Altizer as I knew him: A tribute by Ted Jennings

[Note: Ted Jennings shared this text with a circle of friends who are mourning the recent death of Thomas J.J. Altizer. It is published here with his permission.]

When I first came to Candler School of Theology at Emory in 1964 I heard stories of Tom Altizer and his motorcycle, subsequently sabotaged I believe. I became aware that many of my favorite professors were part of what was then known as the Altizer circle (Boers, Hoffmann, Mallard, Runyon, and a couple of others) who exchanged papers they dared not publish on radical theology. After 1965 (when I had become president of the student body) I organized a debate between the philosophical (but very conservative) theologian on the Candler faculty and Tom. It filled the largest venue then available at Emory, complete with press. In the course of setting that up I had my first conversations with Tom, whose energy was matched only by his unfailing kindness and generosity.

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Mark Fisher

I was shocked and saddened to learn of the death of Mark Fisher. Mark was one of the pioneers of theory blogging and para-academic independent publishing. I learned a great deal from his blogging at K-punk, where he wrote incisive political commentary and undertook bold philosophical speculation, and he blazed a trail when he published Capitalist Realism, which brought the Zero Books series (now succeeded by Repeater Books) to international prominence. He supported a lot of us in this corner of the blogosphere, and I personally owe him a debt of gratitude as his recommendation helped make the publication of Awkwardness and its sequels possible.

Mark was truly a model of how to pursue a life of public intellectual engagement for a generation of young thinkers.

Scott Erik Kaufman

I was very saddened to learn of the death of Scott Erik Kaufman. It is shocking to lose such a giant among bloggers at such a young age. Everyone who participated in the often tumultuous debates in the early days of academic blogging will remember him as a tireless and generous interlocutor, the kind of person who will stridently disagree with you throughout a 30-comment exchange and then try to recruit you as a co-blogger. More broadly, he blazed a trail from academia to online writing that others have followed, though not with the same energy and flair.

My personal favorite post of his is DISADVENTURE!, a parody of a text-based adventure game where the player must write a dissertation — and characteristically, I now see that there are actually seven further installments. I invite others to share their favorite posts and memories.