Terry Teachout died. It's a terrible loss. He was one of those writers that made you feel smarter and better. I first started reading him when I was in college. He was the first columnist I read when National Review showed up. Kyle Smith at The New Criterion has a great tribute.
"The thing to know about Terry Teachout is that he knew everything. Whether it was pop culture or high culture, from the ballet and the opera down to John Wayne pictures from the 1940s, he marinated in all of it. Theater, music, literature, movies: there is so much sublime art to consider that one lifetime can’t possibly be enough to savor it all, but Terry came as close as any of us are likely to, and consequently he lived a model life.
"Terry was a superb biographer and playwright but was best known for the theater reviews he wrote for The Wall Street Journal from 2003 until his death. He died in his sleep yesterday at sixty-five. Far too young.
"Such was his arts knowledge that prodigious is an inadequate adjective; encyclopedic seems nearer the mark. When I first started reading him in the 1990s, when he often appeared in The Weekly Standard and National Review, I pictured him coming from the sort of family in which Dad is the curator of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Mom is a distinguished professor of European literature. But Terry came from a blue-collar background. . . "
"He concluded [his New Year's Eve post in 2021] with a benediction that exemplified his gregariousness, his joy, his warmth: “If like me, you have a sneaking suspicion that chance is in the saddle and rides mankind, then I hope the year to come treats you not unkindly, and that your lives, like mine, will be warmed by hope and filled with love—and if you feel otherwise, then I wish for you the very same thing. We all deserve to be loved on New Year’s Eve.” And always. The world of letters has lost one of its great men, and one of its kindest."