I wanted to say something about the retirement of IOZ. I don't remember how I first came across this blog, but it was enormously influential for me, probably around the time I was considering coming back from my own blogging break. It would ultimately become influential in two different ways: first, as something to emulate; second, as something to try not to emulate. IOZ exemplified whatever it was he was doing, almost all the time, which made it easy to admire what he did, but a tough act to follow.
I was never part of the IOZ comment community, which was fascinating in itself. I felt it was both smarter and meaner -- not an uncommon combination -- than anything I could swing, so the few times I did post, I tried being as sincere as possible just to test the limits. Once I finally got around to watching The Big Lebowski, many things made sense to me for the very first time.
IOZ was always a major benefactor of this blog, and the fact that there is an audience here today is really thanks to him. OK, so maybe it's a bunch of extra-intellectual gay dudes, but I love them and I am very lucky that they have liked me in return. It has meant an enormous amount for me personally to be embraced by the wider IOZ community, and I've tried to support unlinked-to bloggers ever since I overcame that hurdle myself.
In spite of the many wonderful and humorous things IOZ produced on a regular basis, what I find myself thinking about most is what he wrote for his brother at the time of his sudden and unexpected death, entitled "Powerlessness," which I hope the author will not mind me referencing here. The ability to write smartly does not equal the ability to write honestly or with vulnerability, and my personal preference is to remember IOZ, whatever else you thought of him, as someone who possessed the capacity to do both.