December 19, 2004
Thank You, Steven Den Beste
Nelson Ascher says
it, and so do I:
You’ve proved to be a reliable compass. You helped us to apply reason
and method to a chaotic situation. It would be unfair to ask more of you, but
it is in the nature of things to do so. I’m grateful for your work. Thank you.
I consider myself lucky to have discovered him a few short months before his
retirement (and to have received three denbestelanches). I wouldn't be blogging
today if it weren't for Steven Den Beste. I distinctly remember the feeling, on
first encountering him, that I had discovered a kindred intellectual spirit. It
was through perusing his archives that I met Amritas, who
both inspired and encouraged me to blog, and then introduced me to
Pixy Misa, my gracious host. Then
Steven's early links brought me a lot of my first readers.
Steven has visited Nelson's blog, and left
a trail of some of the most heart-wrenching comments I have ever read. I have
preserved them in the extended entry (as a backup) for posterity.
According to Glenn Reynolds,
Instapundit: HOWARD OWENS
has returned to the blogosphere. Who's next? Steven Den Beste?
Steven Den Beste replies:
||Dec 18 2004, 10:59 pm
|You can forget it. It's not going to happen. I've been suffering for
years from a genetically-caused degenerative disease. For the last year or
so, the only way I was able to continue posting was by taking increasing
doses of very powerful stimulants. (Understand that they were palliative;
there's no cure or treatment for the underlying disease, and no one knows
what causes it. The only reason it's known to be genetic is because it is
found in family lines. In my case it was my father's family.)
Those prescription drugs have serious side effects which I put up with in
order to be able to keep writing for the site. But as that year went on, my
enjoyment in writing for the site drained away.
It's entirely possible that there were thousands of satisfied readers who
enjoyed what I wrote, but I never heard from most of them. 80% or more of my
email consisted of kibitzing, criticism, and other forms of ankle-biting.
"Ignore them" someone said, but that's easy for you to say. Ignoring one or
two such letters isn't too hard. But when it goes on like that day after
day, week after week, dozens of such letters each week, I reached the point
where writing posts became a duty, something I had to force myself to do,
not something I looked forward eagerly to doing. Instead of looking forward
to the process of writing, I cringed about the negative email I was
guaranteed to receive in response.
As to that purported majority who may have liked what I was writing, I did
occasionally hear from them. Such letters usually begin like this: "I've
been a reader of your site for a very long time, and have long enjoyed what
you've written. But now I'm writing for the first time because I've found
something I can criticize."
That's not helpful when it comes to encouragement.
||Dec 18 2004, 10:59 pm
|The only reason I wrote was because I enjoyed writing. But as time went
on, I enjoyed it less and less. It almost seemed as if there was an
organized attempt by my readers to try to ruin the experience for me, by
assuring me after each and ever post that I'd done a lousy job of it.
I tried several times to write posts explaining to my readers why the mail I
was receiving was draining all pleasure from the writing process for me, but
it never did any good. And as time went on, it took progressively larger
doses of the drugs to make it possible for me to write, which meant
increasingly greater side effects from those drugs.
Finally, at the end of July, I'd had enough. The writing had become a chore,
a burden. Everything I posted reaped a flood of critical email telling me
all the things I'd gotten wrong, and collectively that email robbed me of
any trace of pleasure I had gotten from writing in the first place.
Meanwhile, the side effects from the drugs had gotten so serious that I
decided it just wasn't worth going on that way. Why should I make that
physical sacrifice for a group of people whose only purpose seemed to be to
tear down everything I wrote?
So I stopped taking the drugs. Without them, I could not write, not as I had
been, not about the subjects I had been writing about, not in the depth I
had been writing.
The result was deep relief. There was no longer any feeling of obligation to
write, no compulsion to do so even when I didn't want to. The ankle-biting
mail declined to nearly zero. Most of the side effects of the drugs went
away. (Alas, some of them seem to be permanent.)
||Dec 18 2004, 11:00 pm
|Why did I start
Chizumatic? First and foremost because it's about a subject which is
trivial and unimportant. All the kibitzers and backbiters have better things
to do and they leave me alone. Besides which, even if they were scrutinizing
it, they'd either find easily verified facts (yes, thus-and-so series
actually does have 24 episodes on 6 DVDs) or else they'd find that I was
writing opinions. And while one might disagree with opinions, one cannot say
they are "right" or "wrong".
Which means that the ratio of backbiting letters has dropped from about 80%
to maybe 50%, which is a substantial improvement.
The overall rate of mail has dropped substantially. Where I used to get
anything up to 30 letters per day, I suspect I get maybe 5 letters per week
about Chizumatic. Where USS Clueless tended to get visited about 10,000
times per day, Chizumatic gets an average of about 400 visits per day (and I
suspect a fair number of those are accidental). It would be nice if it were
more, but considering the restricted subject matter that's about all I could
reasonably expect. And anyway, with Chizumatic I'm now writing for me, not
for my audience.
400 visits per day without putting up with drug side effects and without
floods of critical mail is good enough for me. And since my health continues
to deteriorate, it would take even more of those drugs than I was taking in
July, along with even worse side effects, to get me back to the point where
I could again write for USS Clueless. Sorry, folks, that's a sacrifice I'm
not willing to make for you all.
I posted for three and a half years, and made a small contribution to
getting this nation through the worst part of the crisis. I cannot help any
longer; you'll have to rely on other people now to carry the load. I gave it
everything I had to give; there's nothing left now.
||Dec 18 2004, 11:01 pm
|I feel a certain pride in helping to establish the "essay blog" as a
legitimate form, and helping to inspire others to take it up. Glenn Reynolds
performs a critical function and I have nothing but respect for him, but if
the political blogosphere had consisted of nothing but Glenn-clones, it
would never have had the political impact that it ended up having.
But I can't participate in it any longer. The only reward I ever got for
doing it was personal enjoyment, and an incessant flood of critical letters
took that away from me. In the mean time, I would have to make a significant
physical sacrifice if I once again took the drugs which made it possible for
me to operate at that level and to write in that way.
Several commenters here say they miss my writing, and I'm both flattered and
grateful for that thought. But they don't know how great a price I'd have to
pay to begin again. I'm sorry, but it's too high.
||Dec 18 2004, 11:38 pm
|And like every long post I've ever made, I can predict a lot of the
email I'll receive which will ruin things for me. Let's preempt some of it:
1. No, you cannot guess what disease I have and you do not have a suggestion
for a miracle treatment for it.
2. It will not help for you to volunteer to filter my email for me to toss
out the bad ones.
3. There is no mechanical/automated way to filter out the negative ones. And
even if there was some way to filter out the negative email, it wouldn't do
anything about the drug side effects I no longer care to suffer through.
4. Yes, new drugs are being developed all the time. But no new drugs are
coming any time soon which would help me. I'm very familiar with the
literature and am quite certain of that.
5. I don't want anyone's pity.
6. Save the platitudes. I don't want those, either.
Posted by David Boxenhorn at December 19, 2004 06:29 PM
Me too! Thank you Steven Den Beste. I have loved all your work, but most especially your anime posts. And I'm very grateful that I sent you the occasional NRR (no response required) swoony fan mail. I'm lucky, I'm an anime-head, so I still enjoy you every day.
I am sad that you had to suffer to write, but I don't pity you. Your suffering only grows your mythos for me. You remain a deeply romantic and mysterious figure, like Basil St. John with his Black Orchids, bearing agony for art or love.
Your God In the Shell post changed my life. I still think about it. Gratitude, jinnji
Crap. I had no idea.
Thank you, Steven, for all your work.
All I can say is thanks for the memories. It was all good. And as for not wanting pity, how about we just say,"understood." We miss you.
Steven, you're right. I enjoyed your postings for well over a year and failed to write to thank you for your insight and efforts. I'm making up for that now. You have been greatly missed. Best regards and wishes for less pain in your life.
Thank you SDB. Your blog was the best of the best. It might as well have been my homepage, as often as I checked for new postings. Best of luck in your new endeavors...
As it happens the one time we corresponded I disagreed. But if I had sent this man kudos every time I agreed with him neither of us would have had time for much else.
Maybe the right thing to do is to create a "Den Beste" award...
Steven Den Beste singlehandedly outdid most of the editorial boards of our 'leading' news media in the depth of his commentary on the subjects his attention turned to. And since said media elites 'protect' (mediaspeak for control) a vast gaping black hole of subjects they simply won't address, his attention in frequently taking aim at one subject or another therein gave illumination, frequently the first, for the rest of us.
1) I'd have never guessed from his writing.
2) I learned a lot from what he wrote, miss it as well.
3) My own blog transformed in part because of his style. I became more comfortable writing essay-posts of my own.
4) Like others, I wish he could come back to writing at USS Clueless, but I understand completely that he can't. We all desire things that can't come to pass (while I'm wishing, why not wish for. . . [fill in several dozen blanks]).
I propose a companion word to 'fisk'. When a person has utterly destroyed a concept or rhetorical position using logic, facts, charts, math and sarcasm, a 'denbeste' has occured.
Steven: You are a continuing inspiration. Thank you.
Well Steven, I have a few things to say, and you can take them as you will.
I didn't always think you were wonderful, but even so, you were always careful to put up your own thoughts, not just parroting someone else, and you always showed your work.
I know what it's like to get hate mail. This campaign, some of my own readers responded to some of my work with virus attacks and spam deluges, along with personal insults about my family. I had to remove the photos of my family, but otherwise I took the attacks as a sign I was hitting the mark. That's not to say you owe anybody, just an observation that mad dogs bite anyone they can.
Writers like you inspire many others. W/o getting maudlin, you've made an impact, which is something to remember with pride.
There is no rule that you have to write again, ever. Then again, if the whim catches you, there's no reason you can't toss off something once in a while, if you wish.
Fair is fiction, we live in the real world.
Jeez, I could have never guessed, either. At least I was one of the people who sent positive mail...
Maybe someone could convince Bill Whittle to pare down/edit a Best of DenBeste? Good e-mail is great, but nothing says "Thank You" like cash...
Steven if you ever see these thanks for the memories. I was one of the tens of thousands who loved your work but never said anything. Your work changed in some small way how I view and confront problems.
Best wishes, Know its a platitude but I sincerly mean it.
Precious few of us will ever create something of breathtaking beauty, but you did. Thank you for your brilliant essays.
I posted this today:
Update: Another Instapundit link raises the question of how to sit on the front porch, ready to chat or even argue, without being chased in by the mosquitoes, especially for a blogger with a large audience. Before Good&Happy, I didn't realize how much of one's persona is necessarily exposed to the world by blogging. Not to mention the intention and semi-responsibility to post regularly. It's a pleasure, and I can see how it might become not-one. And that doesn't mean we must "be nice." What a dreary thought! But, as the French teach their children, "be wise." About the consequences of our interactions. Don't drive off such resources as, with care, might be sustained.
Thank you, Steven Den Beste. I believe bloggers kept US readers honest and informed (or more nearly honest and significantly better-informed) at a point in history where we'd like to try to get it right. At this site we operate in a different, non-political arena for the most part, but keep scanning the horizon like everyone else. Thanks, Steven, you've helped interpret the signals.
I read USS Clueless since 2001 and miss it a lot. I wrote you a few emails, which I guess were not too annoying, since you sent me detailed, meaningful responses.
I wish there were something we could do about your illness... but if not, then I just wish you happiness and satisfaction.
I am reading Bill Whittle's book "Silent America" and in his Magic essay he makes tribute to Steven Den Beste for "talking about how people think-no, more than that. He was talking about what thought is".
Thank you Steven Den Beste for sharing your enlightened world to us, for you opened our minds to unlimited possibilities of hope.
I am ashamed of myself for not telling DenBeste how much I enjoyed his writing while he was still doing it.
Steven Den Beste died for your sins
Every single person who's written Steven an ankle-biting email should hang their heads low. That includes you turds in this comment forum - just can't resist getting one last barb in, can you? Your vanity is staggering.
Tripe aside, thank you Steven. Not that you're reading this, but the blogosphere truly has lost one of its most memorable essayists.
I have missed you, too. You had a way of blue-sky thinking that pulled together different threads and thoughts, and then delved down deeper into the past and further into the future than I have ever been able to on my own, but when in reading you, it all seemed so logical and certain. Certainty is comforting.
A suggestion that has occurred in the past little bit is that you might want to work with blogs like Belmont Club on how to filter out trolls. LGF seems to be pretty good at it, but folks like Wretchard who aren't techies don't have the time or the technique to keep out the disrupters.
You know yourself how destructive the disrupters are, and it would be a different sort of project for you that speaks to your strengths.
For the record, I had wondered to myself why you had no job and lived apparently idly in sunny SoCal. I decided you were either living off the profits of a really good patent, or had some sort of disability. You might want to consider if you don't want to reach out to the world, allowing the world to come to you in carefully meted out bits and pieces. I *do* think you have something left to give, and I'm pretty sure we have something to give back to you, if allowed. Wishing you the best of a warm and good future.
I read U.S.S. Clueless often. My brother (a so-called liberal) and I (a so-called conservative) found out we agree about most big issues due in part to your essays. And despite risking neck injury from nodding my head, I don’t recall sending you a note of thanks. For that I apologize. For all of the great articles, perceptive points and fearless logic, I now offer my sincere gratitude. You do whatever it is that makes you happy.
I'm one of the readers guilty of not sending an e-mail telling you how much I enjoyed your posts, mostly because I thought another 'me, too' post would bore you. Wish I'd known sooner how off the mark I was.
Thank you for what you shared, and as you said it helped clarify comlex issues and thinking during the worst parts of the last few years. I wish you all the best dealing with the health problems.
SDB, I loved your writing and the ideas it expressed. Your site was the first I visited every day. I only wish that I had sent you kudos more often. Of course its not worth the price you paid and continue to pay. Best wishes. Today is the solstice. I hope that your health improves with the daylight.
Thank you! I'm one of the readers who never wrote to thank you, but THANK YOU! I write essays, and they're nowhere near as good as yours, but then, your example helped me set a goal. I'm ever grateful.
Thank you for the precision of your thought. There were times when I would read your posts and marvel at the intellectual craftsmanship of your arguments.
The circumstances of your retirement remind me of a brilliant old professor of constitutional law I had in law school. He was someone you had to listen to very carefully when he lectured because he would state things in precise ways. He was also the toughest grader at the law school.
I had lunch with him one day, and we started talking about what it was like to teach. He said he loved it. Loved the students, the subject, the intellectual stimulation. I asked him what he didn't like. He said there was only one thing -- he didn't like to grade tests. He said, with utter sincerity, "After a semester of teaching, it is disappointing to see how little they learned."
While I may not have always learned as much as I could or should have from your posts, I certainly learned a lot. U.S.S. Clueless had a real influence and raised the generally superficial and rhetorical level of political conversation on the web (even if it didn't have that effect on your email correspondents).
Thank you again. I wish you all the best.
Folks, It's called Engineering and the best Engineers are indeed Artists. SDB was able to make the "golden thread" of logic and reason and extrapolate it into unusual realms (for Engineers, that is). His method was so incredably compelling to me. He helped me find myself. I will miss him. Like losing a friend.
I don't care if he doesn't like platitudes and even if he's an atheist- God Bless You, Steven.
Longtime SDB Reader and Huge Fan - DW
Just chiming in to express thanks for SDB. Miss you. And -- while I realize you think it's a waste of my time -- I'll pray you be comforted in your affliction.
Thanks from me too, Steven. I hope your archives and "Essential Reading Library" are always available to the intellectually curious. Entire university courses should be devoted to your thoughts and the thoughts of your featured essayists.
Thanks, Stephen. Nuff said.
I really don't have anything to add. You were my homepage for almost two years.
I regret never telling you how much I admired and treasured your work. All I can say is that I've saved much of it to pass along to my kids whenever they ask me to explain something you have already, comprehensively and intelligently, covered.
I'm sorry (for myself) that you cannot continue but I'm grateful for having been given access to at least some of your wonderful insights. Yours was a great gift to me (as well as many others).
Thank you for all your hard work and I wish you happiness and inner peace. Your essays were used a launch pad for discussions while attending Command General Staff Course for the US Army. Your logic was unassailable. First class work was the most common comment heard.
Everyone needs to find someone to look at the big picture (I call it 30,000 foot view) In our world of instant news, instant analysis and instant heros, we do not take enough time to look at the current situation in historical context.
SDB did that for me and I am grateful. Sometimes we hope that a free service will last forever. Little do we know how much it costs.
Thank you SDB for what you insights. Also, thank you for showing courage in stopping writing and not just following the crowd.
You are missed, but are not forgotten. You have left a mark on all of us. That will be your legacy, revel in it.
You have been in my prayers. Thanks.
You are one among very few people who have impacted my life. Thank you!
Well hell, Steven - now I feel guilty. I read you for years - and I never emailed. I agreed with most everything you posted about on politics and foreign policy - and on the rare occasion when I thought I disagreed, I figured it was because I didn't fully understand the subject (seriously - your posts were rather intimidating) . I found the history posts fascinating and enlightening and fun to read (and not so intimidating, as I have a much surer grasp of history than of foreign policy). As for the scientific/technical stuff, it went so far over my head I would've needed satellites to track it but sometimes I'd read it just for fun and then think "Huh. Wonder what that was about..."
You're in my thoughts and prayers as you deal with your condition.
Wow -- I really like the idea of the Den Beste award. Maybe for the blogger who's pioneered something new? Most innovative blogger? Strongest voice? Best analysis?
SDB could have won in any of those, btw.
One of those guilty of asking, demanding even, that you please come back and write for us again. Boy do I feel crappy now.
/Salute and Thank You/
Your impact on the blogsphere may be far greater than you imagine, sir.
Thanks, Mr. DenBeste. I always enjoyed your writing. You were at the right place at the right time.
Steven, thanks for being so very kind to me in the past. Your work is an encouragement, and as I delve deeper into the anime world I know I'll have a solid guidepost past Noir and Cowboy Bebop.
I must say with regret, that I should have written you more often to thank you for your inspiration. What little I did was not enough. Please accept my sympathies for your condition, and remember that USS Clueless was always, and will be, a font of essay-wisdom for me.
Thank you very much
If two people agree on everything, one of them isn't necessary. Do you think anyone who runs a site gets 80% "pat-on-the-back" emails? People send emails, make comments, etc., when they have a case to make, an argument to put forth. Granted, those who do so only for the purpose of being nasty and hateful really shouldn't bother...
But it's no surprise to me that SDB got such treatment. It should have always been expected and if I put myself out there I would expect the same.
Now, having said that, there is no reason anyone should criticize SDB for quitting or turning his back on USS Clueless. He is not and never was obligated to maintain it. It always was merely an outlet for him, for whatever reason, and we should just be grateful for him putting as much work into it as he did. Kudos to SDB and I hope to find more people out there who selfishly and selflessly post such content.
You were not only the template from which the essay-blogger arose, you continued to be among the very best of them for the entire time you wrote. Wretchard, Spengler, Nelson Ascher, Victor Davis Hanson, Michael J. Totten, Roger L. Simon, Donald Sensing, Daniel W. Drezner, David Warren, Ed Morrissey, Bill Whittle, James A. Lileks, and many others owe you more than they can ever repay, as do we all.
I submit that future Weblog Awards in the Best Essayist category should be entitled Den Beste Awards, for you almost singlehandedly defined the genre, and are largely responsible for not only its existence, but also its excellence.
With Great Respect,
Joe E. Dees
Thank you Steven. You gave me clarity when the world was too damn chaotic.
After the attacks of 9/11, I wondered in what direction America had to take to defeat this evil. You made me understand.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.
No platitudes, no complaints.
Just "Thanks", and "Good luck".
I must say I was one of the ankle biters. (JFETs among other subjects).
Steve and I carried on a number of conversations over those magic years. I'm honored to have been one of those fortunate enough to have been engaged by Steve in several conversations.
The war is well in hand Steve thanks to your marvelous efforts. It was Belmont Club (frequently refrenced by Steve) that got me started blogging. Which makes you my blog father once removed.
Well, you'd have to class me among the "ankle-biters" among SDB's admirers, because I rarely wrote unless I had something to contribute. Sometimes this was in the form of a correction or disagreement; just as often it was an extension of his thought beyond where he had (publicly) taken it. My only justification for omitting general kudos was that, being well aware of the volume of email he was getting, I certainly didn't want to add to it with a bunch of AOL-style "me too!" messages.
But let me just turn AOL mode on for a moment, and in response to all the kind words and thanks being expressed here, add
I visited your site quite often and I'm not ashamed to admit that a lot of the more cerebral stuff did a fly by on me. I wish you the best.
I've often enjoyed reading SDB's blog. I only wrote him once or twice because those were both the only times I thought I had anything relevant to say and because I figured he was being overwhelmed by messages anyways. I'm sorry to say that I've never once considered sending an "atta boy" message to SDB because I figured it would add even more email to his workload and that my continuously visiting his site would reflect my opinions directly.
I'm sorry to hear about SDB's medical problems, I have some serious ones of my own, and the lack of fun he had in blogging. I would hope that SDB would look at his site statistics and realize that however many critics he might have had, he had a lot more fans.
USS Clueless has sailed its last voyage, from the grey havens, across the sea and into the West.
Thank you. Thank you for your writing, for your thought, for linking to me, and for all you did. Thank you.
You were the best thing that has appeared in the blogosphere. No-one, not anyone, made posts as good as those of Steven C. DenBeste.
Thousands of us miss it badly. And we're sorry about the assholes.
Thank you, Steven. It was greatly due to your writing that I understood as best as I could the war on terror, and more precisely the war in Iraq.
Thanks, Steven for your great work. You and Lileks helped get me addicted to bloggers, and my knowledge has expanded exponentially as a result.
I never was able to get "into" history and politics before, but after 9/11 I knew I had to. And I'm glad I had a kindred spirit to help guide me.
Thank you, Steven Den Beste, for your contributions to public discourse, contributions I can never hope to match.
OK. I am guilty. I was an "ankle biter" sine quo non. The reason: Stephen was the only major blog writer who ever *wrote me back*! Glenn never did it and, I guess, couldn't have because of his traffic and because it wasn't Glenn's style to philosophize as much as Stephen. Andrew Sullivan never wrote me back although I sent at least 100 emails to him since 9-11...but Andrew should have because I am a lot smarter than that turncoat and he could have learned something if he bothered to correspond. Andrew is the only blogger who seems to have gotten less mature and wise since 9-11. Stephen was the best because he taught me the main reason for the Iraq War: reversing the power structure in the Middle East from Sunni to Shiite dominance.
Anyway, I haven't stated why I was an ankle biter with Stephen. The answer: he insisted that conservatives have to pretend that the USA *lost* the Vietnam War in order to maintain credibility with liberals. Never mind that Nixon/Kissinger split the Comintern and, thus, won the Indochina War strategically.
I considered that topic big enough to ankle-bite. I ankle-bit the Bush 2004 Reelection Campaign on the same subject. I still believe that the Republicans have to stop allowing the Dems to have the "We lost the Vietnam War" meme.
Meanwhile, I owe the biggest "THANK YOU" to Stephen for having explained the war on terror to me in a way that noone else has, including Rumsfeld and Debka. I would say that the Belmont Club is the closest replacement for Stephen.
Thank you, Steven. I have greatly missed your writing, which had a profound and positive effect on me.
Absolutely stunning, iconoclastic mind. Steven, we were lucky to have you while we did. You'll be missed. Many thanks.
Sorry, somehow I signed my name twice in signing off.
I began reading blogs about a year ago when I discovered DenBeste. I have checked his blog daily, even since he has stopped blogging, and have read everything in his archeives. I like what he wrote, I appriciate his opinions and am in awe of the clairity of logic and expression. As an engineer, I am inspired by his ability to bring systems engineering techniques to the analysis of government, politics, war and the use of technology.
There are other sites that are excellent but his remains at the top of my list. Informative, entertaining, and inspirational on many levels.
Still. At. The. Top.
Den Beste was one of the best writers on the web, intellectually engaging and thorough, idealistic, while undeluded. He is much missed
Thank you Mr. Den Beste. I read your site every day while you were posting. I never sent an email thanking you (or ankle-biting). I hope you read this and know how much I enjoyed your writing, and how much I learned.
Best of luck.
Steven: If love is sacrifice, then you have truly loved your country. I hope many more people in the future will get the chance to enjoy the vast archive you left.
As a non-American, I enjoyed your work often, but sadly never told you. I think I felt that it was out of my league to comment on. Yet the traffic volume you earned tells another story--a great number of people enjoyed all your work.
That you forced your genius out through a medium (writing) that was clearly not you own, speaks volumes about the effort and passion you gave to your ideas. That fact was not lost on many.
Possibly a Solzhenitsyn for our times?
I think it warrants noting that www.davidwarrenonline.com and http://belmontclub.blogspot.com were my replacements for denbeste.nu. The first blog I read every day is still www.debka.com of course. Then I do Freerepublic and Instapundit and maybe Drudge and Spiegel (German site).
Now about that idea I had way back when about using standard projectile weapons on spacecraft; I @#$^3*POW*#^#%WHAMMO$%^*OOOF*(^%%Never mind....Thanks though ;)
Never pitied you.
Envied, yes. Pitied, no.
I enjoyed your writing and felt a bit put out when you no longer had your essays. Without food for thought I would starve.
If you're not there, I guess I can either go hungry or start doing the cooking myself.
Gee Steve, I didn't even guess at the underlying situation that led you to drop political blogging. I feel somewhat taken aback.
Steve, after you resigned from blogging I yearned to send you a short note thanking you for all you have done. I didn’t because you had made it clear that your emails had become more than you could take and—it seemed to me—that you probably valued my email silence more than fan mail.
For what it's worth, I can only offer a heartfelt genuflection in your general direction for your superb work. You're the main inspiration that caused me to start my own essay blog. Not that my blog is comparable to yours; your work is at that ethereal level that I can only inspire to.
Regarding the idea of a Den Beste award for excellence (I suggest that the award be limited to political essayists): Excellent idea!
All the best Steve. Continue taking care of your self, you will be in my thoughts.
Thank you for saving me the need for my daily fix aboard the good ship clueless (...I still have the need... oh well.) Now go buy that submarine.
I haven't felt this choked up since the death of Princess Di.
Thank you Steven for everything you have done and written and all you have endured while you could to continue.
Den Beste was the Sandy Koufax of the blog world. A high level of excellent performance which came to a close earlier than his fans desired.
And everything he gave us was a gift. He owes us absolutely nothing. We owe him plenty.
---Tom Nally, New Orleans
I once wrote Steven a very short little e-mail about how my great-grandfather fit his description of a European who had American ideals embedded in his genes (or something like that).
That simple little missive turned out to provide fodder for one of Steven's long essays . . . one about the political/geographical make up of Europe in the late 1800s, early 1900s.
I knew he didn't like platitudes, even back then (he'd often made mention of that fact), so I didn't write anything back, except maybe to say, "thanks." Can't really remember. It's been well over a year, maybe two, after all. If I didn't, well, hey Steven . . . "Thanks." Take it as a platitude . . . or not.
You know something? I still have the permalink to that essay on my desktop.
Excuse me, while I click on that link again.
At least now I know I need to download his collected works from his site, since I don't know when I'm going to come across an essayist as insightful and as persuasive as SDB.
I speak from long experience as a reader, a writer and a journalist. Steven Den Beste at his prime was better than George Will. Better than William Safire. Better than Pulitzer-Prize winner Maureen Dowd (that should go without saying). He's as good as Mencken. Higher praise I cannot say.
Many thanks to the Captain of the USS CLueless: it was a ship I boarded every day with great appreciation even though I never sent an email. In fact, the slow way my computer brought it up was the main reason why I upgraded. I was never into anime, but I delighted in all of the other essays, especially those dealing with the present in the light of history.
Gratefully yours, Bill Brown
Many thanks to the Captain of the USS CLueless: it was a ship I boarded every day with great appreciation even though I never sent an email. In fact, the slow way my computer brought it up was the main reason why I upgraded. I was never into anime, but I delighted in all of the other essays, especially those dealing with the present in the light of history.
It seems like the greatest minds end up in the frailest bodies.
I've heard once that the best time to plant a tree was 50 years ago. The second best time is now. So since I did nothing in 2001 and 2002 and 2003 I’d better do it now:
Thank you for all your work. I’ve always enjoyed your thinking and writing but I’ve never written back. I still wonder how you could have produced so much quality on a regular basis. I suspect there are many of us out here who did not want to worsen your remarkable workload by our own ruminations.
Steven, thank you. It's no exaggeration to say that you changed my life in a major way. I went on from that to try to maybe impact other lives, by starting a blog, getting involved in politics, donating to charities, and talking to my neighbors. All things I never much did before. So your work really mattered, to me and perhaps by extension to others. Your stones made many ripples.
I wrote a couple of times, just to say thanks and to point out a blogpost that was inspired by one of yours. But I tried not to bug you, because I got the hint that you didn't want to be bugged.
Well this time, buddy, you're getting bugged by all of us in this thread. You've gotta let us love you; you have no choice this once.
Thank You Steven, and may God bless and keep you.
I wrote to say thanks only once. I wish I had written more. SDB is one of the true greats.
Steven Den Beste only received one Seppomail, when he announced USS Clueless was coming to an end. I wrote to express my thanks for his many exceptional contributions.
In retrospect I was remiss for not frequently sending notes of gratitude and encouragement, but it did not occur to me at the time.
It would have seemed like thanking Johnny Cash for being Johnny Cash, or Peter Drucker for sharing his thoughts, or thanks David Eisenhower for your grandfather's Interstate highway system... just seemed too obvious, and likely to be lost in the cacaphony of multitudes of admirers.
Thanks, Steven, and best wishes.
Thank your for all those great essays. I never wrote a mail to thank you for them, mainly because your frequent use of the 'DWL' disclaimer and I thought you were already swamped in mail. You were one of the reasons I started blogging. Anyway, good luck and good health to you!
Dang it. I never wrote to say thank you as I thought it was unwanted based on what I had read on the subject of emails. I was afraid to ripple the pool with even a compliment.
Even now I'm not certain, but I am going to err on the side of action this time.
Thank You SDB.
I agree with everything said above; good luck to you, Steven.
>Well, you'd have to class me among the "ankle-
>biters"...I rarely wrote unless I had something
>to contribute...My only justification for
>omitting general kudos was that, being well
>aware of the volume of email he was getting, I
>certainly didn't want to add to it with a bunch
>of AOL-style "me too!" messages.
Quoted for truth. I figured that SDB's attitude towards frivolous feedback was made clear back when he eighty-sixed his message board.
Anyway, it is sad to hear that Steven Den Beste will now be permanently Shorter.
Thanks for your inspiration, your essays, your intellectual rigor. Our one brief exchange in no way expressed how much I appreciated your public expression of ideas and the processes that lead to them.
Thank you for the beauty you brought into this world, like a single teardrop from the eye of an eagle. For a long time USS Clueless was indeed the only thing keeping me going through having both legs amputated at the knee after a skiing mishap to having it revealed on my 36th birthday that my parents were imposters. Always your well-reasoned essays gave me a reason to continue, no matter how bad it got. I feel closer to you than I have felt to anyone, even God. If you are reading this I think you know where this is leading. You are the People's Pundit.
Steven, you made an impact on public debate better than a hatful of MSM big shots. Several of your essays framed my own incoherent thoughts about the War On Terror. I am really taken aback to hear about your situation. Good luck in your future endeavours. Best of luck from old London towne.
Johnathan Pearce, Samizdata.net
SDB was one of the greats, and still is. I used to wake up every morning hoping there would be a new essay.
It's a shame that ankle-biting mail made SDB so cranky - I assume that most of the mail was repetitive and boring, but SDB's writing style and topics encouraged us all to get engaged, and mailing our ideas, however silly, to SDB was probably a side effect. That said, he was working for free, and had every right to be cranky.
Anyway, best wishes, Steven. I can't know what you're going through, but I hope things get better, and I'm grateful for the work you did.
USS Clueless was one of my first and favorite blogs. I loved reading your detailed essays Steven (you are a fantastic writer by the way) but never emailed to tell you as much. Funny... I assumed you were deluged with at least as much fan mail as critical mail. So here's a hearty THANK YOU and I wish you the very best.
Thanks for everything, Mr. Den Beste. Enjoy your "retirement".
Like many others above, I also silently appreciated your wordsmithing and careful crafting of your essays. I appreciate how much it cost you, as anything of value must have some price.
I have never thanked you for your work, although I have printed it out and forced it on friends and peers, many of who deeply appreciated your logic.
I wish having fame didn't come with the burden of societal disagreement, and like others here, I do not appreciate the disagreements robbing the voices of discourse.
Mr Den Beste,
Your essays were an adornment to civilisation.
I have been inspired by many of your posts, entertained and educated by all of them (with the limited exception of the anime ones, but that's just taste), benefitted from links from USS Clueless, and at least I have the comfort of knowing that I have sung praises to you prior to now.
Having said that, I am diminished by this news. Damn. I, too, am an atheist, but you have at a minimum my best wishes and hopes.
Dear Mr. Den Beste --
Your essays were a constant inspiration and reproach. "Inspiration" is obvious -- nowhere on the web (until the advent of Wretchard) was there so thoughtful and perspective an analyst. "Reproach", because I felt like a slug because I couldn't toss off a 5000-word, perfectly written, cogent, fact-filled, penetrating analysis of military strategy, logic, philosophy, or current events every day or so.
I will miss you. Thanks for everything.
Steven, if you read this, know one thing. I think you're the smartest guy I've never met. Good luck in your future.
I've always enjoyed SDB's writing, especially his well-reasoned science and engineering insights into topics-of-the-day, often deflating an elitist pontification.
fyi, I've been very impressed by the alternate PC input and output mechanisms that are available and quickly improving. I have some elderly friends that swear by audio output (and several use audio input). They convinced me to start using the XP/MS-Office-add-ins/Acrobat text-to-speech options, and I find that I'm able to multi-task some physical activity w/ listening to articles that I've queued up for later reading. And the dictation tools are much better today than they were when I first tried them 3-4 years ago.
I can imagine a day within 20 years when we get Pournelle-class implants ("Oath of Fealty"), and as long as I can think, I'll be able to live on the net (protein being what it is, v. silicon).
Best wishes to Steve and those he cares about. It used to be the only durable monument to the average life was our children. But now our intellect as written (and spoken) has the opportunity to live forever, based on merit (rather than the chance of being published or being photogenic). Steve's efforts will place him high on this decade's, if not century's, list.
More than anyone else in the "media", I believe you are responsible for correctly framing our understanding of this current war.
We are all indebted to you.
SDB is, without limitation, one of my favorite writers. Along with a keen political mind and clear writing style, he brings an underlying practicality to whatever he writes. Maybe it is the engineer in him, but although the ideals that he cherishes always came through, his analysis is always firmly grounded in the world as it is. He is what politicians should be.
The contrast between his practicality and his love of anime always struck me as an interesting and endearing juxtoposition.
Also, his ability to make to make connections between seemingly unconnected events always brought to mind another of my favorite essayists, Stephen J. Gould. That is one reason I particularly loved SDB's Burgess Shale 4 part essay. I haven't been as dismayed at the loss of a voice since Gould's death.
I still check his website at least twice a week hoping for an update. I guess, with great sadness, I will stop now.
Thanks for the enjoyment and education you have provided me.
Thanks, SDB. Your blog was among the very, very best.
Someone mentioned having Bill Whittle edit a book of SDB's.
That would be awesome -- I've been wanting to buy and give out copies of Steven's writings for years now.
Anyone have any ideas on getting this off the ground (plus getting SDB some wel deserved $$$)?
I suspect, for most of the anklebiters, the sensation of (or at least the perception of) scoring rhetorical points on a man of the intellectual caliber of SDB, is similar to the boy that daydreams of striking out Barry Bonds on 3 fastballs, or a chess hacker beating Kasparov or Fischer at chess. Like climbing Everest. Thanks Steven, for the understanding you brought us, and best of luck in all that lies ahead.
SDB was the reason I started my blog. He ironically shaped my philosophy while I was getting a BA in Philosophy (of course, this was after after getting my electrical engineering degree). I read through the old material regularly and will always treasure his responses to my questions about causality.
could be the intimidation many of us felt when faced with such an intellectual giant. i would have written to say thanks every day, but you weren't looking for gratitude. i could've praised your posts, god knows most all of them deserved to be actively praised. they had a structure of knowledge, an engine of logic, an eye for detail, vision for context, and you somehow populated it with passion. not many people can get passion and logic into the same room, much less get them to dance.
you were there for us in some tough times, we miss your talent and your voice. but it was great that we had them when we did.
hope that doesn't sound too syrupy, wish you all the best.
Thank you SDB!
I only wrote one thank you - and then felt guilty about that one as shortly afterwards, he posted a message talking about how innundated he was with e-mail and while he appreciated the positive comments, he hated looking at all of it and felt obligated to respond. I recall sending one 'NO NEED TO RESPOND - GREAT POST!' subjected blank message, but then felt guilty about it. :-)
He is and was a phenominal writer and is still bookmarked as one of my resources. Gods forbid that he ever take down the archives!
Thank you Mr. Den Beste, for all you've done.
Thank you for your posts! I am one of the silent, one who stayed away, one who didn't tell you I really appreciated your work. Thanks again!
As a survivor of a parental suicide, my heart jumped into my throat when I saw your comment "to having it revealed on my 36th birthday that
my parents were imposters".
Very, very few things turn your world upside-down quite like having a parent do something insane. You chose not to elaborate, and I understsnd. Still, you have my thoughts and prayers...
Looking back on your posts I can see the difficulty and pain coming through towards the end. I remember that reading the last couple of months was like reading someone with a voice who just didn't like it any more.
I'm glad you could write what you did, when you did; I'd buy that book; and I'd go to a lecture.
Most importantly I will continue to draw from the Essential Library and insist despite your protests that what you did was important.
On two occasions I sent you a comment, once to point out a factual error once to offer a comment on a historical point you made on the engineering process and ask you for your view. I checked the email and note that in both cases I told you that I enjoyed your writing immensely.
My enjoyment of your writing rather misses the point that you've made a difference to thousands of people. You've changed minds or opened them to the possibilty of change neither is easy.
In an era where critical thinking has become untaught and the subject of derision, you have educated thousands to its value. Through its use you have demonstrated its power. Quite an achievement in this politically correct world of out come based educators.
You wrote for your own purposes. Thank you. You wrote to make a difference in a desperate and dark time. Know that you did make a difference. You gave of yourself until you could give no more. Thank you again for your service, you are a rare man of honor in the best sense of that word.
Good bye Mr. Den Beste you will continue to be missed.
Came here from Glenn's place to add my thanks to the list. I'm always happy to see SDB 'round the 'Burg and hope you still drop in from time to time.
Wow. I knew that dealing with all the mail was taking a toll on you, but this... I'm not really sure what to say here. I've never e-mailed you with either criticsim or praise, precisely because I didn't want to add to the massive volume of mail you had to sift through every day. But like so many already have, I can't let this go without adding my own thank-you for the impact you've had.
I started my Excellent Adventure in the blogosphere around late 2002, reading the likes of Atrios, Josh Marshall and Billmon. While these guys were a pretty good reinforcement of my political prejudices at the time, after a while I found myself looking for something a little more challenging. I stumbled across Bill Whittle's site one day, then from there link-hopped over to the USS Clueless. After reading a couple of SDB's posts, I bookmarked the page and it stayed on my regular reads from then on.
I didn't agree with most of what Steven said right away, but I immediately recognized him as a smart guy who had plainly done a lot of serious thinking about the issue he wrote on. I also enjoyed his lucid and no-bullshit style and found his essays easy to read despite their length. As time went on and I made my way through his archives, I found the way I percieved political events changing; it was like getting a bird's-eye view of things after years of life as a midget. With the broader perspective SDB's writing provided me (and many others I'm sure), I found myself drawn inexorably around to agreeing with him on many things. He's the man who singlehandedly brought me around from being vehemently anti-Iraq war to being trepidaciously supportive to being confidently supportive, all in the space of a few months.
I never came to agree with SDB about everything of course, but even when I didn't he was always worth reading for the perspective and insights he brought to the table. He helped move me along the road from thinking myopically toward "thinking horizontally" -- and Thomas Barnett has moved me further still down that road where Steven left off. This is his gift to the blogosphere, and I'm extremely grateful to him for it.
Steven has earned his retirement, and I wish him as much comfort as possible for the remainder of his life. I'll respect his wishes and not gush out sympathy, though he does have my empathy inasmuch as this is possible. Thanks for sharing your mind with us all, Steve.
SDB-You led me to wonder and think and I value that most highly at this stage of the journey. Thank You.
Steven, the insights and hard work put into your essays made them the most valued daily reading on the web for the few months after I discovered your blog.
It's a pity the silent majority rarely voice their opinion, but they do care, and they do keep coming back, day after day, as your hit counter & hosting provider can tell you.
Your essays on the "Three Way Struggle" was perhaps my favourite, especially helpful in understanding the warring stories broadcast by varying medias.
Thanks for your time.
Steven, thanks for explaining how my phone works.
Thanks Steven! Feel better or best that you can.
back in 2003, you gave me 15 minutes of fame posting the "grinch who stole quagmire" (my net contribution to the blogoshere outside initiating readers). I blew only an hour of my time and minimal brain cells jotting that down.
Given the depth and breadth of your work; I imagine you might have made lighter use of your free time; but as I hope all these accolades make you appreciate the impact of your insights to the "community of strangers", which is no doubt exponentially larger than the few who may happen upon this thread.
I didn't discover the "blogosphere" until recently. I followed a link into your site, and spent literally HOURS in the archives and re-reading the best-of's. I was disappointed to read "If you've been visiting regularly in hopes that I'll start making posts again, you may as well give up and stop. It's not going to happen." But thank you , Mr. Den Beste, for the posts you have given us already. Wishing the best for you.
For what it's worth I'd like to say thanks to SDB. His site was (and remains) a must-visit blog and it contributed a lot to making me blog in the first place. The fact that his detractors trended to rely on ad-hominem attacks against him is a major point in his favour.
He and I corresponded occasionally via email. Yes he was concise (he HAD to be with his volume) but he was always friendly and made good points.
It's hard not to sink into platitudes so I'll just say thanks for all the fish SDB. You're a damn good read.
After a while, all the comments start to look the same, so I guess the best I can do is to echo Pixy Misa, and say, "Crap, I had no idea", and "Thanks for all you've done".
Stephen Den Best and ESR are the two people whose examples had the most to do with my own entry into blogging. I lamented his departure, and now I have to resign myself to the fact that SDB's absense from the blogosphere is not a matter of frustration but of necessity.
Thanks for blazing the trail, Stephen.
I posted my thanks on Nelson's page, and my own blog, but if there is a higher chance he can see this, I have to be a me-too too. Thank you Mr. Den Beste. You were a lighthouse along the rocky shores of the treacherous sea of world affairs. Thank you for your vision and clarity.
You will be missed.
Dear Mr. Den Beste,
I always enjoyed your postings. I wrote you once about the near presence of Midwestern isolationism in today's politics. You sent a response and I was thrilled and honored. Thank you so very much for your hard work and wonderful essays. I miss your insight. Again, thank you very much.
Gary M Kitts
I'm another one who immensely enjoyed SDB's work and never bothered to write.
It seems to me having a comment section would have probably helped cut back on alot of the backbiting mail. Knowing that there are plenty of people who agree with you enough to debunk the naysayers on your forum has it's benefits. I'm also sure that SDB had his reasons for not having a comment section though and I respect that decision as well, I'm sure it was well thought out.
Thank you for all the informative and enlightening work Mr. Den Beste.
Thanks, Mr. Den Beste. My best to you, and you will remain in the thoughts of many this Christmas season for everything you have given to us over the past years.
It's one of the great injustices in the world that people like SDB have to suffer to make their voices known in the wilderness, and that the unwashed masses have nothing better to do than tear them down, meanwhile people like "the smart one" contaminate blogs like mine with stupid, insulting, nitpicky, idiotic commentary utterly devoid of any useful content.
Why can't the assholes be the ones to get incurable illnesses that prevent them from cluttering up the internet with their trash?
My blog, like many, benefited from Mr. Den Beste's unabashed, informative and fascinating verbosity, not to mention his sharp intellect and incisive analysis. He sets the bar very high for people like me to reach, and frankly I like the challenge.
Blogs have become more than just the stream-of-consciousness LiveJournal ramblings of emo kids in pajamas. Steven made it acceptable for people to explore issues at length on a public forum, whether or not we choose to enable comments or read our fan mail. My blog has never enjoyed the level of traffic that USS Clueless did, but I'm proud to play host to a couple of ongoing flamewars.
Thanks, Steven. You made a difference.
Thanks Steven. If anyone's earned a retirement from blogging, you have. Thanks for a great body of well written stuff. Your site showed me what the blog medium is capable of, and will continue to inspire fine writers and essayists (Sp?).
So take care and enjoy. We'll all miss you.
Steven: I would like to extend my most heartfelt thanks, too, for all that you gave us while you could. I remain to this day very happy that we corresponded and proud that on a few occasions -- once even a whole page! -- I managed to add to your stuff. Not a day goes by that I don't miss you, and I wish I could say thank you better than this. -- Thomas W. Briggs, Fort Worth, Texas
We learned a lot of new information about SDB from what he told us. We heard it from him. How can I put this? At some future point, we won't be hearing from him anymore. Is there some mechanism in place to let us know the final details, or will we eventually look back and realize he hasn't posted anywhere in several months? Let me be blunt, when he dies, I want to know. I want there to be some moment of recognition and appreciation, like a lot of what we've seen in these comments, rather than a fading memory. And for the rest of you bloggers, is there someone to let us know if something happens to you?
Dear Steven Den Beste,
Thank you, Thank you, for all you wrote, and how well you wrote it. You have made a difference.
My thoughts are with you, Jim
I'm sorry to hear this Steven. I've had a great deal of respect for you over all these years, and had figured that your retirement from blogging was for deep and personal reasons. Well, now I know. I wish all the best for you. Thanks for all you've done.
Dear Steven Den Beste,
Thank you, Thank you, for all you wrote, and how well you wrote it. You made a difference.
My thoughts are with you, Jim
I just want to wish you comfort and endurance. We have communicated several times but I may not have expressed my appreciation often enough nor strongly enough.
God bless you and keep you.
I wish you the best. Your writing had been a pleasure to read.
Mr. Den Beste: Thank you for your work. There are few men who have so consistently excelled in understanding the "fit" of things and fewer still who have been so lucid in explanation. I appreciated USS Clueless, and do miss reading it. I wish you the very best.
Thanks, Steven, and, though I know you're an atheist, Godspeed.
I've said it twice before, but I'll gladly say it again: Thank you, sir. Thank you very much. You were one of those who helped me to understand why I should be proud of my country, and proud of my President.
In one of my thank-yous (the other was about anime) I wrote:
I'm of liberal origins, yet have very reluctantly
become hawkish on WW IV. You're a good part of
the reason why. Most of my friends and family are
against the war, almost reflexively. In my email
conversations with them, I've referred to your
site often. Today, I included this at the bottom
of one of my emails:
"I've posted several links to Steven Den Beste's
web site, USS Clueless. I can't recommend him
enough. Even if you disagree with everything he
says, he's still a daily must-read, because ideas
that I first see discussed here consistently turn
up elsewhere, including much of what I've heard in
Bush's last two speeches.
"Refute Den Beste, and you've refuted the case for
the war. Why go anywhere else?"
Thanks for helping me to think clearly about the
most difficult political issue I've ever faced.
Well done, Steven. You did your share, and more than your share, at a crucial time under very trying circumstances.
Peace be with you.
And, yes, I'm glad I'm anime fan, since it lets me continue to enjoy your writing.
No response required, sir, now or ever. You've earned our words. It will be very hard indeed for us to earn yours.
THANK YOU SIR..From a reader of about a year,your Blog was the first one checked every day . Again.. THANK YOU.
Steven - So many before me here have stated my thoughts, so tera-dittos. Thank you for the cogent thought, sharp writing and inspiration.
Please stay in touch by popping up in the blogosphere whenever there is something you feel we need to know. You have a lot of caring fans out here.
My best wishes for your future.
Dr. Bob (not even remotely a real doctor)
Mr. Den Beste, sorry about your physical condition and I certainly understand your retirement. You're a favorite of mine and I remember only once emailing you and was impressed that you took the time to respond to my question. Godspeed.
I'm puzzled by one thing. You describe up to 80% of your emails as being rude, disrespectful, etc. I can believe that. However, how many emails did you receive as a percentage of total site visits? Isn't it possible that those who disagreed with you were more motivated to write, than those who agreed?
Seeing the response to these postings, you were rightly admired by the vast audience you addressed. I bet that the silent majority of your enthusiastic readers far outnumber the noisy moonbats and malcontents.
Thank you Steven, I wish you all the best. I can't tell you how much your writing effected me, you made me think about things in ways I had never done before. For that I thank you.
I knew that your retirement had to be due to more than just a thin skin. I hate being right about that.
While you were still posting I hit USS Clueless almost daily. Your choice of subjects and your take on them was facinating nearly all of the time. I still link to your archives for cojent and exhaustive responses to the misinformed or hysterical spews from assorted lefty relatives. Your legacy lives on, so relax and enjoy yourself.
The only thing I disagreed with you about was the existence of God. God bless you anyway.
I absolutely loved your essays! I rank you with Lionel Trilling, Edmund Wilson and Samuel Johnson, for your range of knowledge coupled with your talent for eloquent expression. Don't let the pygmies get you down; you have made a significant contribution to our culture. A den Beste prize for the year's best blog essay would be wonderful.
Thank you for sharing your brilliant essays.
My wishes are that you will find grace and peace in the future, whatever road you travel.
May you always be blessed.
Mr. Den Beste,
Your writing was a combination of chocolate and vitamins for the mind. Both wonderfully delicious, and health creating at the same time.
And it has influenced my own writing. I have a mystery novel in production that will have a group mind in it, the blogospheric group mind. Also, as an indie (not GURPS, too bad) rpg designer, I've used your ideas on France in the 2030's as the basis for a setting, as well as other products of your very fruitful mind.
So thank you from me personally for enjoyment, learning, ideas for games, and for your service to the country.
Eric R. Ashley aka Tadeusz
I agree with everyone who has expressed their love and admiration. Wow I didnt know that about the disease thing, and that also puts it all in perspective. I know hell never come back ever, but deep down in my heart of hearts Ill always keep the link up and Ill always check it. Ill always remember and I will keep the faith. Ill also pay fifteen dollars a month. He could charge that much and Id be game for it. What an amazing writer and man.
Thanks and good luck
Nothing more needs to be said.
I've learned so much from you that I couln't help being an admirer, but never so much as now.
Thank you Steven
I'm one of the lucky ones who had an e-mail or post turn into a minor DenBeste column. I still remember the the... well, RUSH is the best word for it... I got when I saw the topic of the night was him answering my question. I sent him a thank you that night, and a few other times as well, and was always amazed when I got a reply.
No pity, except for us readers. Simply put,
I'm one of those who never wrote. Read every single post since approx 2001
thanks for everything...
Damn, I wrote to you once thanking you and commenting on an article. You were kind enough to reply, but I didn not want to waste your time with e-mail that was not of some substantive nature and so did not follow up. I regret that now.
Thank you for all of your writing and I wish you well with the amine site
I came over here from lgf, wondering if you were the person my sons had been talking about. Now I'm anxious to read what you've written. I have a small mailing list and very much in line with what you've written, the readers don't get back to me very often. It's very discouraging being treated like a free newspaper. Maybe sharing your feelings will encourage others to send an occasional note to writers they admire, telling them to carry on with their good work.
By the way my older son is very much a fan of animae. You might like to know that about a year ago at Regenstein Library on the University of Chicago campus, the award for the best student collection of books was given to an animae collector and at Powells, an academic bookstore near U of C, they had a display of animae books for sale.
It looks like this is the place to thank you for all you've done.
You always got me thinking, imagining new scenarios, waking me up. You had me hoping and aiming for the best, both in my writing and my daily life.
I have profound gratitude for having found and read your work while you were still writing.
Thank you. And Merry Christmas, wherever you are.
Ah, man...I'm so sorry to hear that. (that's not pity...just real regret)
Now I'm really pissed at the ankle biters that wasted your time.
Take care of yourself and "enjoy every sandwich".
thanks steve, i learned a lot from your thoughtful essays
still the best stuff in the blogsphere
you should have a life time achievement award for blogging.
On several occasions I emailed a comment or a thought inspired by his column to Steve, and I was very pleased when he responded. My messages and his responses were short, understandably so considering the volume of his email and the size of his audience. I didn't want to impose upon his time more than a minimal amount.
I never "carped", but I also didn't take the time to thank him. Somehow it would have seemed a bit presumptuous. After all, Steve surely knew the value of his writings, and my approval or disapproval could hardly matter that much.
Still, I can understand that even for a writer of Steve's great insight there might be a difference between how he viewed his own writings, and how he perceived that his readership viewed his writings. And if his lengthy essays were to be more than just masturbation, he would hope that they were having the intended impact on his readers. The constant carping of a relatively small number of critics could easily take its toll, especially when there was no good way to guage the views of the "silent majority".
So for what it's worth, I think Steve's blog did far more than merely please the overwhelming majority of his readers, as many other commenters have made clear. Steven Den Beste significantly affected human history. His essays had great impact during a crucial period, when the War On Terror and the striving for freedom hung in the balance. I can't measure Steve's impact directly, I can only make an inductive judgement. And I firmly believe that the ideas he articulated made their way, directly and indirectly, to countless other influential individuals.
If our lives and liberties and civilization are ultimately preserved, some important portion of credit will be due to Steven Den Beste. And for that, more than anything else, he has my deep gratitude and thanks.
I got into reading blogs because of a link in the Stardock monthly email letter; a link to USS Clueless. From there, I got to Instapundit, and from there, the rest of the blogosphere. Now I have my own blog (on joeuser, of course). But I can still remember finding USS Clueless in the summer of 2002, and spending many hours discovering this "new" (to me, anyway) medium. And reading through SDB's essay. He brought an engineer's analysis to politics, and helped me to hone my own thoughts. I had some small discussions with him, and I still treasure the link I got from him to one of my early blog entries.
www.denbeste.nu was for the time it was active the first link of the day, and the last.
I will admit to dropping in on the old place every so often (and I'm glad that I did, when I was able to download the complete archives), even after the updates stopped.
And finally - I work for a CDMA carrier now in tehc support, and I think I learned more about CDMA from SDB than from the company training
Thank you for your contribution.
Your essays always encouraged thinking that was deeper and fuller than is typical on the web. I think that may be the reason you had so many responses.
Good writing gets people to nod in agreement. Excellent writing rouses the imagination and critical thinking.
Besides depth, you also developed falsifiable ideas. The bane of our age is writing that cannot rise to the level of being right or wrong. Instead it numbs our brains as just another point of view. Please consider the number of people who told you you were wrong as an unwelcome compliment.
Small comfort at the time, I'm sure
USS Clueless was the first blog I found that was so interesting that it brought me back every day. Steven Den Beste started me on my daily habit of blog reading.
Many thanks from Northern Ireland.
Your USSClueless notes on how you felt about the mounting pressure of criticism were painful for me to read about, both as a sympathetic reaction, and as an intuition that I would most likely not have your posts to read much longer. When the inevitable finally came about, at least I was ready for it.
I told you a few times during your run how much I enjoyed your work. At the end, though, it started seeming that ANY email - positive OR negative - was doing you no good (at least as far as I could discern from how you wrote about the email you did get). I was quite discouraged from even writing anything positive to you, and I'm sure many others who wanted to tell you something good got the same vibe from your posts.
Regardless, your work meant a lot to me, and I hope to have eternal recourse to it on line if you would do us that favor.
Thank you, Steven, and all the best.
Sometimes I guess there's just not enough rocks.
Here's my thank-you, too, Steven, and thanks from the whole Winds of Change.NET team. You set a standard we strive to meet every day, and a goal we try to carry on.
On which topic... I think we should take up a collection and start a fund to keep USS Clueless online somewhere in perpetuity. It's way too valuable to lose.
The gift of going long is still a very rare thing in writing. But to go long and deep on short notice is irreplaceable.
Which we all should remember when we are about to pen something snarky or, more postitively, when we read something important.
There is a old, but true, saying " Joke 'em if they can't take a F**k". You should'nt of focused on negative reactions, people love to mutter and whine more than give complements, that's human nature. Why are there so few people considered saints? Simply becasue very few people actually feel insipred to good works for no material or immediate rewards. If that were not the case, we would be living in heaven upon earth, would we not?
Your writing was exemplarary and wonderfully well constructed. You were, in my opinion, the preimer blogger and a essayist of the Swfitonian school of pampleteers, and I regret deeply your decision not to continue writing. Yet, if you physically cannot, that is understandable.
I sincerely wish you all the best, and shall keep you in my prayers. Godspeed.
Your blog went to the 'spere's top ten in record time. It got hundreds of thousands of hits, your posts were linked as soon as they appeared and influenced countless other blogs. That stuff didn't happent because people thought you were wrong or an idiot.
It sucks that you mostly heard from naysayers and pedants, but thanks anyway for your amazing blog and I hope you get a ton of satisfaction from your current project.
Thank you for every word you've ever written. I was grateful for the essays and even the personal replies before, but I'm doubly so now I have some idea of what it was costing you.
Good luck and good spirits with your health.
Thanks for your service to our country in this time of war. Your writing has inspired many and has encouraged me on ways to teach my soon-to-be-born son. Your writing will continue to be used and referenced. I found your writing from Bill Whittle after you had retired and treasure it. I now read from the archives daily and forward them to others to help explain much better than I am able. There are many like me who have read, yet never emailed or commented on ANY site, that appreciate your logic, history, and thoughtful analysis, integrated into your essays. Thank you and may you find peace in all your endeavors.
I am also one of those who sent you a "thank you" note after you announced that you were no longer posting for USS Clueless. I will also admit to being one of those who continually stops by the site EVERY DAY just to see if you've changed your mind! :) I now understand more about why that won't be happening. I understand that you don't want pity or platitudes, but if you read this far down the list you'll have to put up with my gushing. I was introduced to blogdom by a friend of mine about two years ago. The link he sent me was to your site. I visited a few times, then added you to my favorites and started showing up every day, sometimes several times a day. You did more than just entertain me-you made me think. I didn't always agree with your points, but never disagreed with the way you made them, and you always made me go out and research. I hated that! I haven't had to research since college! But you really struck a cord with me. Since then I've introduced several other friends to bloging, using you as a jumping-off point. I'm even toying with the idea of blogging myself-if I ever get the intestinal fortitude that I would need to have. :) Please just allow me to once again say "thank you!" for all you have done.
Mr. Den Beste, I'm paraphrasing but you truly went higher, farther and faster than any other. Good luck, God bless and Thanks.
Mr. Den Beste,
My first contact with the Blogosphere was via the gentleman who named it, at the Daily Pundit. My second was via the gentleman who compelled me, in so many ways, to return to it, time and time again.
U.S.S. Clueless was - and remains - a one-stop, full-course experience. I profoundly regret never having previously communicated to you how valued I found (and still find) your writing to be. You have, indeed, become the living embodiment of your family name.
Some of the Wisdom Of Cinema (i.e., Art Validating Life):
Forrest: I don't know if we each have a destiny, or if we're all just floatin' around accidental-like on a breeze. But I, I think maybe it's both.
Lt. Dan: That's what all these cripples down at the VA talk about: Jesus this and Jesus that. They even had a priest come and talk to me. He said God is listening and if I found Jesus, I'd get to walk beside him in the kingdom of Heaven. Did you hear what I said? WALK beside him in the kingdom of Heaven! Well kiss my crippled ass. God is listening? What a crock of shit.
Forrest: Mama always said, dying was a part of life.
Mama: You have to do the best with what God gave you.
Lt. Dan: Have you found Jesus yet, Gump?
Forrest: I didn't know I was supposed to be looking for him, sir.
Lt. Dan: I never thanked you for saving my life.
Thank you for your service, sir. As much as possible, be well.
Mr. Den Beste,
Thank you for all your writings. I wish you the best.
Mr. Den Beste:
Your graciousness and writing were appreciated my many! Thank you for your writing and the hours of enjoyment you gave me. Best of all things to you.
I would like to add my thanks as well. While I disagree with you about religion, I very much appreciated your thoughts about other issues, even if I had quibbles this or that point. I do wish the best of luck to you. And I do pray that someday there will be a cure for your affliction, and that there is some chance, however small, that it will happen during your lifetime.
I'd just like to add my thanks as well. Your blog was one of my daily reads. I always enjoyed your writing even when I disagreed with it. Thanks so much for ahsring with us.
Throughout a person's life, he can hope to cross paths with one, two, or three people who will have a fundamental affect on that person's ideas, thinking processes, and approach to life.
For me, Steven was one of those few. He, like I, comes from an Engineering background. His logic and reasoning is impeccable and is like a beacon of truth to me.
The last person that affected me the way that Steven did was Mr. R. Grant Smith, my 8th grade math/science teacher whose inspiration set me on my life's path and built a burning fire deep inside me for Math, Science, and logcic.
Thanks Steven, and here's hoping you find peace.
Blogs may fade away ....
But -- if they continue to bloom, some people always will remember that Steven Den Beste, by his example, helped establish the intellectual rigor and legitimacy that blogs, at their best, can attain.
Not that he's *gone* -- I think that he'll pop up from time to time to snap a towel.
Add me to the continuing list of those who read daily but never added their thanks. For me there are three types of blogs: informational, funny, and those that REALLY make you think. Your writing was such that I anticipated reading it daily, as much for the content as the challenge of understanding what I had just read and then trying to talk to other people about it. Some of the higher engineering I still don't understand (and probably never will!!!), but what I did understand helped me to greater understand myself, and how to frame my own arguements better. Thanks is the most we can offer, realizing that it will never be close to enough.
Thank you Steven Den Beste. Your essays have had a greater impact than you can imagine. Take care of yourself.
Steven, you were greatly appreciated and will be greatly missed. (I like the compilation of his essays idea - some greedy capitalist publisher should follow up.)
I’m sorry to say that I was one who never wrote. I could have let him know how much he had inspired me, not that he would have said, “Here’s another guy trying to do what I do. Cool. This gives me the incentive to keep going.” But maybe it would have counteracted one or two of the ankle-biters. For what it’s worth now, I too, thank you Steven Den Beste, and wish you the best.
I wrote onece with high praise and a question/comment. I knew you were too busy to reply to all.
I also checked every day, many times for updates that would expand my mind and shed light on this dim place.
We are going to enshrine your memory, like it or not. One does not often realize how smart one is, only that others are stupid. It takes even more to stand up and say it in the face of the naysayers. You've set the standard for opinion blogs.
Please let us show our gratitude for your contributions. We need to.
I'm one of the thousands who enjoyed Steven's unique perspective, articulate exposition and practical application of uncommon knowledge. Some of the technical data was way over my head, but I usually learned something from each of Steven's carefully thought-out and well-written essays. Like most others, I didn't write to thank him because I had the impression he was already burdened by a superfluity of emails. (DWL!)I miss the pleasure of a fresh SDB analysis to chew through, and hope that he's finding other outlets in which to channel his creative gifts. So thanks, Steven, and all the best to you. No one can take your place.
I only wrote you a few times and I can't remember whether I was in the good percentile or not. I hope it was in the former.
I just want to state you made a big difference in my life. I was 18 in 2000 and started by voting democrat with generally liberal views save for being more hawkish. After 9/11 I started to think that I may have had a poor mindset in general but I didn't know why. In retrospect I realize I generally knew a lot less about politics and other things than I thought I did at the time. If you banned the ignorant from the vote I shouldn't have cast mine in 2000.
Other blogs helped me learn about current events and gave me insight on the news. You were by far the most influential though in giving me the wisdom and knowledge I needed to interpret it myself and understand why we needed to do certain things. To reference an old adage, other blogs gave me fish. You were the one who taught me how. Thank you so much and I truly wish the very best for you. I wouldn't be a good American without you.
I'll treasure my email response from Stephen...
May you explore the reaches of the space of your choice!
Steven, you were my favorite blogger by far. I still miss you and I doubt I'll ever find another to replace you. I'll never forget you.
Among the bloggers who inspired me to join the fray, SDB stood in the first rank. I almost always found his essays too short, and I was quite thrilled to earn a mention in one of them.
Brilliant thinking, unique insights, and impressive logic. The contribution was more than a little significant.
Thank you, Steven Den Beste. I'm glad that I could be one of those four hundred people.
Just damn. Mr. SDB, you shall be missed. Take care of yourself.
Thank you for your great contribution and effort.
I was one of those thousands who read you every day and treasured the stimulations of your essays. You gave me and countless others pleasure in the stimulation of logic and intellectual stimulation.
Although I usually agreed with you or followed your logic, I never really thought to thank you for your service. And I never dreamed of the level of your pain and sacrifice.
But your contribution as a true American patriot and true citizen of the world will not be forgotten by me or the dozens of people that I knew that read you as a daily ritual.
I even e-mailed you a couple of times with additional information and you responded graciously. My intent was to help you with your writing of follow-up posts and were never intended as criticism or nitpicking.
God bless you Steven, you may not know how much you made the world better for me and thousands of others. You helped me discover the world of blogs where ideas and intellect create recreation that makes me think.
You pain certainly gave me great pleasure.
The thing of it is, Stephen NAILED his essays. He was at once prolific and succinct (think about that). He completely analyzed his subjects and never wasted a word. When he was done, there wasn't more to say.
So what was one to do -- except to occasionally quibble? But then, only to help him. Really!
Stephen wrote with the courage of and confidence in his convictions. I could never imagine he needed my encouragement. I only wish I could write like that man.
Thank you Stephen. You made this world a better place.
Steven Den Beste says he wrote for enjoyment, but Kipling would have named him a Son of Martha:
Thanks for a great blog.My personal favorite.
Thank you Steven for all your writing. Your fearlessness in expressing your mind with utmost clarity is unparalleled and will be missed. Thanks again.
Living toys are something novel,
But it soon wears off somehow.
Fetch the shoebox, fetch the shovel -
Mam, we're playing funerals now.
(Save the last Adderall for me, Steve!)
I agree with everyone here and wish there were a Steven Den Beste Fanboy Memorial Society that I could join where we would all get together and weep loudly over the cessation of his weblog.
Steven was at once verbose and laconic (THINK about that!!!!!?!?!!!?~), at once cerebral and mawkish, at once confident and emotionally crippled, at once oblong and square. More eloquent than Thomas Jefferson, more brilliant than Einstein, and more charismatic than George Lucas, Steven reminded me of the star child from either 2001 or the miniseries "V"--he seemed to be humanity's savior, and perhaps he still is.
Once, Steven wrote about a topic I had thought of mentioning to someone, and I was thrilled beyond belief. It was as if Steven was raping my mind for thoughts, which is in fact something I've often thought about happening, literally.
Seriously, he was the greatest genius of our time and I will fight anyone who says different. Do you want to fight me?
Friend of mine clued me into SDB's posts about 2 years ago now and I've been reading ever since as much as I can. Truly sorry to see them go; they always guaranteed me a fresh angle or a more thorough understanding of something that I had (or more often hadn't) even begun to think about. Thanks for a great education from the comfort of my own home...it will be missed Steven.
Steven den Beste was one of the first blogs I ever read, and certainly one of the first I started reading regularly. As with many of the commenters here, I usually turned to him first, and was often disappointed not to have found something new since the last time I'd checked (which might well have been an hour previous).
Steven did us all a service, during the years USS Clueless was commissioned and flying. It has been (and will be) greatly missed.
I'm glad that I did write to Steven occasionally, and I wish I'd done so more often. As with others here, I did not want to waste his time, and so never wrote unless I had something worthwhile to say (and was able to say it constructively). It's hard to know if my e-mail had a positive impact or not... but I never made his infamous "Bozo list", so far as I know, which pleases me.
Fare thee well, Steven. As others here have pointed out, you were a true American patriot when your country needed you most... and your voice inspired legions of others to join you, in spirit and in their own voices. Had there never been a USS Clueless, many important voices of the new millenium might never have been heard, for you were their inspiration.
I can't know, but I suspect that, had there never been a USS Clueless, the Presidential election of 2004 might have gone the other way. Yes, Steven, you (and your blogchildren and grandchildren) were THAT influential.
I hope you'll take pride in that, and know that many thousands of readers miss your writing. I hope that you find other activities, as rewarding for you now as USS Clueless ever was in the past.
Best wishes, now and always,
Mr Den Beste,
I haven't yet figured out what "degenrative disease" you have, though I've narrowed it down (olivopontocerebellar atrophy makes the list;) but that's not important. I want you to know that some recognize that you've provided a deep, profound, Clausewitzian perspective on the world's current events, and they (we) appreciate it. You introduced me to von Clausewitz, and I'm still learning. On a broader perspective, I sincerely hope you're happy with your new distraction, Chizumatic, in which I unfortunately have no interest. I truly wish you the best of luck, and if there were any way I could convince you to mine that rich vein of your former interest for a few more nuggets, I would surely do my best, but alas, I sense thankful resignation on your part that it is behind you.
Best Wishes, Sir
I didn't know we had anybody like DenBeste in the world today, I wish I had discovered him sooner, before it was too late. I've been reading several entries on various blogs and several of DenBeste's essays, and I must say that I am beginning to feel like starting a blog myself, I was amazed by his essay comparing pre World War 2 japanese culture to that of modern muslim extremists, I never really thought of it in those terms. I tried to connect modern events with the past, but I guess I lacked the mental agility, DenBeste's essay really put it into perspective for me.