Joe Sobran, the longtime conservative columnist and former National Review senior editor, has died at age 64 after a long physical decline. Sobran was an immensely gifted and deeply tragic figure, filled with great talents and tormented by ugly demons. Sobran will always be remembered for his break with NR and the mainstream conservative movement, “In Search of Anti-Semitism,” and the neocon versus paleocon split.
Sobran wrote some truly indefensible things and would come to traffic in some very nasty stuff. But before succumbing to those demons, he was one of the finest writers in conservative circles and did some important work. He had a great eye for what was absurd in American life and was a savvy conservative critic of popular culture — this Sobran essay on Madonna is a personal favorite of mine. At his best, he was a defender of the constitutional conservatism that once fell out of fashion but is today embodied by the Tea Party movement.
UPDATE: Dan Flynn posted some of his Sobran memories.
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