soldiers.

Another moral philosopher I admire, Raimond Gaita, cites a study that shows that prison guards treat their prisoners better if they see those prisoners being visited by their loved ones. Seeing the prisoners being valued and shown respect impresses upon the guards their shared humanity, a humanity thay is otherwise so easily obscured in adversarial conditions. Hilzoy is a writer with an extraordinary talent for constructing arguments in wonderfully crafted language with a sparkling wit, but it is her capacity to treat others with compassion and respect regardless of disagreement that has left the biggest impression on this long time lurker.

Once again I'm taken by surprise by how moved I am by a post from Hilzoy. This bloke is blinking back the tears. Thanks for the years of beautiful thoughts, you crazy Kantian. Please write more stuff for the non-academic reader. It's not just America that needs you!

Wow. I feel like I've been here forever. Way back when Moe was posting and Jackmoron was always around... When Slarti went away for a while (that was weird) and then came back (that was weird). When Von and Katherine were both posting regularly. When Andrew was posting as GKar. Losing Andy hurt the most, obviously. But losing Hilzoy cuts deeply.
Good luck with everything, Hilzoy, and Thank you.
Hopefully Sebastian and Von will pick up the pace.


I hope this comes out as eloquent as I intend.... you served a unique function in the liberal blogosphere, because you were the most willing to return to first principles on a regular basis. I suspect that more than most, your posts supplied the liberal blogosphere with a certain kind of needed oxygen.

Now here's the rhetorically weird part: IF the liberal blogosphere recognizes the considerable gap your absence will create, and adjusts for it, and is able to return to first principles in a similar way more regularly, then I suspect we'll get along okay without you, and I wish you the best.

The trouble is, I'm not sure it will. Your posts were a little too good for that.

But enjoy your "retirement" anyway. I hope it allows you time to immerse yourself in your academic work.

I came here via a romance novel blog, and it was a bit of an unfortunate introduction, but I kept coming back for the amazing analysis and wisdom that I couldn't find anywhere else. As a result, I was much better informed about the US election than my own, and can only wish there was a Canadian equivalent of ObWi, and of hilzoy, who is probably the most intelligent and eloquent political blogger I've read.
Enjoy your trip, and best wishes in whatever you choose to do afterwards. I was amazed at how you managed to keep up such a consistent output at the highest level without showing fatigue, so I hope you are able to rest and rejuvenate whether you choose to eventually drop back into public service (because surely that's what you've been doing educating all of us) or not.

Thank you, and best wishes.

Sorry to hear this. I'm proud of a lot of what I used to post here, but my biggest contribution was suggesting you as a replacement. I hope you do, at some point, come back or find another place to write stuff where I can read it.

*delurking* I've read about everything you've written four the last four years. An excellent body of work, very sorry to see you go. Enjoy your next project.

*for the last four years, of course

Thank you hilzoy, for all you have written over the years. I will miss you, and will continue to hope that you return to blogging in some fashion. You are my favorite blogger bar none, and my understanding of what's going on in the world will be diminished in your absence.

Good luck in all your endeavors.

Go if you must, but know that your equitable, measured insight is an indispensable part of the discourse, whether the country is sane or insane. No one on the internet does that quite like you, and that makes you a treasure. I hope you pull a Brett Favre and come back soon!

You will most certainly be missed. Thank you so much for all you have contributed to the online blogging community.

Your writing has inspired me, and clearly many, many others. Well done. And much joy to you in this next phase of life coming.

I've rarely commented, but I'll chime in to agree with everyone else: you will be missed. You are one of the greats.


Speaking as a relative newcomer here, I know your comments will be valued in whatever venue you choose to make them.

Oh, and thanks for the best creature-name ever. "Bare-faced go-away bird" knocks the Sarcastic Fringehead right off its perch — which is hard to do since the Fringehead is a fish.

Enjoy Rwanda. And, thanks.

Calm amid the storm,
Her words made our world saner:
Water to a thirst.

same here. hey guess what though, the reality is that you only shut down your blog until you want to turn it on again.

Give it time, Hilzoy.

I bet you realize that it really is still insane, that what has changed is that there's no longer an alcoholic fake-cowboy president rubbing our faces in it.

Whatever you decide, I've appreciated your thoughtful writing.

I haven’t been around for a really long time and I regret that.
But hilzoy, you constituted and convened a place that was my island of sanity in a pretty crazy time. I have yet to encounter a voice as sane, trustworthy and compelling as yours, and the wonderfully swell people who formed the ObWi community during my time here I still regard as treasured friends though I have never met any of them. They were here because you were here.
I have been in awe of you and your accomplishments and will continue to be. Your unique presence here has quite truly been a balm for many fine souls.
So boundless, enduring thanks.
Ave atque Vale.
Felix Culpa and his alter ego, Ed Fielding

Hilzoy, I have so appreciated your lucid, compassionate, insightful posts over the past few years.

I'm a Canadian living in New Zealand who has spent far too much of the past 9 years shouting in the direction of Washington. It's been such a comfort to me to have known that there exist people like you who are thoughtful and articulate and who can help keep us focussing on our values. In particular, it has been wonderful to have posts on issues which are fact-based and arguments which are supported by data--a rarity in the blogosphere. I will miss your posts terribly; I look for them specifically every day, and they're the only thing among my RSS feeds that I never skip.

I am really grateful to you for all that you have written and I hope you enjoy all the newly free time you'll have.


Thanks for well stated contrarian (at least from where I look) viewpoints without the rest of what being contrary typically implies. And you actually listen. I respect your respect.

And I'm with Gary. There is no requirement to daily blog to be a blogger. Going cold turkey sets you up for those "unretirement" things. Just blog when it suits your fancy.

So this question reflects my ignorance. I must've first read Obsidian Wings after you joined, Hilzoy, and I'd tacitly assumed that you'd founded it.

So who actually did found the blog?

Well, if anything would get me back this would. Jeeze.

First, Hilzoy – THANK YOU! You have given so much of yourself to all of us. Whether we agreed with you or argued with you – you treated us all the same. I’ll echo many others in saying “best blogger ever”. And please let me know where you next make your thoughts public. If it happens to be a book that costs $29.95 I’ll buy it (hint hint). Shoot - $49.99…

If you do truly retire now – I’m sure you’ve had doubts. “Did I make a difference?” Let me just say, as someone from the opposite side of the isle – did you ever!

I went from Bush supporting, war supporting, torture indifferent, etc. – to voting for Obama. That is you. I went from relatively indifferent on gay rights to strongly supporting them. That is you.

You’ve changed my thinking in so many ways I can not list them all. So many times I wanted to tear my eyes away from a post of yours. Because you made so much sense that I knew if I read it all you would change my opinion. And damn it, after enough years, opinions is all some of us have. But I had to “read the whole thing” as they say…

Some of that was very painful, but necessary. I can honestly say that in hindsight I could not have swallowed that bitter pill if offered by anyone but you.

You did that! You.

You had help of course. Many of the regulars here influenced me greatly as well – but they were all commenting on a post of yours – you were the catalyst.

Did I, as a married man, who loves my wife very much, have a blog crush on you? Hell Ya! As my political opposite, I said more than once that I would marry you if I was not already taken.

Take care; enjoy your vacation, and your free time after that. You will be missed, but you have answered the call and done your part – hell, you’ve done the part of 20 people at least.

You are the best there ever was, and as a conservative, I will miss your posts forever.

OTOH, I can now retreat from the interwebs again with no guilt at all that I may be missing a great Hilzoy post…

Take care Hilzoy, and never doubt for a minute that you had a very significant impact on people’s lives.

Wow, sorry to see you go Hilzoy. Your posts and comments were challenging, humane, and interesting. We need wise [whatever you "are" ;-)] women giving perspective, hope you dip in again some time/s.

Hilzoy, come back! Hilzoy!

"So who actually did found the blog?"

This question comes up every few months. :-)

It was founded by refugees from tacitus.org, ironically enough. Specifically, Moe Lane, back when he was sane, Katherine R. and von.

Supposedly Moe was the representative of the right, Katherine of the left, and von of the center, more or less. Not that anyone seriously expected them to represent more than their own personal beliefs, of course.

First posts here from November, 2003.

I showed up as a commenter in the next month, myself. Or maybe not until January; Moe made a post linking to me in December, anyway.

I tend to get the sequence confused in my memory after that. Katherine retired and was replaced by Edward, I think. Or maybe she was replaced by Hilzoy, and Edward came and went later; I forget now. Sebastian arrived somewhere around December, 2004, after Hilzoy. Charles/Paul Bird, aka "Bird Dog" was added at some early point. For a brief time Slartibartfast was a front-page poster. Von kind of came and went a few times. Charles Bird eventually took a temporary sabbatical he's not yet back from. Edward burned out and quit. Katherine eventually burned out and quit. Hilzoy came in somewhere around then, although Katherine later would guest on and off, sometimes quite frequently, but then eventually completely burned out again.

Very lately Publius was added. Sometime around last week Eric Martin showed up.

Someone should really do a timeline chart. I continue to emphatically declare, as I have from the first time the sidebar got revised, that the honorable thing to do is list all past contibutors on the sidebar as "emeritus," rather than disappear than into non-persons, which has always struck me as a completely bizare way to "honor" the contributors here: forget about them completely and officially pretend they never were here. It's not my blog, and not my place to say, but I've always found that lack of listing/crediting outrageous, I'm afraid.

Come back, OCSteve, come back!

To a really bitchen girl, have a really bitchen summer. It was great having you in blog class these last 4 years! WOW can you believe it's finally over? I can't. Remember that time Cheney shot that guy in the face? That was a riot! Of course you realize all the other girls were always REALLY jealous of you.... and of course you were always the coolest girl in blog class. Well, I'm sure you'll go out there and kick the world's ass with whatever you decide to do, but whatever it is, stay as cool as you are in the future.

Luv Ya!



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