Another Person Who Died
Published: January 5, 2011
Neither you nor The New York Times, in your year-end review of notable people who died in 2010 (“People Who Died,” Feature, Dec. 29, 2010), mentioned Tony Judt, the great thinker/writer/historian/stylist. [Editor’s Note: The Times did include him in an online multimedia feature “Notable Deaths of 2010.”] Judt taught at New York University, continuing to lecture and write for two years after his diagnosis with Lou Gehrig’s disease, from which he died last August. (He described it, with customary clarity, as “progressive imprisonment without parole.”) In one of his best books, The Burden of Responsibility, Judt took the side of Raymond Aron and Albert Camus, who saw more clearly than most the dangers of totalitarian regimes, including Communism, against Sartre and other French intellectuals and their fashionable admiration for radicalism and revolutionary violence. Judt was also a serious humorist. (Is there another kind?) Check out “Girls! Girls! Girls!” in the April 8, 2010 New York Review of Books. You can read it online.
James D. Dilts
The writer is an erstwhile City Paper contributor.