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Very Bad News for America's Public Discursive Sphere...

Hilzoy writes:

Obsidian Wings: Bare-Faced Go-Away Bird: I'm taking this opportunity to retire from blogging.... The main reason I started blogging, besides the fact that I thought it would be fun, was that starting sometime in 2002, I thought that my country had gone insane. It wasn't just the insane policies, although that was part of it. It was the sheer level of invective: the way that people who held what seemed to me to be perfectly reasonable views, e.g. that invading Iraq might not be such a smart move, were routinely being described as al Qaeda sympathizers who hated America and all it stood for and wanted us all to die. I thought: we've gone mad. And I have to do something -- not because I thought that I personally could have any appreciable effect on this, but because it felt like what Katherine called an all hands on deck moment. I had heard about times like this in the past -- the McCarthy era, for instance -- though I had never expected to live through one. Nonetheless, I was. And I had to try to do something, however insignificant.... Then, in 2004, I was asked to join Obsidian Wings. It was an honor: at the time, ObWi was, for my money, the best blog that really tried to create a dialogue between liberals and conservatives. And that was what I really wanted to do: to listen to people I disagreed with, to engage with them, and to try to show that it was possible to care deeply about politics without hating your opponents. Being civil doesn't mean you're lukewarm, and being committed to your principles doesn't mean you have to be hateful. Being asked to write for the Washington Monthly was a further honor, and one that I never expected.

That said, it seems to me that the madness is over. There are lots of people I disagree with, and lots of things I really care about, and even some people who seem to me to have misplaced their sanity, but the country as a whole does not seem to me to be crazy any more.... And so it seems to me that it's time for me to turn back into a pumpkin and twelve white mice.

It has been wonderful, though.... I put something up, and suddenly all these wonderful, smart, and articulate people whom I've never met pop up and start saying interesting things about it. It's a gift for which I will always be grateful. Thanks to everyone...

Now she goes to sleep in her cave near Caermarthen, to awake and post again in Britain's hour of need when King Arthur once again grasps Excalibur and returns from the Faerie Isle of Avalon... No, wait... wrong legend...

I urge everyone to post and send me links to or simply email their appreciations of Hilzoy--and of their favorite things that she has written over the past five years.

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