“The budget should be balanced, the Treasury should be refilled, public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled, and the assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed lest Rome become bankrupt. People must again learn to work, instead of living on public assistance. “
– Cicero (55 BC)
While away in Japan, I was surprised, and then surprisingly saddened to learn of the death of ampontan.wordpress.com‘s William Sakovich. Although he died on December 21, his blog entries were pre-programmed and lasted up until a final New-Year’s post on Jan 1. This is spooky and classy all at the same time, and I guess it will become more common as more of the world wide interwebs intwines its trickery into our lives.
A spontaneous tribute of sorts, sprung up in the comment section of one of his final posts:
AMPONTAN’s proprietor had more than a few habits and hobby horses that made his opinions jarring to my tastes – merciless China and Korea teasing when their nationalist loonies went after Japanese interests, a tea-party politics view of government spending and a taste for spinning an argument out way way longer than needed. The Cicero quote above, which he placed on his blog’s sidebar, telegraphed how I guess he saw himself; a tribune of the people. Too often he verged more towards Cato the Elder.
And yet I will sorely miss his work!
As merciless as he was towards those he saw as misrepresenting or threatening the Japan he loved and lived in, he was deeply smitten with its people, its culture and the land itself. His blog was a treasure trove of insight into contemporary Japanese politics and culture, and his own personal big stick with which to flail away at any number of popular media misconceptions about Japan. By the simple expedient of doggedly tracking down original sources and translating them, he was often able to expose a wide swath of the English language press’ coverage of Japan as lazy and often incompetent. And he was equally critical of the how he felt the Japanese press accepted its muzzle and failed its readers. I hope his friends preserve his blog and that it will inspire others to follow his example.
So Tribune it is, for Tribune he was.
Rest in Peace, William Sakovich.