The well-loved blogger and political satirist known as Jon Swift has died. Swift, whose real name (as we now know) was Al Weisel, was 46 years old.
The news was broken to the blogosphere in a comment posted to his blog by his mother:
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 star 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)
I’m a late arrival to the outpouring of tributes to Al/Jon, and since I didn’t know him personally I have little to add. Little, but not nothing.
Jon Swift was the first high-ranking blog to include C&B in its blogroll. Why would he do me that favor? As he put it:
Although this is a conservative blog I have a liberal blogrolling policy. I will add anyone to my blogroll who adds me to theirs, whether conservative, liberal, moderate, libertarian or Albigensian, with the exception of spam or porn blogs or anything else your mother would be embarrassed to read.
His intention in doing this was the same one that spurred him to create Blogroll Amnesty Day — he believed in bloggers helping each other out and promoting each other. I see this as strong evidence of the kind of person he must have been.
Others can say far more from their own experience of knowing Al, beginning with the moving remembrance by his friend Jason Chervokas. An impromptu Blogroll Amnesty Day is taking place at Sadly, No! in his honor, for those who’d like to see and/or post links to good and little-known blogs. Lastly, Skippy the Bush Kangaroo seems to have become the de facto hub for all things related to Al’s passing.
As Jill effectively says over at Brilliant at Breakfast, those of us who didn’t know Al Weisel personally but only appreciated him are nevertheless affected by his death. His is one of the precious few blogs that stood as incontrovertible refutation to those who say there is nothing of substance or quality in the blogosphere. His passing is a loss to all of us who do this with any dedication. The man made a difference.
At least for now, his blog remains in place. At least as long as it does, it will also remain in my blogroll.
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