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Dean Barnett, 1967-2008

It is heartbreaking to report that Dean Barnett, one of the early stars of the conservative blogosphere, died this afternoon at the age of 41 of complications from cystic fibrosis. Dean was a Massachusetts businessman who began writing a delightful blog about the Red Sox but soon found himself irrepressibly drawn to the politics of the present moment. Both in his own blog, then as a contributor to Hugh Hewitt’s blog, and finally as a staff writer at the Weekly Standard’s blog, Dean was a sterling example of the democratizing power of the Internet to bring forward voices that, in previous generations, might never have found the proper vehicle for meaningful self-expression.

He was a natural, a fluent and fluid prose stylist of uncommon good humor. The fact that he found such good cheer in such difficult times surely had something to do with the remarkably good-natured, matter-of-fact, and quietly brave way he lived with his cystic fibrosis, about which he wrote as lucidly as he wrote almost everything else. I never met Dean, but had literally hundreds of e-mail exchanges with him, and they were highlights of every day on which I was lucky to participate in them. This is yet another remarkable quality of the blogosphere and the Internet — that they create new kinds of friendships based on very old epistolary models.

He was one of nature’s noblemen.  Zikhrono Liv’rackha — may his memory be for a blessing.


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