I never thought I’d be writing such kind words about a Celtics fan, but that’s the kind of guy that Dean Barnett was.
I met him, as I have met several other important people in my life, over the Internet. A few years back, someone named Dean started commenting on my blog. Evidently, he had a blog of his own – Soxblog (as in Red Sox) – where he was not only making fun of the aforementioned Lakers (hey, they were on hard times), but also doing some rather brilliant political posting. Who was this guy?
We started corresponding in email and soon enough he told me he was coming out to LA. By then Dean Barnett was not just another blogger, but a regular on Hugh Hewitt’s site and a substitute for Hugh on his syndicated radio show. And he was damn good at it, a radio natural.
I also knew by then that, although Barnett and I did not see eye to eye on basketball, we did share an arguably more important interest. We both loved sushi. So when I met Dean, I took him to a sushi bar I know in Studio City, the redoubtable Katsu-ya, and we discovered we liked each other as much in person as we did online. But I learned something else about Dean. He suffered from cystic fibrosis, a disease I didn’t know much about, but which he writes about here.
He seemed to be doing pretty well with it though and when we met again at Blog World 2007, slightly over a year ago now, he seemed to be doing just fine. By then he was blogging at (lah-dee-dah) the Weekly Standard and I thought he was headed for a big online media career. In fact, in a way he already had one – a guy who had emerged seemingly out of nowhere to become a very respected voice in conservative circles. And one with a sense of humor on top of that.
And now he’s gone, suddenly succumbed to the cystic fibrosis.
Requiescat in pace, Dean Barnett – dead at the age of 41. Whoever said life was fair?
His friend Hugh Hewitt has a wonderful appreciation here.
(What a day this is with two friends passing. See below.)