Via Memeorandum, I see there’s a nice tribute to Steve Gilliard in the New York Times, the irony of which—that he got more column inches because he died than they ever gave him for his work—being painfully unavoidable. Nevertheless, within I find this bit:
In what is a now-familiar story among Internet collaborators, many of the thousands who posted online reactions to Mr. Gilliard’s death wrote that they had known little about him, even the fact that he was black.
Which reminded me of how I found out that Steve Gilliard was black, two and a half years ago, and for those more recent to the blogosphere, I thought I’d share it with you, because it’s a great story.
It had just been reported that black conservative commentator Armstrong Williams had been covertly paid by the administration to hawk No Child Left Behind on his nationally syndicated television show (and, IIRC, in a nationally syndicated newspaper column, too). Steve Gilliard introduced his post on the subject thusly:
The Corner’s Jonah Goldberg, always a fierce defender of equal rights, ahem, immediately condemned the post:
CALL ME CRAZY ….
But I think this guy’s post about Armstrong Williams is flat-out racist, and it’s not like I throw that around lightly.
I found it while searching Technorati for what the blogosphere was saying about Armstrong Williams. I don’t know much about Steve Gillard. Okay I don’t know anything execpt [sic] I’ve come across the name in searches before and Technorati says it’s fairly well-known.
Anyway, I find the Williams thing to be a total trainwreck, but I don’t think it warrants lame slave jokes and the like. Then again, I don’t think anything warrants even non-lame slave jokes. Shame on this guy whoever he is.
Gilliard wrote a letter in response to Goldberg, which said, in part:
If you had bothered to Google me, you would have found out I’m black…
I normally don’t visit that sewer of a site of yours, but calling me racist while working for NRO is, at best a joke. How could you tell the difference? I mean, don’t you work with a company full of anti-black bigots like Rich Lowry? Didn’t William Buckley defend segregation?
The same day, Goldberg posted something beginning: “Readers are telling me this guy is black.” Heh. Oops. Goldberg nonetheless sniffed: “The guy’s post still strikes me as racist, offensive and idiotic and the fact that he’s black may make it more interesting for people who play those games, but not for me.”
No, not Jonah. He doesn’t play those games. In fact, it wasn’t even him but a game-playing lookalike who had posted the day before that Gilliard should be “ashamed of himself” for a post found only by poring through Technorati with the express purpose of locating a post by a Lefty that could be unassailably denounced as racist—a scheme which would have been like totally awesome if only the one picked hadn’t been written by a black guy.