Sunday, January 8, 2017

Nat Hentoff

Journalist, writer, jazz maven, and free-speech activist -- via the New York Times. One of the first things I ever read was Hentoff's liner notes to the 1963 album "The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan." I thought they were great, and I wanted to do that, too. So it's all Hentoff's fault. He was gloriously inconsistent -- he fought abortion, and he fought against liberal groups that he felt suppressed speech. But the fact that he was confidently complex was a huge burst of help to me as a writer. I didn't agree with more than 60 - 70 percent of what he wrote, but I loved that he wasn't afraid, like Whitman, to contradict himself.