Archive for January, 2023

Gerard Van der Leun: December 26, 1945 — January 27, 2023

Monday, January 30th, 2023

More on this later. Our dear friend of many years Gerard, whom we’ve thought of us Dumbledore to our Harry Potter almost from the very beginning, checked into the hospital at the beginning of the year. Through the updates he managed to arrange, we found that he made it back home again, then had to check back in as his condition worsened. Through the additional testing it emerged that he was (known to him or not, we’re not clear at this point and it doesn’t very much matter) a Cancer patient and the disease had metastasized. This was a week ago, and just a few days after that he left for the next world in the middle of the night.

It always rattled me just a little bit when he linked to me. I seldom thought myself worthy. Readers of this blog — which (he was always amused when I repeated this line) no one actually reads anyway — might have noticed over the last few years there’s been a worsening deficiency in someone actually writing for it. What can I say, the world around us has been losing stability and it’s become a more daunting task to summarize what it is, while my available time for doing so has been on a rapid decline. Many’s the time I thought he was linking to me, not necessarily to capture the best, but to encourage me to get back into it so that maybe I could do better. Struggling away, maybe, igniting and re-igniting the sopping wet fire log. But, I don’t want to make this about me. I’ll just say it was a humbling experience to see, after he left us, he did it one last time and on his birthday. It gave me reason to stop and think about priorities, what we do, how much time we spend doing it, and what people think about it all. People who say “You spend too much time blogging” demand lots of attention. I’m not so sure they’ve put as much thought into it, as the people who’d say “You should spend more.” After all, we can concede the point this is a noisy world full of chatter, and blogs add to the chatter. But they add to the understanding as well, and does our world suffer from a crushing abundance of that? That’s a different thing.

I was re-reading the piece that introduced us to each other, The Voice of the Neuter is Heard Throughout the Land, and down in the comment section I beheld a beautiful example of Pure Gerard: His response to some egotist who’d wandered along to impress him with knowledge of the phrase “ad hominem” whilst accusing him of engaging in the fallacy. Ah, come on, let’s admit it: When we read blogs, sometimes we read them to watch “bring a knife to a flamethrower fight” moments like this. There’s no shame. It’s like admitting your head yaws around a bit when you drive past a domestic disturbance.

You seem, in your reading of the article, to have glided past the statement:

“What is of interest to me here is not what Stein writes or says. His own words damn him more decisively than a thousand bloggers blathering blithely What interestest me is how he speaks”

I also note at the beginning: “Once a blogpile of such mountainous proportions starts, there’s little left to comment on in terms of the content of Stein’s small dry excretion after the first five hours”

I fail to see how annou[n]cing I’m not going to do the content and then not doing it fails the promise of the article.

If you have not been able to see articles critical of Mr. Stein’s “content” you have been failing to look in lebenty-leben of the right places.

A scroll of will quickly lead you to an entry thick with pointers to those writers who have. Reading just a few of them will, I am sure, satiate your lust for content.

Sincerely…[emphasis mine]

That’s our departed friend, with the sparkly flaming part at midpoint on the short, short fuse. There was a different version to be seen after the fuse was all burned away and he just didn’t give a crap about pleasantries anymore. That one was every bit as entertaining, if not more so, but to keep this G-rated the milder one will suffice.

His impressive works are like the mighty ocean; simple enough a task to catch a glimpse, but to survey the entirety of it would be something to challenge the imagination, let alone actual achievement. I’ve been compiling a list of the best that might emerge from such an effort. Every now and then I’ll think of something to add, and the gods of the search engines will smile upon my efforts, or not.

For the top spot out of all of them, the web site updater evidently agrees with me: The piece he put in place on Memorial Day weekends, at least most of them, The Name in the Stone.

Just shut up and read. Maybe grab yourself a bowl of creamed onions, begin at the top, and proceed downward until you reach the end. You’ll likely emerge a slightly better, more appreciative person for the effort, leading a slightly richer life.

A mighty torch that gave off a great light, has gone out in our midst. I cannot speculate with confidence on our prospects for seeing another like him. We were fortunate enough just to have the one. Godspeed, my friend.