RIP: Nashville Alt-Weekly Editor Jim Ridley

His pitch to the paper in 1989 included the line: 'Gene Shalit is a disease, and we are the cure.'

JimRidleyPicFormer Nashville Scene managing editor Jack Silverman has shared some sad news. His colleague Jim Ridley, the paper’s editor, who lost consciousness and collapsed at the alt-weekly on March 28, has passed away. Ridley was 50.

A photo at the top of Silverman’s touching obituary is a reminder of how precious life is. It’s from his recent February wedding and shows him standing happily with Ridley. Silverman also reminds how his pal got going in earnest professionally while still a teenager:

At 13, Ridley started contributing reviews to The Tennessean’s book page. In an April 1, 1979, review of James Conaway’s novel World’s End, Ridley wrote, “The prose clumps along like a centipede with broken legs, and the story is presented episodically, something like a cross between The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight and Fools Die, with none of Breslin’s wit or Puzo’s spellbinding storytelling.”

Six months later — three months after his 14th birthday — he offered this assessment of Mary Stewart’s Arthurian saga The Last Enchantment: “Stewart’s Merlin is made out to be an obnoxious, persnickety fool, and he speaks like a combination of the worst elements of John Cheever, a used-car salesman and Abigail Van Buren. The legend was treated with more respect by Monty Python. Throw this one to the dragon.”

Silverman goes on to share more colorful details, including a line Ridley used in his pitch in 1989 to become the Nashville Scene’s film critic: ‘Remember, Gene Shalit is a disease, and we are the cure.’ He began contributing to the publication shortly thereafter. RIP.