Friday, September 21, 2007

A Good Man to Know

Philosopher Keith Burgess-Jackson’s eponymously-named blog is filled with nuggets of philosophical insight, political commentary, and keen observations on sports, music, and the like. In a post from January 29, 2007, he wrote movingly of his mentor, Joel Feinberg, from which I take this excerpt:

He was not just a great philosopher and a good man; he was a wonderful teacher and friend. He taught, mentored, and inspired hundreds of graduate students during his long, distinguished career. Some of them, because of his influence, have gone on to do great things. Some of us, in spite of his influence, have gone on to do mediocre things. I miss you, Joel.

As incredible as it may sound, I have never heard (or seen) a single disparaging comment about Joel. The man was universally loved. Of how many people can that be said?

Hours after this blog was posted, "Will," a regular visitor to the blog, left this comment:

Joel sucked.

In a follow-up comment, Will explained that he assumed Keith Burgess-Jackson knew him well enough by now to recognize “a snappy comeback when you see one and an attempt at humor.”

In what can only be described as a monumental act of forbearance (one that must have been preceded by a huge sigh), Keith Burgess-Jackson replied:

Yes, I know you well, Will. You couldn’t bear the thought that someone, somewhere, hadn’t been disparaged.

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