Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Dennis Dutton is dead.


www.aldaily.com header that welcomes you into a whole world
He died on 28th December, 2010. A Tuesday.
 
He is not a man you are likely to have known. He is not a man even I knew. But I knew his work. If you have met me, and I think you are interested in arty things or political things or how the world works, you too may know his work, because I’m certain to have mentioned it to you. Raved about it. Told you his website www.aldaily.com is a must visit website.  Because it is a website with everything. As much of everything a website can contain of what is online, and much of the time, the best of what is online. 

If you have never been to www.aldaily.com, I envy you for the pleasures, the delights, the many new finds that are awaiting you, when you get to www.aldaily.com . Like all great things online, www.aldaily.com seems so obvious but is one of those services that take a truly original mind to conceive and execute. Think yahoo messenger, Skype, Friendster & Friendfinder, Myspace, Wikipedia, Facebook-websites that creates an online community of similar spirits who together cause a change that individually they would never have been able to pull off. That’s what www.aldaily.com is really about. 

World Changers-Dennis Dutton
Alerting the community that Christopher Hitchens had written something truly startling about God, there was a new Julian Barnes novel and to anticipate the novel’s release here was one of Barnes’s meandering, factual filled nuggets of an essay about the travels of a certain famous stuffed parrot. www.aldaily.com served to remind you that the venerable New Yorker magazine, even after almost a century of publication, even if long ago its greatest pioneering writers, the legends of Dorothy Parker & James Thurber & the E.B. White’s were long past; if you stopped bemoaning the passing of those greats, New Yorker had new writers with some insights into the world we live in now, who from time to time, might make you catch your breath. There was much of the dandy in Eustace Tilley, though he was still resisting going gangster. 

On www.aldaily.com you are as likely to read about some Chinese intellectual whose name you cannot pronounce nor ever read a word of their work, reading it for the first time in quote excerpts; as to find your own little corner of the world-Uganda wants homosexuals hung! Then someone, in some comments, would begin a whole other discussion about the puns and allusions suggested by that title and before you knew it, in taking part in that www.aldaily.com link dialogue, you knew the Latin word origins of several words and had discovered a blog that specialized in tracking all over the world, stolen artifacts from 19th century Africa. 

This is what Dennis Dutton was to me. This is the bit of his work I knew, I know, started knowing about four years ago, when quite by chance I happened to discover this website www.aldaily.com that dared to proclaim, ‘”Arts & Letters Daily. I wondered how long they could keep it up, being a practicing journalist for six years or so I know how hard it is to keep readers interested in ‘serious stuff”” as one of my wary eye-rolling editors used to say. After discovering Christopher Hitchens, Julian Barnes, Alex Beam, Michael Dirda, Clive James, Norman Lebrecht, Camille Paglia, I started buying books again-walking slowly along Kampala’s street, eyes skimming over the books laid out by the vendors in the sun, hoping, sometimes almost crying out in delight-when a name I had first learned on www.aldaily.com was here emblazoned on top of a book with tattered brown dust covered dog eared pages in the Kampala sun, then in the taxi, once in my seat, oblivious of all around me as I read. 

This was Dutton for me. Dennis Dutton is dead.

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