It’s traditional to remember someone who has passed by an unveiling, a public memorial to his memory. It’s been a little more than a year since the passing of a dear friend to me and this blawg, Joel Rosenberg. I’ve thought of Joel, or Jdog as he was jokingly called around here, often over the past year, his wit, wisdom and skepticism challenged me regularly.
Yesterday, someone who called himself “Bill” and left a phony email address left a comment on an old post about Joel.
I’m glad this fat, POS is dead. Joel was a complete fucktard.
Rest in Hell you retarded, worthless fuckstick!
My initial reaction was anger. What sort of person would leave a comment like this about a person who died, no matter how much he hated him. The intellectual shortcomings aside, Joel was gone. What conceivable purpose was served by going through the effort of writing this down, no less thinking it.
I bounced things around with Mark Bennett, another friend of Joel’s and mine, Mark got me thinking. His first thought was let’s find this mutt, Bill, and out him for the psycho he is. But then, my gut told me that this wasn’t about some outing someone who, a year after Joel’s death, would write something so sick and, well, pathologically stupid. Bothering with morons and psychos isn’t usually worth it.
Another idea then came to mind. Joel was never shy when it came to making enemies. It was something we had in common, and one of the reasons we got along so well, whether we agreed on an issue or disagreed. Toward the end, some might have called Joel reckless in standing up for what he believed. Joel called it fearless. He asked my opinion, then completely ignored me. That was Joel.
Regardless of whether Joel’s confronting the things he believed to be wrong and in need of fixing was a good idea or executed in the way someone like me would have suggested, I never doubted his integrity. Not for a second. And for better or worse, Joel was one of those rare people who put his butt on the line when others would only bitch about things from a safe distance.
Joel was never bothered by people he viewed as liars, fools and cowards. Indeed, he relished calling them out. He wore his haters like a badge of honor. Joel stood for something, and had no tolerance for those who cowered in the corner.
After giving some thought about what to do with this anonymous hater, this idiot coward who called himself “Bill,” I had an epiphany. I couldn’t offer Joel a gravestone, or a vault, to stand as a monument to his life and the things in which he believed. But this psycho who, even a year after Joel’s death, still hated him so much that he wrote this ignorant screed, provided something that I think Joel would have enjoyed and appreciated.
This is Joel’s monument. That after all this time, he made such a great impact on the liars, the fools and the cowards that they can’t forget him. He still burns in their consciousness. Joel still owns them. They will always be sniveling cowards, filled with rage toward Joel for his life being proof of their worthlessness.
I think Joel would be laughing about this, appreciating the fact that even in death, he matters more than they ever will.
Let this be the unveiling of a monument to my friend, Joel Rosenberg. He made his life count. He stood up for the things he believed in, and took the risks that have to be endured to make a difference. And if there was ever any doubt that this is true, one need only look at this monument to know with absolute certainty that Joel mattered.
I thank this coward named “Bill” for reminding me about my pal, Joel, and how much of an impact he had on so many. Let “Bill” and anyone else who still hates Joel think about the fact that when they die, no one will care. No one will remember. Because they never mattered. People like that never will.