Thursday, January 27, 2011

Death of an intellectual

He also predicted the rising importance of science-based industries and of new technical elites. Indeed, in 1967, he predicted something like the Internet, writing: “We will probably see a national information-computer-utility system, with tens of thousands of terminals in homes and offices ‘hooked’ into giant central computers providing library and information services, retail ordering and billing services, and the like.”
-- NYT obit of Daniel Bell, dead at 91.

He actually outlived the author of his obituary: "Michael T. Kaufman, a reporter at The New York Times, died in 2010. William McDonald contributed reporting."

According to the obit, Bell was the author, or at least a prominent source, of what may be my favorite Jewish joke:
Mr. Bell liked to tell of his political beginnings with an anecdote about his bar mitzvah, in 1932. “I said to the Rabbi: ‘I’ve found the truth. I don’t believe in God. I’m joining the Young People’s Socialist League.’ So he looked at me and said, ‘Kid, you don’t believe in God. Tell me, do you think God cares?’ "

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