It’s with great sadness that I hear of the death of one of the most original bloggers I’ve ever encountered, Jon Swift, whose actual name was Al Weisel. Jon was part of a small, talented group of satirical bloggers that became prolific a few years back. Our own Allahpundit was, in my opinion, the best of the class, but Stephen “The Commissar” Sherman at the Politburo Diktat and Jon Swift were in the same league. Both AP and Stephen found the demands of long-term satire a little too draining, but Jon kept going for years before slowing down and eventually stopping a year ago or so.
Even though I was occasionally the target of Jon’s barbs, I enjoyed his writing – so much so that I convinced him to appear on my old BlogTalkRadio show with Rick Moran. Unfortunately, the archived show is no longer available, but I had a great time interviewing Jon. No matter how hard I tried, he steadfastly refused to break character, and instead I got into his schtick instead. He was a Stephen Colbert of the blogosphere, but with more wit and a better sense of language. We exchanged some friendly e-mails from time to time, but I hadn’t heard from him in a long while.
His mother posted a comment at the blog, unable to get the word out any other way:
I don’t know how else to tell you all who love this blog. I am Jon Swift’s Mom and I guess I’m going to OUT him. He was Al Weisel, my beloved son. Al was on his way to his father’s funeral in VA when he suffered 2 aortic aneurysms, a leaky aortic valve and an aortic artery dissection from his heart to his pelvis. He had 3 major surgeries within 24 hours and sometime during those surgeries also suffered a severe stroke. We, his 2 sisters, his brother, his partner and his best friend since he was 9 years old were with him as he took his last breath. We have all lost a shining star who warmed our hearts, tormented us and made us laugh as he giggled at our pulling something over on us. He passed away on February 27, 2010. My beloved child will live on in so many hearts. I miss him more than I can say. If you are on Facebook, go to organizations and join “Friends of Al Weisel, Unite!” It will give you just a taste of how special he was. Farewell, Jon (Al)
Most of Jon’s friends are on the other end of the political spectrum, but I’d like to offer them my condolences. Jon was always a class act with me, and a credit to the blogosphere. His family and friends will be in my prayers tonight. Rest in peace, Jon.
Update: I found the episode at BTR after all, from December 18, 2007.
Update II: For some reason, the player didn’t embed properly; I added the link to the BTR page, and I’m going to try again. I listened to this last night and I’m glad I did.