Tuesday, February 05, 2008

`I Am Not Obliged to Do Any More'

“I am not obliged to do any more. No man is obliged to do as much as he can do. A man is to have part of his life to himself. If a soldier has fought a good many campaigns, he is not to be blamed, if he retires to ease and tranquility. A physician, who has practiced long in a great city, may be excused, if he retires to a small town, and takes less practice. Now, Sir, the good I can do by my conversation bears the same proportion to the good I can do by my writings, that the practice of a physician, retired to a small town, does to his practice in a great city.”

What Johnson said to Boswell might well be said of Frank Wilson, book review editor of The Philadelphia Inquirer, who retires from that position on Friday. Newspapers are bruising places, military in their capacity for conflict if not in discipline and esprit, and Frank has “fought a good many campaigns.” Through his blog, Books, Inq. he pioneered the conversation between traditional media and their unruly electronic offspring. He is an online raconteur, a fine poet and a gentleman. He wrote in an e-mail Monday evening:

“I'm past retirement age. Debbie and I both have pensions and SS - and the usual packet of portfolios. We won't have to sell apples on Broad Street.”


Anonymous said...

Lovely post, Patrick, "he pioneered the conversation between traditional media and their unruly electronic offspring", very true. We'll all sure miss him. I have hopes that he will keep Books, Inq. going -- my fingers are crossed.
(Maxine, known to blogger commenting system for reasons best known to itself as Petrona.)

Art Durkee said...

Nicely said!

I agree completely. Plus the civility quotient has always been higher than average.