The Sullivan Decade

I came to blogging very very late, and there are days when the stats tell me I have not come to it at all. There are a number of things that brought me here. When I was in creative writing workshops in the 1980s, I kept trying to explain that I had no interest in fiction, poetry, the “literary essay” or journalism, and that I nonetheless wanted to be a writer because I had fallen in love with Nietzsche’s writing (not, on the whole, his views) and wanted to be that kind of writer, who “says in a few words what others say in books” as he put it (if memory serves). The workshoppies had no idea what I was talking about, I assumed that this would be generally true, and I stopped writing. My twenty year pursuit of tenure (!) was about, among other things, gaining the freedom to write as I chose.

But the biggest influence was Andrew Sullivan. I came to Sullivan very late. I started reading him when I found that having abandoned movement conservatism in disgust, with no desire to try to blend in with the misguided liberal academic Poseidonians I had spent much of my adult life Among, there seemed no one left. Sullivan was cranky and kooky about many things (primarily La Sarah), but he was too right on too many others to ignore. His critique-from-within-and-beyond of movement conservatism and what it has become is unavoidable. His coverage of the Iranian reform movement was an indispensable corrective to the mainstream media’s tendency to see all things Iranian through the lens of our own political obsessions. And his writing on torture is, I am convinced, for the ages. His journey has been in so many ways similar to my own, but more importantly, he showed me that there is now a vehicle for that young man I remember being twenty-five years ago who wanted to say in a few words what others said in books.

So here’s to blogging, and one of its masters, on his tenth anniversary. Andrew: Sláinte!

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One comment on “The Sullivan Decade

  1. RV says:

    I’ll drink to that! Sullivan’s on my “Morning Read” bookmark tab of blogs, and he really is a national treasure.

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