Aug 25, 2008

8.25.8: Thoughts on the late KDB

Unfortunately, the sad news of Kent Daniel Bentkowski's passing arrived while I was on vacation and I was, thus, unable to really wrap my mind around it all.

Having done close to 75 or so interviews with all sorts of different esoteric folks, I always knew that the day would come when one of my former interview subjects would die. Despite that, I was really stunned when I heard the news that KDB had passed away. I've been pretty detached from the online esoteric world for a while, so word of his ill health had not reached me during the Summer.

As I said on the BoA homepage, upon hearing that KDB had died, he was truly "a unique and thoughtful researcher with a contagious thirst for knowledge and truth."


I'll never forget taping that BoA:Audio interview with Kent back in the late winter of last year. It was March 16th, 2007. I remember it like it was yesterday, because it was one of those rare days when I tape two interviews in one day and on this particular day, there was a horrendous blizzard pounding the Boston area.

Kent was the first guest, at 3 PM, for an hour long interview. Tony Healy was to be taped later in the evening, since he was in Australia.

At the time, we had been going through some serious technical issues with the show, where (as a result of a faulty wire that has since been replaced) whole chunks of interviews ended up not be recorded. Thankfully, this only happened on very rare occassions, but it did happen on this day and was noticed about a half hour into my interview with KDB.

Of course, I was extremely embarassed by this turn of events, but KDB was amazingly cool about it and gracious enough to start all over again and re-tape the first half hour of the interview (while I nervously watched the recording monitor to make sure it didn't happen again).

We ended up talking up until about 5:30 PM that afternoon, a full hour and a half past what we'd originally planned. Part of that was the extra half hour of "lost" re-taped material, but most of it was because Kent had so much information that trying to fit it into an hour was an exercise in futility.

The rest of the evening saw me with less than an hour to prep for the Tony Healy interview, taping that for 2 hours, and then spending the next two hours (something like 9 to 11 PM) out in my driveway, lit by the streetlights, shoveling huge drifts of snow from the blizzard. Quite a day and one I won't soon forget.

On a personal level, I recall that during all of the scheduling for the BoA interview, KDB was beyond polite and accomodationg. He was a class act and a gentleman, possessing a real respect for his fellow esoteric journeymen, which was something that I still appreciate to this day.


I'd been thinking a lot about KDB this past Spring. I recalled his passionate belief that Hilary Clinton would be the next President of the US and I was looking forward to hearing his thoughts on the Obama nod and where he thought things would go from there. Unlike a lot of presidential prognosticators, I didn't expect KDB to feed me any bullshit about how things didn't quite match up, I expected a thoughtful answer that actually made me stop and reconsider my perspective on things. Unfortunately, we never did get to re-connect to discuss today's political scene.

Another unplucked thread that I had wanted to return to in the future with KDB was his research into Timothy McVeigh. I'd always felt that Kent knew or thought a little more about that whole story and that since we'd gotten to it at the end of the interview and early in his work, it was criminally under-discussed. It will forever remain a follow-up note in my mind for a future KDB interview that will never be.

Looking back at our conversation, one of the things that really stood out to me about the KDB BoA interview was his amazing take on pop culture and hidden messages. That topic was really right in his wheel house and I always felt that it was only a matter of time before we reunited on the show to solely focus on that aspect of his work, as he'd teased that much of it was just in the beginning stages. I'd actually been waiting for him to catch up with me on Lost so that we could really dig into that whole mythos at some point on the program.

Ironically enough, that may be the ultimate segue to the legacy of KDB. With his passing, we lose out on a great deal of potentially great esoteric nuggets and insights. Kent had really just started cooking with his material over the last few years and the momentum clearly was pointed upwards for him. He's someone that looked to be a fixture in the online esoteric world for years to come and, sadly, now that stream of illumination runs dry.


My heart goes out to the folks in esoterica who were much closer to Kent than I was. My friends at Red Ice, who had interviewed him countless times. Lesley, who had a strong connection to KDB via her blog The Debris Field. And the many others who had interviewed, corresponded with, or read KDB's voluminous work. If my brief interraction with Kent is any indication of the relationships he had with all these folks, this loss is of profound sadness, I'm sure.

And, of course, my heart goes out to the family and friends of Kent, who surely miss his seemingly boundless energy and love. You are all in my thoughts and prayers and I hope you can take solace in knowing that KDB is no longer in pain and in a much better place than we all are now.

To KDB, I say thanks for the fond memories and cool avenues of discussion. I hope to see you again, someday, when I join you in that better place. And then we can laugh about the sad, twisted esoteric world that we've left behind.


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