Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Denis Dutton 1944 - 2010

There was never any point in meeting Denis Dutton on the street if you were in a hurry. He was a great storyteller, acerbic wit and passionate interrogator of ideas. Dutton was an old school academic who believed that tenure was a privilege and used its protection to speak without fear or favour. It was Dutton who was one of the lamentably few voices of authority that warned against the radical re-jigging of museum goals and culture undertaken by Te Papa. Dutton accurately predicted that this would lead to an end game of nostalgia and feel-good promotion. He was also an enthusiastic and powerful early supporter of the internet creating Arts & Letters Daily to open up a new world of cultural and intellectual experience. That’s a big hole you left behind Denis Dutton, you and that voice of yours will be missed.