Andrew Sullivan has announced that’s he retiring:
Why? Two reasons. The first is one I hope anyone can understand: although it has been the most rewarding experience in my writing career, I’ve now been blogging daily for fifteen years straight (well kinda straight). That’s long enough to do any single job. In some ways, it’s as simple as that. There comes a time when you have to move on to new things, shake your world up, or recognize before you crash that burn-out does happen.
The second is that I am saturated in digital life and I want to return to the actual world again. I’m a human being before I am a writer; and a writer before I am a blogger, and although it’s been a joy and a privilege to have helped pioneer a genuinely new form of writing, I yearn for other, older forms. I want to read again, slowly, carefully. I want to absorb a difficult book and walk around in my own thoughts with it for a while. I want to have an idea and let it slowly take shape, rather than be instantly blogged. I want to write long essays that can answer more deeply and subtly the many questions that the Dish years have presented to me. I want to write a book.
I want to spend some real time with my parents, while I still have them, with my husband, who is too often a ‘blog-widow’, my sister and brother, my niece and nephews, and rekindle the friendships that I have simply had to let wither because I’m always tied to the blog. And I want to stay healthy. I’ve had increasing health challenges these past few years. They’re not HIV-related; my doctor tells me they’re simply a result of fifteen years of daily, hourly, always-on-deadline stress. These past few weeks were particularly rough – and finally forced me to get real.
Whatever one may think of Sullivan, he has been a major force in blogging for 15 years. Putting up dozens of posts a day, linking to dozens of different points of view with over a million readers. Almost everyone’s blogging style is based heavily on Sullivan’s. His blog is how I found Right-Thinking and Moorewatch. It’s also how I found great writers like Conor Friedersdorf, Ed Morrissey, Allahpundit, Megan McArdle and Peter Suderman, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Ann Althouse, Stephen Bainbridge and probably a dozen others I’m forgetting. I was with him a lot during the Bush years but disagreed with him on Obama. I found his Palin obsession alarming and frankly crazy. But I always found that he would present all sides even if he was wildly and incorrectly opinionated on a subject.
The haters are out in force today. They are dragging out his publicity for The Bell Curve, saying he thought blacks were inferior to whites (because, apparently, you have to think that if you don’t burn every copy of the Bell Curve in existence). They are saying he was irrelevant. This is envy from people who would kill for a thousandth of his readership or influence. And offensive coming from people who are crowing about the victory of gay marriage — something Sullivan pushed for 25 years in the face of withering opposition from other gays as well as conservatives. Sullivan was wrong sometimes or a lot (more since Obama was elected). But he was the only blog that had enough support to go completely independent.
I don’t think this is the end for Sullivan. He’s made similar announcements before, although I suspect he is a lot more serious this time. As someone who swears, at least once a month, that I’m done blogging, I can sympathize. Lee warned me about the addictive power of blogging when he gave me the keys to Right Thinking. I suspect Sullivan will be back at some point, albeit probably in a much-reduced way. But it’s been a good fifteen years, regardless.