Long before I started writing for Wizbang, I was a fan of blogs. And one of the ones I checked at least daily for updates was Steven Den Beste’s page. He might have been a smidgen long-winded, but he was one of the most thorough, relentless, and insightful analysts I have ever encountered.
In fact, I think it could be safely said that he was a negative influence on my blogging career — he was so damned good, I didn’t believe I had any business even trying. I overcame that, obviously, but it was a tough obstacle to overcome.
A while ago, Steven announced his retirement, citing health concerns that prevented him from continuing. I, along with a lot of other people, mourned his decision, and still checked back in with his site every now and then to see if circumstances had changed and permitted him to return. And yes, I am ashamed to admit a part of me was just the tiniest bit grateful.
Still, though, Steven cast a huge shadow. Sometimes, when I’m writing one of my longer pieces, I’ll reach a point where I look at all I’ve written and question whether or not it was worth finishing and publishing. I’ll ask myself “WWDBD” — What Would Den Beste Do? — and, more often than not, I’ll finish it off and toss it up there — usually to some degree of success. There IS an audience out there for long-form essays, in excess of 1,000 words at a time. Just look at the popularity of Bill Whittle, Will Franklin, and Wretchard.
But while Den Beste’s influence and legacy are not to be underestimated, his presence is still sorely missed.
But no more, it seems.
He’s back, and Red State’s got him. Lucky bastards.
It looks like he’s easing back into things — only one of his barely half-a-dozen pieces breaks the thousand-word barrier — but lord knows we could use him these days.
My fragile ego aside, of course.