Orrin E. Klapp

Neil Remington Abramson commented as follows:

As I was contemplating future retirement, I looked at my bookshelves and thought: what will I do with all these books in my office? My eye fell on a book by Orrin E Klapp, my social theory prof in 1975. He wrote a number of books, including Heroes, Villains and Fools, a 1962 book based on ideas developed from his 1954 article published in American Sociological Review. He had a knack for capturing an innovative idea in a title, such as his 1986 book, Overload and Boredom: Essays on the Quality of Life in the Information Society.

He was a tall, gaunt old man with a shock of snow white hair. He seemed very old to me, but full of energy. He was planning to retire the next year, in 1976, to San Diego, so I assumed he was 64.

I looked him up on the internet. He was only 60 at the time, 3 years younger than I almost am now. So goodness knows how my students see me – old, I guess.

I remember he picked me to make the first presentation the following week to all of my classmates. He told me he’d go light on me, since I was first and had so little time. However, I worked hard and produced an intricate discussion of Parsonian theory that I doubt anyone, including me, probably fully understood. Parsons was the grand old man of dense theory. Anyway, it established me as a comer, and Dr. Klapp was generous as promised.

Too bad he died in 1997. I’d write to him, now that I’ve caught up to where he was when he was my teacher.

A good teacher.

Very good, really.


About brucelarochelle

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