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Theodore Dalrymple
A Man of Letters « Back to Story

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I did not know Denis, but I miss his presence anyway. I knew his parents, Mr. and Mrs.Dutton, for that is all I called them. They did a great service to the rest of us for raising Denis, DAve and Doug. I came to LA the year they opened Dutton's books on Laurel Canyon and they made my first years as a stranger in North Hollywood (indeed a strange land to a Texas girl)
happier and not so lonely. Here's to the entire Dutton clan!
Not only that, he was an academic who actually participated in the public debate. How often does that happen in an age when considered opinion is too often the lowest common denominator of it, the loudest voices, cynical sideliners or blind celebrities leading blind talkshowees?
A clear thinking philosopher who discerned, indicated, spoke out and wasn't lost in a contingency of ironies. Wonderful.
Unsuspicious Mind January 01, 2011 at 7:53 AM
The article Dalrymple refers to, an excoriation of Walsall, may not have much interest to most of his compatriots- of which I am one- but it does not take a summer to make a swallow. The fact that some 170,994 people lived there, pace the census carried out the year after his New Criterion piece, is a sufficient reason for media interest when alloyed to the mordancy of the article.
My sincere apologies for the mispelling ie. the double N in the first Denis (Dutton). Again, mi dispiace.
At one time I never knew of the existence of this wonderful site, the Arts & Letters Daily, until a friend told me about it and presto, an exponential leap of knowledge occurred that has since greatly enriched my life. Dennis Dutton, is the William Tyndale of our time! As the latter saw the potential of the medium of print that would enable him to spread God's words in the Bible to the masses in the 16th Century, the late Denis Dutton, availed himself of the power of the Internet to disseminate quality information, this time worldwide. Comparing A&LD with Diderot's Encyclopedie that had as its aim that of "changing the way people think" is no exaggeration, and its founder, one of the philosophes of the Enlightenment. Merci beaucoup, Monsieur Dutton. RIP.
Duttons AlDaily, propelled by his incomparable teasers, was indeed a portal into an educative world of contradiction, defied expectation and sharp eye for the absurd that for me was transformative.

Sadly, for Denis the excitement and daring of posing the contrarian view seemed to become a little addictive.

Too often I further researched what he posted to discover another whole world of complication critical to understanding that had simply been recklessly ignored.


At some point there is little to divide the contrarian from the conspiracist. Both like to imagine they alone bear aloft the flame of truth.

The desire to challenge entrenched certainties is all well and good. Just make sure to apply the same challenge to your own questions.

First up... ya gotta apply the blow-torch to your own y-fronts!




He and his website certainly changed my life for the better by giving me access to information and a breadth of knowledge that I did not know existed.
Denis Dutton is a true loss to the world of thought and I hope that someone will continue his work and keep the website alive.
Once again I am impressed by the humanity of the man writing as Theodore Dalrymple. I have been a fan of several years and enjoy his penetrating logic, sensitivity and self-restraint, qualities that are gradually slipping from the realm of social discourse. His skill in crafting this eulogy reminds us of our shared vulnerability to our future demise and the importance of speaking our truths while we can. These truths are always approximations, for with each word the Truth is deliniated, circumscribed and thus limited. Or as John Denver sang in his song Some Days are Diamonds, Some Days are Stone, "We all know the Truth is hard to come by, and if I spoke the Truth, that's not quite true".
There-in lies the dilemma and the quandry that intellectual warriors of all stripes face in our culture of Political Correctness: the truth is no defence. However, in the end, the Truth explains everything. A Lie on the otherhand, betrays everyone who believes it.
You can depend on Theodore Dalrymple to see the Big Picture and to be in good company with those writers who's truth is the defence of liberty and enlightenment.
Some of your distorted type faces can be maddeningly frustratiing. No others' such type of screening is so obscure. Challenge is justified , but not past the point of ridiculousness.
After whetting my appetite for a few examples of the genius of Denis Dutton, am left drooling, frustrated, unedified.
After whetting my appetite for a few examples of the genius of Denis Dutton, am left drooling, frustrated, unedified.
During my philosophy studies at Canterbury I lucky enough to take two of Prof. Dutton's courses. I have many fond memories of those courses and his teaching.

He was a deeply erudite and knowledgeble scholar who was always challenging the received wisdom in what is an essentially liberal institution. He was possessed of an intellectual fierceness and curiosity that we would all do well to emulate.

I am one of those liberals for whom Dutton revealed a realm of conservative thought that offers "serious reflections upon the human condition." More than that, he illuminated art, science and enlightened human values in all contexts in which they are found and, in the process, poured an instructive contempt over the empty heads of knee-jerking ideologues of every stripe. We are in his debt.
find the most difficulty how to abuse him?

not

find the most difficult how to abuse him?

or

find the most difficulty in how to abuse him?

fellow readers, lend me your thoughts.