I certainly hope IOZ’s cryptic post is just announcing a hiatus rather than an end to his blogging career. He’s long been one of my favorite writers on the web. His prose is alternately highfalutin and comfortably familiar, but always highly enjoyable and sometimes even breathtaking (I can easily find several instances in my own writing where I can clearly see his stylistic influence). I love his calm insouciance and even his disdainful sneering, especially when answering angry hecklers with quotations from The Big Lebowski. (I even watched that movie for the first time years ago so I could understand all the references.) And most of all, even though it was an acquired taste, I deeply appreciate the fact that he often forced me to think about things in a new way, not by being cheaply provocative or predictably contrary, but by being a genuinely iconoclastic thinker. I’ve often found myself uncomfortable and even pissed off by the things he wrote, especially early on, but I quickly came to realize that in many of those instances, it was because he was forcing me to confront my own intellectual laziness, that he had essentially zeroed in on something that I had been complacently accepting without careful scrutiny. It was the same sort of irritation that you feel when you’re comfortable on the sofa, and you’re asked to get up and move. Eventually, I came to eagerly anticipate and delight in the provocation, and even when I still disagree with him, I’m glad for having had the chance to be challenged. I imagine he must be a fun person to shoot the breeze with.

If you are done, IOZ, here’s a heartfelt thanks for all of it. Best wishes.