I never called to thank him for his attempts to teach his readers about music, about freedom, about the fragility of our democracy, about the greed rampant in most political entities, about standing up for those and to those we disagree with. Know all sides of an argument before you uncap your pen, sit at your keyboard, or open your mouth.
Nat Hentoff never backed down, never shied away from unpopular positions, believed fervently in the First Amendment (and the need to understand the entire Constitution of the United States), and fought complacency nearly every day of his life. Honesty, unflinching honesty, makes enemies but also friends, real friends not sycophants - I should have called Nat Hentoff but never felt I knew what to say other than "thank you!" Do yourself a favor, read one of his books, dig out interviews, check out the recordings he produced, the liner notes he wrote; pay close attention, even when you do not understand. Certain segments of our society rail about the "lame stream media" yet Mr. Hentoff, often tagged a liberal, was far from lame but an exemplar of what a journalist should be and do.
Yes, thank you!
Here are links to other articles and obits: