Wednesday, December 29, 2010

RIP Dennis Dutton

Dennis Dutton, founder of one my favorite web sites, has died. Arts & Letters Daily has been daily reading for me since I first discovered it, and I have found many wonderful things there. Dutton liked to throw out controversial ideas, and sometimes he tried to rile up his academic audience with silly conservative essays -- "We'd love Arts & Letters Daily to be the meeting place for critical thinkers from all over the map," he once said -- but the overall tone of his site was always interesting. He said this to an interviewer in 2000:
It's a grave mistake in publishing, whether you're talking about Internet or print publication, to try to play to a limited repertoire of established reader interests. A few years ago, Bill Gates was boasting that we'll soon have sensors which will turn on the music that we like or show on the walls the paintings we like when we walk into a room. How boring! The hell with our preexisting likes; let's expand ourselves intellectually.
The Chronicle of Higher Education, which owns the site, says it will continue, but since Dutton has done almost everything himself it will be a completely different publication.

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