Monday, July 09, 2012

Obituary: Murray Kempton - People - News - The Independent:

New York is in mourning for Murray Kempton, the reporter on his bicycle, negotiating in his seventies the hazards of Manhattan's avenues, moving be- tween assignments as though they were his first and only and listening, always, to his classical compact discs that hung around his neck like some kind of tribal necklace, a sign that he was of a different caste. And what a caste it was. "The man has brought more honour to newspapers than anyone in my lifetime," said his fellow columnist Jimmy Breslin, who should know.

Kempton was H.L. Mencken, reborn. Different, apart. What he saw and what he reported, no one else saw and no else would have even spotted because they hadn't got his eye, though they struggled mightily. And that's the reason why most of us, most of the time, had to read his sentences over and over again. They might as well have been in Latin, or Greek, for all we could have written them, never mind the deciphering. But they glowed, that we knew. And they did sing.