December 25, 2011
The Inspiring Kindness of Larry Ribstein
If you haven't heard, Larry Ribstein passed away unexpectedly yesterday. The outpouring of condolences reflects his immense stature in the academy. As a relatively young scholar with overlapping interests, my own interactions with him were limited but nonetheless significant to me. What I remember most is that he never allowed whatever ideological differences we may have had to stop him from taking the time to respond to my queries. In fact, he even thanked me in one of his recent papers, and I can only attribute that to pure kindness--a little pat of encouragement--because I seriously doubt I could have added much of anything to his writing in light of his expertise and the brilliant scholars he clearly had close relationships with. Thus, while there is obviously much in terms of scholarship that Larry is worth remembering for, what I will primarily remember him for is his inspiring kindness.
PS--I think it is worth adding here, particularly in light of the recent civility tiff, that this willingness to spend time helping a young scholar regardless of ideology is something that I have witnessed emanating from a number of respected scholars throughout the academy (Stephen Bainbridge, in particular, comes to mind--but there are numerous others), and it is something that makes me feel very hopeful about our profession, and very grateful and proud to be a part of it.