I never had the pleasure of taking any one of Ted Cohen’s classes, but I was fortunate enough to get plenty of exposure to him via the Latke-Hamantash debates at the University of Chicago, which Cohen so famously moderated. He was always funny, witty, and the life of just about every single event. I am sure that the debates will go on without him, but things just won’t be the same.
Something must be said, of course, of Cohen’s professional dedication to taking jokes seriously; his willingness to do so was laudable. We cannot replicate humor unless we understand its nuances, we don’t truly appreciate laughter until we find out why what we are laughing about is so funny, and given that there is so much in this world that causes pain, worry, angst, regret and sadness, it is deeply heartening that people like Ted Cohen were willing to devote their lives to both understanding sources of joy and laughter, and spreading joy and laughter wherever he went.
Requiescat in pace. May his memory be for blessing. (The first link in this post is via Will Baude, via social media.)