Goodbye to Dennis Dutton

The Los Angeles Times has a lovely obituary up for Dennis Dutton, the creator of the Arts and Letters Dail, The Dutton name is a familiar one throughout southern California; his brothers owned and ran Dutton’s Books, gone (and greated missed) in 2008.

A quote from Professor Dutton:

“A few years ago, Bill Gates was boasting that we’ll soon have sensors which will turn on the music that we like or show on the walls the paintings we like when we walk into a room. How boring! The hell with our preexisting likes; let’s expand ourselves intellectually.”

The Gilt Fading on the Golden State: Richard Walker in the New Left Review

The New Left Review is one of those magazines I spend way too much money for simply because the writing is always so spectacular. There are three articles well worth the price of a copy in this issue: one is a piece on Tehran, a paradox of postmodern city by Asef Bayat, another concerns the dominance of informality and the erosion of wages by Micheal Denning (free access) and Richard Walker’s The Golden State Adrift (also free access).

Walker’s piece does a brilliant job explaining why I am so worried about Califronia’s fiscal mess, covering the housing mess in particular. I would give my right arm to be able to write a sentence as perceptive and clear as this one, on the way that rich whites are hammering coffin nail after coffin nail into the state’s future:

The fading white plurality continues to exert a disproportionate influence on the state. Markedly older, richer and more propertied, the white electorate has correspondingly conservative views: for many, immigrants are the problem, the Spanish language a threat, and law and order a rallying cry. Even the centrist white voter tends to view taxes as a burden, schools of little interest, and the collective future as someone else’s problem.

Go read.

Very cool things I am getting to do

1) I am going to be on a panel with Ian Parry in February. Total fangirl moment!!! I wonder if he’d sign my copy of the Washington, DC congestion charging study for me?

2) The book reviews editor of the Journal of the American Planning Association has asked me to contribute one of a group of reviews of the 10th anniversary edition of Suburban Nation. I’m honored, even if I am not entirely sure how to review such a flawed but important book.