I’m writing this en route to Antarctica in a country where it is perfectly respectable – nay, expected – to consume succulent red meat for three meals out of the day. Furthermore, for two of those meals, red wine is encouraged as well. This is a polite way of saying that I’m in a gastronomical paradise, which means it would take a hell of a lot to drag me out of my beatific headspace to comment on goings-on back in the United States.

Andrew Sullivan’s blog retirement qualifies however. Yesterday, Sullivan announced on his Daily Dish blog that he will soon retire from the blogging life. Just reading it took me back to 1999, the days when Sullivan’s site would have been labeled a “me-zine.” Sullivan was the gateway drug to starting my own eponymous blog back in 2002.

Soon afterward, I guest-posted at the Daily Dish. That opportunity afforded me a glimpse into the fervor that he produces in his readers. It also served as a useful platform for me to promote my own blog. Through the years, I’ve read the Daily Dish as it traveled from Time to The Atlantic to the Daily Beast to his own site. I’ve had my disagreements with Sullivan in recent years, but his generosity toward a lesser, more obscure writer was a kindness that I will not forget.

Andrew explains his desire to return to more introspective work, which I completely understand. Over the years, the pressure of instant commentary caused Sullivan to overreach on occasion in his blog posts – a fact that he acknowledged, which makes him unlike an awful lot of the bloggers who followed in his wake.

I do hope, however, that Andrew doesn’t leave his passion behind with the blog. Sullivan’s rhetorical style was perfectly suited for the blogosphere. Unlike 99.9 percent of the political writers on this planet, Sullivan wrote best when he wrote with passion. More than most, he was able to channel strong emotions into erudite real-time prose.

I wish Sullivan the best of luck in his future longform writing, which, if memory serves, has been pretty powerful in the past.