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:


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.

The End.



Filed under 01_shakespeares_sister

21 responses to “Gilliard

  1. And where the wingnuts are gloating, they’re gloating about this, and about Steve putting Michael Steele in blackface. Good holy Christ, have these people not heard of the “It’s OK to knock your own team” rule? Maybe if they had, they wouldn’t be such knee-jerk AIPAC goons. And I can say that because alas, Jonah Goldberg and I ARE on the same team (i.e. Jewish), much as it grieves me to be part of the same group that has people like him in it).

    I didn’t really realize last weekend just how much I would miss the virtual voice of someone I didn’t know at all, but respected as one of the must-read voices online. That we will not hear that voice again is almost too painful to even think about.

  2. To my thinking, a black man (or woman) has that much MORE right–that much more duty, even–to call “racist” on another black man or woman who’s pushing the cause backwards, as Armstrong was. And yes, when you do the bidding of a group of people who promulgate racist ideals, you are pushing the cause backwards, not forwards. It’s like hearing a woman spout anti-feminist philosophies or parroting the agenda of a party that has historically sought to defeat gender equality and women’s rights.

    Call it the Et tu, Brutus? syndrome.

    I’m glad the NYT wrote about Steve. That’s an honor, no matter how much the paper has slipped in my esteem (courtesy of the Judith Miller fiasco, to name one main reason). I hope the article is a small measure of comfort for Steve’s family, though I don’t doubt it sits amid a large sea of writings and well wishes from the many who regularly read, and were affected by, his work.

  3. MR. Bill

    I didn’t figure out that Steve was black till I had read the NewsBlog for a while. His race was ‘human’, and I’m glad I caught his work while he was alive. Passion and intelligence and knowledge…
    We may not see his like again.

  4. That’s when I discovered Steve was black. That’s also when I first really discovered him as a writer, and started reading him regularly. I’m going to miss him. He didn’t take no shit from nobody.

  5. I discovered Gilliard’s writing during another one of those periodic “Gilliard is a racist” episodes. I think it involved Andrew Sullivan citing him as an example of “liberal racism” for something he posted about Michael Steele. At that point I started reading Gilliard regularly and stopped reading Sullivan.

  6. Did not know Steve or anything about him so I will say nothing more than RIP Man.

    But, this is OT but I do believe welcome. This afternoon it was announced here that Big Al Gore has been awarded the Prince of Asturias Prize, more or less the Spanish equiliviant of the Nobel Prize although it is awarded in the name of a Prince of the Royal Family and not a lot of Swedish explosive manufacturers whose product was used to kill millions in WWI and so they made up a prize to salve their concience and kept right on producing fucking ammunition. Which they do to this very day.

  7. Cakesniffer

    Fact is, it makes no difference in the context of the Goldberg complaint that Steve was black. As Steve rightly pointed out, nobody who works for NRO gets to call anyone a racist–unless it’s when they exchange high-fives behind the scenes. (“Heh! Shame on us! We’re racist, offensive and idiotic! Pass the Cheetos!”)

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  9. for “pouring” [a liquid] read “poring” [over a document.] otherwise, very fine work. thanks for this. in support of the prevalance of the the “knock your own team” rule, i think of brendan behan’s remark that “it is unfair to slag someone else’s mother country until after you’ve finished with your own.”

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  11. sickofitall

    Gilly was a king among men – black, white, purple, whatever. Gilly in death will still be more relevant than the doughy pantload could ever be.

    Peace be with you Steve. Be strong Jen! We will never forget!

  12. Melissa McEwan

    “poring” [over a document]

    Well-spotted. Thanks; I’ll correct that.

  13. To point out the “Uncle Toms” where they hide in plain view is the job of a truth-and-justice position, no matter our skin color. My skin is white but I am black through and through, even though your eyes would report differently. I never knew Steve Gilliard in life, and am only discovering him in death, “quelle dommage.”

    His bias is for truth and justice, and his color is ONLY brought into the argument when some wingnut gets all “politically correct.”

    Reminds me of the slaps on wrist pouring out from White News Casters on the day of Mrs. King’s funeral, who called the reverend’s “there are no weapons of mass destruction (only weapons of mass distraction)” speech, “rude!”

    Yes, when the Emperor wears no clothes, we are the rude ones for pointing to his saggy ass and laughing.

    When we stop pointing to all the naked butts, we will be stifled, and yes, Politically Correct.

    I’ll take black and rude any day, in the name of truth and justice.

    May Steve rest in peace, knowing he lit a flame in my heart.

  14. SAP

    I remember that kerfluffle, Liss. It had me in stitches for a long time.

    Then again, we are talking about the Doughy One here, the same idiot who once put up a thousand dollars on the premise that he knew more about the Middle East than Juan Cole.

  15. JL

    I discovered Steve at Kos’s and I miss his writing so much, but the day he smacked down Goldberg was classic.

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  17. Random Dude

    It’s funny that you say you didn’t know he was black. I was similarly surprised. I read him every day for several months and one day he posted some pictures and I was like, who is this black guy in these pictures? I couldn’t tell.

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  19. mds

    The bit that really stuck with me from that whole brouhaha was from the comment threads, when his partner Jen commented: “Steve, you’re black?” I’ve regularly invoked the expression ever since when confronted with a particular sort of smug right-wing cluelessness. From now on, its use will be bittersweet.

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