Saturday, March 31, 2007


This (by no means complete) page of Acquaintances (a term which shouldn’t be taken to imply some aren’t close friends, but this seemed broader) was first posted on Sept. 23, 2007 — some of the links are new or updated since then, some aren’t. This list is heavily skewed toward people whose websites might interest readers of my blog, so being off the list doesn’t make people worthless (AND I WILL UPDATE IT OCCASIONALLY).
NOTE: Acquaintances who’ve linked to me in a permanent, front-page way on their own sites can be found (unless I’ve missed someone) in the blogroll in my front page’s right margin, but this page lets me be more thorough.
Sarah Ackerman is a museum staffer, educator, and occasional actress who has the honor of being first in alphabetical order.
The American Council on Science and Health is where I work (and edit the blog HealthFactsAndFears), conveniently located at the intersection of science, media criticism, and market-friendly political commentary — the trifecta.
Andy Ager is a blogger who loves his lager — and loves his wife, Dartmouth librarian Laura Braunstein.
Keisha-Gaye Anderson writes sci-fi and poetry and helps educate the young folk.
Dave Barry wouldn’t know me from Adam, but back before he was super-famous took the time to write back to me confirming he’s a libertarian, and he’s easily the funniest newspaper columnist of all time, so I’m putting him on this list anyway.
The Anonymous Blogger must remain anonymous, I suppose, but I’ll give you a hint: he’s a big nerd (and no, he’s not anyone else on this page).
Adam Bellow shares my belief that the world needs more short, philosophical-yet-popular tracts, smaller than a typical book but more thoughtful than a mere article, and he’s doing far more about it than I am.
Chuck Blake, my comrade in skepticism since high school, is a physics-trained, computer-programming math whiz now in finance as a “quant.”
Michelle Boardman taught me in college that a woman can like libertarianism, Nietzsche, Star Trek, and alternative rock while existing outside my fantasies and has since become deputy assistant attorney general and married a fellow libertarian named Hill Beverly Wellford III.
Jolene Bouchon was a SEX COLUMNIST(!) for Maxim’s website (interesting for her husband, Bryan Christian) but went on to write about food for Epicurious.
Alice Bradley blogs about being a mom but was once as hip as she is amusing. Her blog’s name comes from a dream she had in which the government hired her to invent a new word for “dolphin.”
Liz Braswell writes fantasy novels under pseudonyms and is married to Scott Shannon under her own name.
Joe Brennan is a U.S. expat libertarian living near London, blogging, and doing a radio show that you can hear here from midnight to 7am most Sunday mornings.
Rachel Kramer Bussel is fairly naughty and writes about it professionally, having been a SEX COLUMNIST(!) for the Village Voice.
The Cato Institute, home to the likes of David Boaz and Tom Palmer, is one of the major loci of libertarianism on this tragically over-governed world.
Christine Caldwell Ames is probably the only professor of medieval history at the University of South Carolina who wrote for National Lampoon and MTV (continuing the comedy-writing habit she developed when we were at Brown) before going to Yale Divinity School. She is not to be confused with…
…patent lawyer Holly Caldwell, Christine’s equally-libertarian frequent comedy-writing partner at Brown, who is now married to fellow alum Jake Harrison, a biologist (who in his spare time has helped raise money to fight leukemia, a task with which you can help).
Tim Carney worked for the legendary Robert Novak and wrote a great book about industry-government collusion, and he has smart brothers like John Carney and Brian Carney. And to quote Yoda: there is another…
Dimitri Cavalli has written insightful articles on history and politics but is really fascinated by fishing.
Andrew Corsello writes for GQ and is married to an Episcopal minister who had to proselytize naked to a tribe in Africa once, which is pretty hot. Unless I’m misremembering the story, which would be unfortunate.
Molly Crabapple is a cartoonist and former artist’s model who started hosting her own series of avant-garde drawing sessions and who has, as Andrew Corsello once said after meeting Tyra Banks, huge friggin’ eyes.
Mark Cunningham edits the opinion section of the New York Post and co-founded the monthly Manhattan Project gatherings of conservative media folk I now co-host.
Tim Deroche has been a consultant or co-creator on everything from education reform plans to political campaigns, plus a website, screenplays, and possibly a smart and hip TV show about science, which the world could use.
L.B. Deyo is the host and organizer of Austin, TX debate series called the Dionysium and co-founder of
Lisa Dierbeck has written stories about things like having sex with Satan to advance your career and a novel about an Alice-like molestation victim — and she’s married to a libertarian (named Vito), which some ignoramuses would consider the most disturbing part of all.
Jen Dziura is famous and funny (and smart and philosophical).
Dawn Eden wrote about rock for years, found religion, and turned her book about the virtues of chastity into a full-time job in DC encouraging her fellow Catholics (she converted) to wait until marriage.
Janice “Girlbomb” Erlbaum went from runaway teen to very nice and stable-seeming adult, comedian, and memoirist.
Michel Evanchik is my webmaster and the moderator of the Debates at Lolita Bar that I host each month. A mix of Russian, French, Swedish, and American influences, he is like a war on the Continent — but in your mind.
Diana Fleischman studies evolutionary psychology and explains it to me.
Jamie Foehl is in advertising, not politics, but jokes of being a card-carrying libertarian (she really had a card) and got Ayn Rand mentioned in a New York City-promoting poster campaign.
Jenny Foreit decided to become a lawyer but at heart will always be the kind of kickboxing teenage girl Joss Whedon dreamt of us all becoming back in the 90s.
Jeffrey Friedman is a Barnard polisci prof who edits the interesting political philosophy journal Critical Review, one of the few academic venues primarily concerned with issues of interest to libertarians and one of the few libertarian venues that holds the philosophy to the standards of mainstream academia.
Jill Friedman, by contrast, is a comics and sci-fi geek with some sort of connections to the porn industry or something (and her friend Hilary Thomas has done voiceovers for characters including the ring announcer on Pokemon).
Jonathan Funke, when he finds time, is one of the few people left on the planet still blogging from an explicitly Rockefeller-Republican perspective, not that there were blogs back in the days when there were other Rockefeller Republicans.
Michelle Gengaro is a designer and illustrator who has done sci-fi, kids’ books, and more.
Robert A. George is a columnist, editor, and stand-up comic, not to be confused with Princeton’s more-conservative Robert P. George.
Amanda Gersh vies with Alice Bradley for coolest mom-blogger.
Diane Greco writes fiction about science and other big ideas, as perhaps more people should — and her husband Matthew Josefowicz, her fellow Brown alum, likes her stuff. I was the first person to ask when their child’s birth was due — about a year before she was pregnant. In spite of that unfortunate incident, I swear she’s really good-looking.

Dan Greenberg is a state representative in Arkansas — and a libertarian-leaning Republican who graduated from Brown. He’s also managing editor of the aforementioned Critical Review.
Janet Harvey has performed as Jungle Girl, written a Batgirl comic book, and made short films.
Francis Heaney is a brilliant maker of puzzles, poems, songs, and comedy, often at the same time — and he is married to the yarn-obsessed Rose White, which is her real name.
Mark Hemingway and Mollie Ziegler Hemingway, collectively, write about rock, religion, and politics. She has also been a SEX COLUMNIST(!).
Charles Herold reviews videogames for a living, which has to be the cushiest job this side of Kyle Smith (see below).
Sander Hicks is basically a Marxist — a Marxist! — yet he is also one of the most entrepreneurial people I know, whether running his cafe or selling books about the left. Contradictions of late capitalism, I guess.
The Institute for Human Studies has been a great help to me — and many other libertarians — ever since I was in college circa 1990 (and it was IHS’s Marty Zupan who suggested back then that I try submitting my first professional article to Reason).
Jim Kalb is by some metrics the most conservative person I know — which is to say he’s a thorough (and thoughtful) traditionalist, not, as some might expect, an axe-wielding barbarian. Ironically, he was also one of the first people I knew to engage in lots of online debate, and he has the most robotic-looking URL of anyone on this page:
Julia Kamin organizes political discussions in a fashion after my own heart, plugged at and
Dave Kamp is a bit of a snob.
Pagan Kennedy has written nine good books (and counting) and should be a model for the rest of the lazy, no-account do-nothings on this page, including me.
Elizabeth Koch and Todd Zuniga founded the literary journal Opium.
Ali Kokmen hawks manga at Random House (with his co-worker Dallas, an old friend of DC’s Scott Nybakken) and has a long history of comics fanhood that includes support of places like MoCCA, the Museum of Comics and Cartoon Art.
Todd Kruse blogs about various causes of a libertarian bent.
Gersh Kuntzman, a Brown alum who is not a libertarian but is funny, is editor of a family of Brooklyn newspapers, among other things.
Jonathan Leaf writes good, highbrow, realistic, historical plays. Thank goodness someone does.
David “Lefty” Leibowitz is proprietor of Endeavor 43, founder of the Gotham Roller Girls, and co-founder of
Jacob T. Levy is a McGill polisci prof and a much-needed (Brown-minted) libertarian contributor to The New Republic.
Lisa Levy is a comedienne and has hosted such clever stage productions as a live revival of Groucho Marx’s You Bet Your Life.
Marilynn Larkin is a freelance writer, editor at large of The Lancet, nanotech commentator, and personal trainer, having achieved the whole sound-mind-sound-body combo without resort to being remade by nanobots.
Heather Lowe has been a rock band promoter, biotech promoter, and Russian Orthodox religion-promoter. I like hybrids.
Caren Lissner writes novels that are sometimes about nerds.
Shawn Macomber has leapt from blogging for American Spectator to blogging for Shawn Macomber.
Michael Malice is the Renaissance man who co-created the “Overheard in” websites, a book with Harvey Pekar, another book with Ultimate Fighting champ Matt Hughes, and assorted confusion and fear.
The Manhattan Institute is probably the most important thinktank in New York City — as opposed to the Foundation for Economic Education, the most important thinktank just outside New York City. MI publishes MedicalProgressToday and City Journal and is home to Walter Olson, among others. If you’re reading this in 2009 and a President Giuliani has done something right, it may be because of this thinktank’s influence on him.
Megan McArdle, a.k.a. Jane Galt, has gone from The Economist to Atlantic Monthly and from hippie to capitalist.
Reid Mihalko (Brown alum) and Marcia Baczynski (libertarian) run, an implausible yet highly popular scheme whereby people pay them to be part of safe, non-sexual group cuddling sessions — and they have a far-flung array of friends, fellow Burning Man participants, and co-cuddlers.
Deroy Murdock may be the best political columnist of my generation — no insult to anyone else on this page.
Chris Nugent, another of Brown’s comedy-writing libertarians, is now a professor of ancient Chinese at Williams. He has met actual communists.
Scott Nybakken has original art for sale from the Phish video he co-created years ago. Like several people I know, Scott works for DC Comics.
The Phillips Foundation has now produced a small army of Journalism Fellows like me, each richly deserving of his or her own link, but my hands are getting tired. They’ll gradually be noted, I expect.
PiecesOfFlair is probably the smartest links-to-wacky-stuff site there is, perhaps because people like Meredith Kapushion edit it (you can also buy t-shirts and mugs of me through the site).
Paul Pope doesn’t seem to return phonecalls or have a publicly-visible correct e-address, perhaps because he’s behind on some deadlines and trying to lay low, but he’s one of the few libertarian comic book writer-artists and once had time to do things like this sketch of David Bowie for some guy who likes pictures of David Bowie (pointed out to me by Chris Nugent).
Virginia Postrel was the first editor to pay me for writing (a regular humor column for Reason in 1992 and 1993), a nerdy and libertarian icon.
Tracy Quan was a prostitute — that’s right, a prostitute — and went on to write about it.
Daniel Radosh has written for New York Press (where we met as supposedly ideologically-opposite columnists), The Week, New Yorker, and many other venues, but a lot of funny stuff is right there on his blog. Ironically, he and his wife Gina Duclayan, who works for the Population Council, have twins.
Reason — both the magazine and the Foundation — boasts such libertarian allies as Nick Gillespie, Brian Doherty, Jacob Sullum, Kerry Howley, Ted Balaker, Katherine Mangu-Ward, and more.
Derek Rose writes for the New York Daily News, one of those crucial libertarians who writes actual objective journalism instead of just blogging about libertarianism.
Marah Rosenberg does art and business and does both well, contrary to culture-war stereotypes.
Richard Ryan is the sybarite, polymath, and armchair philosopher behind Verse Theater Manhattan.
Unlike skeptical me, Dr. Sangeeta Sahi is a “quantum healer.”
Allen Salkin is a writer whose work has appeared in the New York Times, who has traveled to many exotic locales, and who literally wrote the book on the do-it-yourself holiday Festivus.
Julian Sanchez is so libertarian that he has worked for Laissez-Faire Books, Cato, and Reason. He’s pretty easy-going for a deontologist.
Diana Schoenbrun makes art, including neat illustrations and puppets.
Read Schuchardt founded and teaches rather lefty/crunchy-sounding media theory when not raising a half-dozen or so Christian children with his wife, Rachel.
Jessica Seigel is a professor of journalism who probably thinks half the other people listed on this page are unreliable sources of information but is very amiable nonetheless.
Stephanie Sellars was a SEX COLUMNIST(!) for New York Press and now makes films and blogs.
Bernadette Malone Serton edits Penguin Books’ conservative imprint, is extremely nice, and likes guns.
Bretigne Shaffer Calvert — like her father, anarchist law professor Butler Shaffer — is about as libertarian as it’s possible to be and makes her husband Guy look fairly moderate in comparison.
Karol Sheinin is a blogger, political consultant, and co-host with me of the monthly Manhattan Project gatherings of conservative media folk.
Ken Silber writes for brainy venues like Scientific American Mind and now blogs.
The Donald and Paula Smith Family Foundation is a debate society that I had a tiny role in helping to start, writing their pro-civil-discourse mission statement and for the first year or two their debate announcements, though the Smiths were apparently unaware who was serving the latter function.
Kyle Smith reviews movies for the New York Post, writes novels, and functions as husband to Self editor Sara Austin — and the contrast with this other Kyle Smith is striking.
Spiked-Online is my favorite cabal of British post-Marxists, and the same bunch begot the Science Media Centre, the Institute of Ideas, the Manifesto Club, and Timandra Harkness, to the consternation of predictable ideologues of all stripes.
Nichelle Stephens promotes comedy and cupcakes.
John Stossel, through whom I met numerous other ABC News personalities like my former officemate Deborah Colloton, is about the only libertarian correspondent on network news.
Sarah Tanksley is a scientist and writer but also a participant in this cynical political site.
James Taranto decides what’s the Best of the Web, or at least what’s on the website of the Wall Street Journal editorial pages, which is an important start.
J.R Taylor, New York Press veteran, loves to blog about RightWingTrash, analyzing kitsch and implicitly reclaiming conservatism from the self-parodic aristocrats and elitist bluebloods.
Katherine Taylor is the award-winning fiction writer whose first novel is Rules for Saying Goodbye.
Paul Taylor has been a big influence on my life since we were in kindergarten but has no website — however, he works as a lawyer for the House Subcommittee on the Constitution, which does. is Nick Schulz’s swell wesbite of a science-loving, libertarian bent, on which I’ve been honored to have my work appear (and go here for a fairly complete list of other Seavey venues — including, which was founded by TCS veteran James Glassman and ACSH veteran David Robinson — though the list leaves off the defunct Tim Deroche site Psych-o-Babble and the old, low-budget magazine Comic Effect, about comics).
A few people I know have been part of the Volokh Conspiracy, the libertarian blog started by brothers Eugene and Sasha Volokh.
Emily Votruba is, among other things, one of the people who helped start the brainy journal n+1.
Virginia Vitzthum has written a book about online dating, been a SEX COLUMNIST(!) for and others, and made it pretty clear she’s farther to the left than I am.
Omar Wasow was one of the first MSNBC commentators and says he’d like to fuse traditional civil rights thinking with libertarianism.
David Whitney was another comedy-writing Brown student and is now a libertarian architect, but unlike Howard Roark he’ll pretty much do the job the way you want.
Chris Whitten founded perhaps the first major libertarian website ( as well as more profitable ventures such as
Tibbie X is a punk rocker. Tibbie X is a punk rocker.
I have probably “left out virtually everyone” in the short list above, which I dashed off in a couple hours off the top of my head (while on cold medication), but I will add to it, so please resist the temptation to start your e-mail with phrases such as “After all we’ve been through, how could you possibly forget…”
Jack Kirby
The Marx Brothers
New Wave and alternative rock
Peace and quiet
Star Wars
Strong Bad
UPDATE: Well, I have rarely updated this site’s five permanent explanatory pages (on Principles, Bibliography, Acquaintances, FAQ, and Work) between its launch in 2007 and 2010 — and may not necessarily even agree with everything I said in them — but an important entry from April 11, 2010 describes a big mid-2010 shift in my activities that at least gives you an idea what the future should look like (NOTE, while I’m at it, that e-mails to this site’s URL do not reach me, or indeed anyone, but you can find my real e-address on this site without too much trouble).

Book Selections

January 2012: Instead of a Book Selections entry: I.P., Best Essays, David Brooks, more
December 2011: The Politically Incorrect Guide to English and American Literature – and comics
November 2011: the Renaissance, Rev. Jen, the Michelin Man, and more
October 2011: The Recipe Project (with One Ring Zero, Tanya Donelly, and more)
September 2011 (3 of 3): The Steampunk Bible by Jeff VanderMeer
September 2011 (2 of 3): Lord Macaulay's History of England (plus Michael Lind)
September 2011 (1 of 3): Doomsday Book by Connie Willis
August 2011 (4 of 4): Destroy All Movies! The Complete Guide to Punk on Film
August 2011 (3 of 4): Are You Serious? by Lee Siegel (plus prog rock, seasteading, and more)
August 2011 (2 of 4): a dozen free speech items (four of which are books)
August 2011 (1 of 4): The Science of Evil by Simon Baron-Cohen
July 2011 (4 of 4): Miles Gone By by William F. Buckley (plus a banjo player)
July 2011 (3 of 4): Exposing the Real Che Guevara by Humberto Fontova
July 2011 (2 of 4): The Essential American, Jackie Gingrich Cushman and Newt Gingrich, eds.
July 2011 (1 of 4): Neoconservatism: An Obituary for an Idea (and Transformers)
June 2011: Scanlon, Thurber, Dennett, and humor
May 2011: comics and sci-fi including Book of Genesis and Umbrella Academy
April 2011: zombie book and film selection including World War Z
March 2011: Death of the Liberal Class and How to Disappear
February 2011: ten capitalistic works (including Todd Seavey dancing)
January 2011: Passing Strange by Joseph A. Citro
December 2010: Hitchens, Ridley, Narnia, and more
October 2010: Proud to Be Right (including Todd Seavey's "Conservatism for Punks" essay)
September 2010: The Corporate Reconstruction of American Capitalism by Martin Sklar
August 2010: After the Victorians by A.N. Wilson
July 2010: Victorian Norwich by Arthur Lester Lathrop
June 2010: Victorian Vista by James Laver
May 2010: English Thought in the Nineteenth Century by D.C. Somervell
April 2010: History of the Goths and Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World
March 2010: The Death of Conservatism by Sam Tanenhaus
February 2010: Philosophy: Who Needs It by Ayn Rand
January 2010: Aristotle, Chesterton, D. Friedman, Bussel, In Character
December 2009: Cabell, Mirrlees, and Williams
November 2009: Chronicles of the Lensmen by E.E. “Doc” Smith
October 2009: “Month of Utopia” surveying many texts
September 2009: The Gate of Time by Philip Jose Farmer
August 2009: Dan Greenberg picks 25 great sci-fi stories
July 2009: The Devil’s Piper by Susan Price
June 2009: The Great Rock ’N’ Roll Swindle by Michael Moorcock
May 2009: “Nine Billion Names of God” and more by Arthur C. Clarke
April 2009: Dumbocracy, greens, Muppets, and general idiocracy
March 2009: Watchmen, Peanuts, Terry Gilliam, and the Futurists
February 2009: Ray Bradbury and several new/old items
January 2009: Lawyers, guns, and money (and Dick)
December 2008: Eight religion-related items
November 2008: Global warming round-up
October 2008: Three Thousand Dollars by David Lipsky
September 2008: The Dangerous Joy of Doctor Sex by Pagan Kennedy
August 2008: American Nerd by Benjamin Nugent and Being Logical by D.Q. McInerny
July 2008: Critical Review, edited by Jeffrey Friedman
June 2008: Sources of the Self by Charles Taylor
May 2008: Final Crisis by Grant Morrison and J.G. Jones
April 2008: Rapture Ready! by Daniel Radosh
March 2008 bonus: William F. Buckley's Getting It Right
March 2008: Right, left, and libertarian books
February 2008 (4 of 4): The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell
February2008 (3 of 4): The Best of H.P. Lovecraft
February 2008 (2 of 4): The Irrational Atheist by Vox Day
February 2008 (1 of 4): Atheist Manifesto by Michel Onfray
January 2008: Made in America by Matt Hughes with Michael Malice
December 2007: Liberal Fascism by Jonah Goldberg (plus war and globalism)
November 2007: Todd Seavey! (now with Bibliography)
October 2007: Prince of Darkness and Crunchy Cons
September 2007: Comic Books!
August 2007: Seven books on science — and its opposite!
July 2007: I Am a Strange Loop by Douglas Hofstadter
June 2007: Rules for Saying Goodbye by Katherine Taylor
May 2007: Girlbomb by Janice Erlbaum
April 2007: The First Man-Made Man by Pagan Kennedy
March 2007: Radicals for Capitalism by Brian Doherty
February 2007: The Death of Common Sense by Philip K. Howard
January 2007: After Virtue by Alasdair MacIntyre
December 2006: Thrill of the Chaste by Dawn Eden/A Christmas Caroline by Kyle Smith
November 2006: Natural Right and History by Leo Strauss

Debates at Lolita Bar

"Todd Seavey vs. the World" gives everyone in the audience a chance to attack me with a skeptical question, which I will endeavor to answer -- this THURSDAY, Oct. 14 (8pm) at Lolita Bar (266 Broome St. at Allen St. on the Lower East Side, a block south of Delancey St.).  It will help celebrate the release of the Seavey essay "Conservatism for Punks" in the Jonah Golderg-edited book Proud to Be Right (on shelves now).

The following chronological, periodically updated list indicates how the majority of the audience voted on each of the questions debated (and the month and year of the debate), not necessarily which position was represented by the most skilled debater — nor, certainly, the correct answer. Click a link for the original debate announcement.

Feel free to discuss the debates-in-general in the Responses below or to discuss the individual topics on their respective pages.

Is Macroeconomics a Fiction?  NO 9/23/10
Are Bosses Usually Jerks? NO 9/7/10
Can There Be Benign Imperialism? YES 8/12/10
Is Burlesque Art? YES 7/8/10
Was Shakespeare Really Shakespeare? YES 6/2/10
(Rand reading by Todd Seavey: “Faith and Force”) 5/1/10
ObamaCare: Triumph or Doom? DOOM 4/7/10
Is Christianity for Wimps? YES 3/3/10
Is the Music Business Bad for Music as an Art Form? YES 2/3/10
Is Katz’s the Best Deli? NO (but we love it!) 1/6/10
Should We Abolish NASA? NO 12/2/09
Are Che, Chavez, Castro, and Their Ilk Bad for Latin America? YES 11/4/09
Is Obama Really a Natural-Born Citizen? YES 10/7/09
Should NY Reopen the 9/11 Investigation? YES 9/2/09
Have We Ever Been Visited by Extraterrestrials? NO 8/5/09
Is America Economically Doomed? YES 7/1/09
Is Zionism Racism? YES 6/3/09
Should Humans Radically Decrease Their Exploitation of Animals? YES 5/6/09
Does Religion Make People Better? NO 4/1/09
Should Sci-Fi Avoid Nostalgia? NO 3/4/09
Has the Right Hit Bottom Yet? NO 2/19/09
Is Intellectual Property Theft? NO 1/7/09
Should We “Eat Locally”? NO 12/3/08
Yesterday Was the Election: What’s Next? OBAMA 11/5/08
Should We Loosen Term Limits? NO 10/7/08
Is Modern Sex Good or Evil? GOOD 9/28/08
Is Israel Oppressing the Palestinians? NO 8/13/08
(Women Who Have Sold Their Eggs panel discussion 7/22/08)
Should Conservatives and Libertarians Vote for Barr Instead of McCain? YES 6/4/08
Should Manhattan Streets Have Congestion Pricing? YES 5/7/08
Does Christian Rock Suck? NO 4/2/08
Should We Deport All the Illegal Aliens? NO 3/5/08
(What Do the Political Primary Results So Far Mean? 2/6/08)
(Made in America author chat 1/2/08)
Does Military Strength Create Peace? YES 12/5/07
Did the Government Know in Advance About 9/11? NO 11/5/07
Is the Ivy League Superior? NO 10/3/07
Is Muslim Immigration a Threat to Democracy? NO 9/5/07
Is Gentrification Good? YES 8/1/07
(Should America Have More Respect for Its Own History? discussion 7/9/07)
Is It More Painful to Get Dumped or to Do the Dumping? GET DUMPED 6/20/07
Does the Beauty Industry Oppress Women? YES 5/2/07
Is Classical Music Better than the Music of Today? YES 4/4/07
(Radicals for Capitalism author chat 3/07)
Do We Face Catastrophic Climate Change? YES 2/07
Is Chastity a Good Idea for Singles? NO 1/07
(New Orleans/World Trade Center discussion 12/06)
(Post-election discussion 11/06)
Do Celebrities Have a Right to Privacy? NO 10/06
Was Israel Right to Invade Lebanon? YES 9/06
Does Big Business Prefer Big Government? YES 8/06
Should Superheroes Have to Register with the Government? NO 7/06
Should the U.S. Military Intervene in Iran? NO 6/06
Is Immigration Harming the United States? TIE 5/06 (Note: The only previous tie in the debate series occurred prior to the Seavey/Evanchik era, on the thorny question, “Which Is Better, Punk or New Wave?” debated by the singers of the punk band X-Possibles and the New Wave band My Favorite.)
Should the U.S. Fund Abortions and Contraception Overseas? YES 4/06
Should Gun Control Be Abolished? YES 3/06
Should the Law Make It Harder to Divorce? NO 2/06
Do Public School Boards Have the Right to Mandate the Teaching of Intelligent Design as Science? NO 1/06
Is Dating Tougher for Men or Women? MEN 12/05
(Urban Exploration presentation 11/05)
Is New Jersey Inferior to New York City? YES 10/05
Are Chain Stores and Big Box Retailers Hurting New York City? NO 9/05
Is America a Meritocracy? NO 8/05 (Note: I argued “yes” in this one and was defeated by Michel, both of us stepping out of our usual host/moderator roles — and prior to becoming host, I was defeated in my efforts to defend the positions that “Morality Is Objective,” “America Is Oversexed,” and “Humanity [As We Know It] Will Be Extinct in a Hundred Years,” the first of those being the first debate in which L.B. Deyo, co-founder of the debates, ever triumphed. I did win against Jacob Levy in my defense of tradition over individualism, but Jacob had only a day to prepare after being talked into the debate while he was in New York on vacation.)
Will Videogames Become More Important Than Movies? NO 7/05
Should Marriage Be Only Between a Man and a Woman? NO 6/05
Does Poetry Still Matter? NO 5/05
Does the Whole World Need Western-Style Democracy? NO 4/05
Are Women Naturally Better Suited to Be in the Home? YES 3/05

The Debates at Lolita Bar fissioned off of the older Athenaeum meetings run by (a site dedicated to “urban exploration” and co-founded by Lefty Leibowitz), from which the monthly Dionysium events (run by L.B. Deyo) in Austin, TX, also spun off.

Brief Statement of Principles

(This item was also a blog entry on February 11, 2007 and not meant to be my primary manifesto, but why reinvent the wheel?)

This blog won’t be an exercise in feverishly linking, with obligatory know-it-all comment, to every event in the news as it happens. There are (literally) about a million sites doing that already. This site, I expect, will be more likely to respond to books and other long-form, detailed arguments or ideas. The Web could use a little cautious reflection, maybe even some peace and quiet once in awhile.

That tone may allow some actual philosophizing to occur, so that maybe we’ll all learn something. One rarely philosophizes from a complete blank slate, though, so it’s worth briefly noting, in the interests of full disclosure, some of the beliefs — not mere prejudices, mind you, since they are the conclusions of years of prior logical analysis (nor mere assumptions or axioms, since I’d happily revise each or all in the face of new evidence) — that I already bring to bear and which are likely to be reflected in future posts:

•Claims should not be made without good empirical evidence, so it is intellectually irresponsible, indeed immoral, to claim that God or other supernatural phenomena (ghosts, psychic powers, astrology, etc.) exist.

•The only rational, non-mystical basis for ethics is rule utilitarianism (that is, behaving in accord with the rules most likely to foster the greatest long-term happiness among all morally-relevant agents — I avoid saying “people” to sidestep for now the question of the moral significance of animal welfare), and moral thinking should pervade all of our decisions, leaving no room for lying, cheating, cruelty, infidelity, taking credit for others’ work, or even the lackadaisical sort of callous irresponsibility (as on the dating scene) that seems to characterize much of the thinking of many young adults these days.

•Property rights are the most important manifestation of ethics and law and the often unappreciated basis of civilization, the alternative to which is violence and poverty, as socialist governments have made abundantly clear; capitalism, in short, is not only good but is humanity’s greatest accomplishment.

•Government should be abolished, or at least minimized (it is likely, though harder to demonstrate empirically, that law itself could be turned over to decentralized private courts somewhat in the fashion of old common law courts and modern arbitration firms, and that the military could be far more rationally directed on a subscription basis by capital-intense insurance firms, but at the very least all unbiased observers can agree that we should end most Cabinet agencies, government-run schools, regulation, public sector unions, and welfare/social security programs in favor of allowing an unfettered economy to make everyone far richer — and freer — faster); limiting government has been the key to America’s greatness, though it has strayed far from that founding ideal, one now largely forgotten by both left and right, though not, fortunately, by libertarians.

•Because science is easily distorted by the media and other forces, most health scares are overblown, as is the threat of global warming, for the purpose of attracting attention to research or to pro-regulation political causes (and a pro-regulation bias is likely to exist in government-funded or -directed research).

•Evolution is the best and most powerful explanation for the workings of life and, contrary to politically-motivated claims of intelligent design theorists and the like, is confirmed by mountains of evidence from the fossil records of the past to the continual arms race against bacterial development and adaptation in our own day.

•Feminism is bunk, based in virtually all its formulations on the irrational, radically anti-empirical, a priori assumption of equal mental or rational capacities (in essentially all areas of human endeavor) in the two demonstrably different sexes (as unwarranted as assuming that two similar species, say, elk and moose, must prove to be “equal” by some empirical or, failing that, metaphysical measure); while belief in God may be the most erroneous commonly held view and belief in government the most socially destructive, feminism is perhaps the most manifestly false commonly held view in our culture, refuted as it is by virtually every daily interaction experienced by virtually all people, sustained only by the kind of borderline-schizophrenic, compartmentalized thinking that enables someone to claim men and women are mentally the same one moment and then bicker over whether to see a “guy movie” or a “chick flick” the next, without noticing the contradiction.

•The masses are by and large cretins (keep in mind that the average IQ is roughly 100), and all political factions of which I am aware, from Marxism to fascism to libertarianism, are guilty of flattering the masses (appealing to the “good sense of the average person,” etc.) in the vain and demagogic hope of receiving popular affirmation for their own agendas, which most people will never grasp, let alone endorse; similarly, intellectuals must, despite the great temptation, beware taking too indulgent an “ironic” interest in the mind-rotting trash that generally passes for popular culture, tending as it does to contribute to the masses’ impulse-driven lack of self-discipline, forethought, or morals – and must instead pause from time to time to appreciate the storehouse of wisdom and aesthetic achievements we inherit from tradition, which tends to dwarf the accomplishments and sophistication of any one mind.

•Biotech and cybernetics offer the best long-term hope of improving the human race, particularly making humans more rational (anyone who complains that people are “too rational” already is likely insane or highly intellectually irresponsible) and sooner or later making us immortal.

•Until biotech and cybernetics make fundamental improvements in the human mind, voluntary (as opposed to government-run or otherwise coercive) eugenics is something all honest, sober-minded people should endorse – not in the irrational, crude, ethnicity-based form that the Nazis promulgated but in the common-sense form of politely discouraging stupid, violent people from passing on their ways or inclinations to any more offspring (or indeed non-relative members of their social circles) than necessary; people who claim to oppose eugenics in this milder, decentralized form unwittingly demonstrate their hypocrisy every time they engage in mate selection and pick better rather than worse mates.

Those are just a few simple ground rules that I think we can all agree upon for starters – the sort of nearly-self-evident things I can’t be bothered to go back and re-prove in every single entry but which, if kept in the back of your mind, will help smooth your reading experience and make more sense of the many other ideas to come.

The logical outcome of the ideals described above, should enough of you come to share them (perhaps as a result of regularly reading this blog), is a world of highly intelligent, anarchist-atheist yet property-respecting and moralistic, pro-American cyborgs (likely of multiple subspecies and possibly diversely transgendered) who are immortal, have an appreciation for high art, show an almost Amish respect for certain elements of tradition, and are kind to animals. I don’t expect to see this almost-perfect world within my lifetime, but all of us who work to bring it a bit closer to realization can at least sleep with clear consciences at night. Every little bit helps: registering Republican instead of Democrat (if the Republican Party returns to its limited-government principles), listening to synthesizer-based New Wave music, discouraging acquaintances from respecting the Bible, or discussing robotics in a frank and open way with your friends and family. Little by little, each of us can make a difference and set a good example — and remember, you are not alone.

UPDATE 1/15/08: I admit this list was dashed off quickly and that I may have erred by giving feminism such short shrift, for instance, or by lightly invoking the term “eugenics” when I might have said merely “biotech and picking a smart mate” — but this entry on utilitarianism may be a better way of explaining my underlying principles.

UPDATE: Well, I have rarely updated this site’s five permanent explanatory pages (on Principles, Bibliography, Acquaintances, FAQ, and Work) between its launch in 2007 and 2010 — and may not necessarily even agree with everything I said in them — but an important entry from April 11, 2010 describes a big mid-2010 shift in my activities that at least gives you an idea what the future should look like (NOTE, while I’m at it, that e-mails to this site’s URL do not reach me, or indeed anyone, but you can find my real e-address on this site without too much trouble).

Seavey Personal Ad

Seavey online picWith any luck, I’ll find myself in a steady relationship any day now [UPDATE: I have, but read on], and this ad won’t be necessary — but it’s sort of funny, so let’s at least post it for now, and perhaps permanently if it proves popular enough:

Who needs online dating services? Eschewing the needlessly complicated dating sites, which I’m told offer an array of dating-candidates who are not Todd Seavey — potentially causing women to become confused and end up with the wrong guy — offers the one dating option that can bring true happiness: Todd Seavey. But first, you must read the rules below.


Ten Rules for Dating Todd

1. Sane chicks are hot.

Do you often find yourself saying, “Why does everything have to be rational all the time?”

Do you ever end an argument by saying, “Just because it’s more logical doesn’t mean it’s right”?

Do you cry sometimes without knowing why, or without being able to explain why “in words”?

Do you hear voices in your head, whether human or divine?

Do you believe yourself to be “highly intuitive” even when you have been repeatedly proven wrong or have no evidence that your intuited judgments proved to be accurate?

Do you become sullen and uncommunicative when people say things with which you disagree?

Do you claim to desperately wish that you were thin yet continue to eat enough food to keep you fat?

Do you claim to be fat despite numerous people, perhaps including doctors, telling you that you are underweight and may have anorexia?

Do you have any other condition qualifying as “an eating disorder”?

Do you sometimes treat innocent others sadistically?

Do you often find yourself using phrases such as “It’s just a really confusing time for me emotionally,” “I’m having trouble thinking lately,” or “Something makes me think they’re all against me, even though they’re being nice”?

Do you think it’s acceptable to have contradictory ideas? Or acceptable to express anger toward people who point out that you have said one thing yet done another? Or acceptable to express anger at others because you have consciously chosen a course of action completely at odds with your main goal and are now suffering for it?

Are you on, or have you ever been on, antidepressants or antipsychotic medication? (Or have you been urged by a medical professional to go on such medication?)

Do you think “emotional self-discipline” is a contradiction in terms, or even that it is an undesirable quality?

Do you get angry when people “take you at your word,” say, expecting you to show up when you said you would, expecting you to call if you said you’d call, or otherwise expecting you to behave as if you have integrity even in small things?

Do you like to think of yourself as a “zany and offbeat thinker” who defies the usual linear rules of thought?

Do you like to see others suffer when you are having a bad day?

Do you let off steam by picking fights over nothing, even with people who try to seek a compromise with you?

Do you lie in order to avoid conflicts, even though by doing so you increase the odds of a more significant later conflict?

Do you think that a given statement must be true if you “feel strongly” about the underlying issue? (For instance, that God must exist because you feel passionately about religion, or that socialism or welfare-statism must be superior to capitalism as a means of ensuring human happiness because you have cared deeply about socialism or welfare-statism for many years?)

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you may be insane and probably shouldn’t date me (I’m sure many of you would hasten to add “I wouldn’t dream of it!” and that’s good — you’re being wise, for once). This is not to say that you are a bad person — you may even be better than average in many ways, or at least better than the average woman — but you are not the sort of reasonable, level-headed, mild-mannered person with whom another reasonable, level-headed, mild-mannered person like myself ought to spend a lot of time.

If you answered “no” to all these questions, there may be hope of us getting along and even building a romantic relationship. But read on and learn the other nine Rules for Dating Todd.


2. If you (a) do not want children or (b) are willing to accept the fact that I will never want children and that therefore if you do, you must be prepared to have only a non-permanent relationship with me, we may be able to build a romantic relationship (no, I do not want to adopt, part-time parent, co-parent, see kids on weekends, or indeed be around kids, whether genetically related or unrelated to me, in any imaginable capacity whatsoever, nor date a women who has kids secreted away somewhere who she promises will “rarely” interact with me).

3. Do you accept the fact that your future boyfriend may have many friends, both female and male, who will not cease to exist simply because you start dating said boyfriend, and are you able to be kind and open toward said friends, including the females, even if in some cases they are ex-girlfriends? If so, we may be able to build a romantic relationship.

4. Are you capable of having an argument on an intellectual point of disagreement without eventually claiming that your feelings have been hurt by the disagreement or claiming that if your opponent persists in (politely) differing with you — if you insist on asking — he must “not be respecting” your opinion? If so, we may be able to build a romantic relationship.

5. Is your IQ, if it has been tested, significantly above average (average being approximately 100)? If so, we may be able to build a romantic relationship.

6. Would you agree that no one is born into this world “owing” you anything, whether an investment of time or money, and that as long as no one is actively harming you or taking things away from you without your permission, the world is treating you fairly? (That is, do you think it’s absurd when people claim to “deserve” a nice vacation or a fancy home or other, often shallow yuppie indulgences without having earned them?) If so, we may be able to build a romantic relationship.

7. Are you able to get along with people who disagree with you on a variety of issues, such as politics and religion, assuming they are willing to discuss such matters intelligently and civilly? If so, we may be able to build a romantic relationship.

8. Are you aware that every single person alive has a different set of preferences from your own, and that what seems “fun” or even “necessary” to you may not generate enthusiasm in other people, even those close to you, and that they are under no moral obligation to share your enthusiasm? Can you avoid sulking if other people fail to share that enthusiasm, so long as they are polite about it? If so, we may be able to build a romantic relationship.

9. Do you think happiness is a fairly natural state — the most important one, in fact — and one easily achieved if people simply calm down and avoid creating insanity, hostility, or trouble? If so, we may be able to build a romantic relationship.

10. If you answered as suggested to all the questions above, are an undeformed female, and are somewhere below the age of menopause (not that I’m knocking the various hot older women I’ve met, but we ought to think long-term here), then let’s consider building a romantic relationship.


As you may have guessed, I have encountered some “mentally special” women over the years and am keen to avoid a repeat performance. Though I’m opinionated in a few select areas, I am nonetheless easy-going, happy to disagree (as long as things remain civil and we can comfortably talk about anything), and very easily entertained (I have never understood why solitary confinement is considered a threat). A sofa and a good book seems to me as close to paradise as one could reasonably ask for, in a world where people are often eager, it seems, to go to great lengths and effort simply to make themselves miserable in a more ritzy, political, “intense,” popular, noisy, or exotic setting. That is not to say I would complain at all about indulging in things I don’t naturally seek out — being willing to try new things and willing to find pleasure in your mate’s favorite things are both important — but I do not approach life with a long wish list of mandatory items meant to prove social status, show off, “experience [fill in the blank] for myself,” or get back at my enemies. I just need sanity, and some peace and quiet (if you often find yourself, eyes bugging out and jaw hanging, saying things like “What do you mean you don’t [ski, read your horoscope, smoke pot, enjoy massage, admire Al Gore, what have you]?” and then having difficulty continuing the conversation or imagining further contact with the person you’re talking to, best to just nip things in the bud rather than dating this non-religious, pro-capitalist, anti-sports, child-averse, non-skiing, crowded-bar-avoiding man — and consider developing an imagination, which will prove useful in all sorts of situations and might even boost your income, enabling you to do more skiing).

Unlike most women, who seem to think that a romantic relationship is sort of an “anything goes” zone into which to spew all the simmering madness kept at bay during the day when out in public, I hope you agree with me that a relationship should be a haven of logic and sanity in often deranged and overheated world.

Care to join me — instead of taking all this as a challenge to change, defeat, or “counterbalance” me?

I should confess that I might be bad at enjoying some of the things that average people enjoy, and I say this only reluctantly and as a result of past negative experiences. So, for instance, most New Yorkers, from what I can tell, seem to prefer noisy or crowded bars, where carrying on complex or nuanced conversations is difficult, to quiet or unpopular ones where the calm allows for contemplation and easy discourse. It is all too common for women to conclude “You’re no fun!” if you don’t share their precise notion of fun, that notion usually involving a lot of hooting and hollering; some unsubtle dancing to atrocious, booming music; and perhaps some drunken flirting facilitated by a complete lack of long-term planning or awareness of the future. I’ll pass, thanks.

By contrast, and I say this without taking any joy in sounding smug, I think the world is by and large too noisy, too busy, too stupid, too unreflective, too irrational, and almost completely lacking in dignity or self-restraint. If you would rather “par-tay” than parlez, we are likely not on the same wavelength. If you think the world needs far more lecture series, debates, places for intelligent conversation, peace and quiet, and noble reserve instead of zany free-spirited hippie-slut throbbin’ funkiness, you may want what I want, and we will likely greet each other with great relief after too many decades of weary acceptance of this world’s low standards.

Surely there’s a woman out there somewhere who has long been thinking along these same lines — instead of thinking “I just want to stop having to think and plan all the time and go nuts once in a while!” — a woman who suspects that we could rule the world together, or merely be happy together.


Oh, but one last thing — and this is very important. Are you the sort of person who says “yes” when asked to do something with a fella, regardless of whether you actually want to go out, then simply keeps rescheduling instead of definitively and finally canceling the date or saying no? Do you do this despite having attained the age of legal adulthood? Do you tell yourself that you’re nonetheless a moral person — even the hero in life’s little narrative — because, each and every time you rescheduled and feigned enthusiasm for getting together “first thing next week” (or maybe even later that very night if you’re a particularly brazen and skilled actress), you thought, “I’m faced with an awkward moment, so I’ll just keep turning it into a positive one, for the time being, by lying…over and over again! That’s the thing to do!”

I don’t really care if you vow never to do this to me — that isn’t good enough. If you’ve ever done this to anyone — wasting not only your time and the fella’s but the time of all the other people whose schedules were disrupted by your lies, from restaurant staffs dealing with canceled reservations to other people who might have met with the fella on the nights blocked out for your illusory outings — you are, I am afraid, a terrible, selfish fiend of a human being, and I really don’t want you as a friend, let alone a date or girlfriend. Yes, that’s right — you are evil. How does it feel — the evil, I mean? Bet you thought being a Hitler or a Jack the Ripper would feel a lot different than being you. But it doesn’t. You’re living the being-evil experience. Please live it without me, though.

I don’t care if you’ve been declared by numerous glossy magazines to be the most beautiful woman not only of our era but of all time. I don’t care if your intellect is so vastly superior to my own that mere moments of conversation with you would fill me with awe and wonder. You are still, as noted above, an immoral, inconsiderate fiend. I can do better, thanks. And when I say “do better,” I don’t even mean that there’s necessarily a woman on the planet above this sort of time-wasting, juvenile behavior. Maybe there isn’t — but I would still be doing better, you see, by living out the rest of my days alone than by dating you. So please, please — please! — if you lack ethics, stay very, very far away. And while you’re there (far away, that is), think about what went wrong in your upbringing, your genetics, or the culture at large to turn you into the monster you have become. It’s dealing with jerks like you that inspires serial killers and misanthropes, you know. Can you really blame them?

Non-monster lady, on the other hand, if you’re out there, drop me a line. If you’re smart, you know how necessary this personal ad’s various complaints are and won’t be put off by them. If you’re not smart, well, a universe of singles bars and online dating sites awaits you, so go to it, missy, and good luck!

(Or more briefly: 5′9″, 180 lbs., blonde, Brown alum, writer-editor, likes cats and dogs but owns neither. Will not have children. Enjoys philosophy and New Wave music.)

UPDATE 12/23/07: Well, in defiance of the critics — though admittedly with no help from this personal ad — I found a wonderful girlfriend, about whom you can read here, shortly after this ad went up, and though we didn’t quite end up together permanently, I now view this ad as largely a venting of complaints left over from before her time, not necessarily a blueprint for the future — but I still will never have kids (a few things are non-negotiable).

Update 12/31/08: And for later philosophy-meets-romance intrigue, check out the entry in which I unveiled girlfriend Helen Rittelmeyer.

Update summer 2009: And now that’s over, sadly — but I will no longer update this page at all — it’s mainly a joke; no one has ever seriously responded to it as a personal ad and likely never will, but it’s a popular — and to some people’s minds funny! — page on my blog, so it will live on, static and unchanging from here on out, with all apologies to my next girlfriend and/or my wife, who I expect will simply be someone sane, smart, non-“drama”-prone, and resolutely uninterested in having kids. All else is negotiable, as most things should be between calm, flexible adults.

Update fall 2009: OK, Helen’s back — really truly last update ever, come what may.

Seavey Bibliography

Bibliography (of most of the easily-found online Todd Seavey pieces as of 11/25/07), of course.

Numerous pieces on and — the sites I edit at work — including several originally appearing in other venues.

“Fusion Candidate [Ron Paul],” 8/1/07.

“What’s the Greatest Innovation? The Invention of Vaccines,” 5/4/07.

“Which Is Right?” (second letter down), New York Times 3/14/07.

“Hillary Finds Jesus (Jones),” 2/5/07.

“Does Anybody Really Know How to Limit Government?” 11/30/06.

“X-Men vs. Superman: Mutation, Eugenics, and the Politics of Evolution,” 11/8/06.

“Apes of Wrath: Radar Uncovers the Primate Plot to Take Over the World,” 11/7/06.

“Art Deco, Ground Zero,” Reason 9/11/06.

“Enlightening the Future: 2024 (survey),” 9/06.

“‘A’ Is for Anarchist” (in part about V for Vendetta and a little more snide-sounding after editing than my original draft), Wall Street Journal 3/17/06.

“BloodViolet: Perfect Evolution (and the Buried Soul),” (cannibalized, fittingly for a piece about zombies and vampires, from one of the two pieces for The Believer that editor Heidi Julavits, who vaguely promised a kill fee as I recall, had me write and revise, at thousands of words each, then lost interest in using, editing, or exchanging e-mails about; the other piece was about Darwin, so I was alarmed to see one of her fellow editors define The Believer recently as a magazine that isn’t just going to start publishing articles about Darwin because Bush happens to mention him, though I have no idea if she’d seen my piece) 3/11/06.

“When Swing Was Again the Thing,” 10/13/05.

“The Music Men: Innovation and Tradition in New Orleans,” 9/19/05.

“New Orleans in the Past Tense,” 9/12/05.

“The Science of Consistency: On Fictional Universes and the Fans Who Rationalize Them,” from 5/2/05 (perhaps the piece I’ve most enjoyed writing).

“Fun with the Homeless” and “Betting on Blacker,” just two of my disturbing-but-true contributions to 6/21/04, 8/30/04.

“Coercion vs. Consent: Letters” (the second letter down), a pretty succinct explanation of my (perhaps excessive) fusionist tolerance for Bush, and more broadly for right and left disagreements, Reason 6/04.

“Regulation for Dummies: Is the FDA Necessary?” Reason 4/04.

“Women, Lepers, and Jews!” 5/7/03.

“The Killer Fog: When Green Politics Masquerades as Environmental Science,” Reason 4/03.

“The Road to Hellville,” 3/13/04.

“The Axis of Goth,” 3/25/03.

“A Chemical (Over)Reaction,” 1/30/03.

“The Geopolitics of the Ring,” 2/12/02.

“The Potato Whisperer,” Reason 2/02.

“Stern und Drang,” National Review 6/13/94.

(Not online, alas, are the two years worth of bimonthly “A Crazy Man’s Utopia” humor columns I wrote for Reason right after college, in ’92 and ’93, which were a bit unpolished and full of pop-culture tangents but, in my opinion, slightly ahead of their time because of it.)

The covers of issues 5 and 15 of Justice League Adventures, two of the comic book stories I wrote for DC (the other being the short adventure “Progress!” in JLA Showcase) in the early 00s. These were sort of aimed at kids, though left to my own devices, I’d aim for Morrison and Talbot.

“Erogenous Zones,” Reason 3/97.

And you can find still more pieces by searching on- or offline some of the venues (from Chronicles to Spy) listed among my past jobs, not to mention the Psych-o-Babble site and Comic Effect fanzine I left off both lists for one reason or another.

UPDATE: Well, I have rarely updated this site’s five permanent explanatory pages (on Principles, Bibliography, Acquaintances, FAQ, and Work) between its launch in 2007 and 2010 — and may not necessarily even agree with everything I said in them — but an important entry from April 11, 2010 describes a big mid-2010 shift in my activities that at least gives you an idea what the future should look like (NOTE, while I’m at it, that e-mails to this site’s URL do not reach me, or indeed anyone, but you can find my real e-address on this site without too much trouble).

Monday, March 26, 2007

The Woman Behind "The First Man-Made Man"

For historians and those few already keeping track: This post is the first real-time post, the inaugural entry, on this blog visible to the public (the earlier ones were written before today’s unveiling). This is highly fitting, since I am about to head off to see a reading by a woman who was first famous for editing a ’zine — those printed predecessors of blogs, before everyone was online. I told her back in the 90s, when I was working for ABC News, that I somewhat envied the freedom and personal tone of ’zines but felt I’d already missed out on the movement’s heyday. To compensate, I have gotten in right at the start of this whole “blogging” phenomenon, by which I mean within the first decade. (I’ll start posting daily-or-so on April Fool’s Day, prior to which I promise I’ll be working to fix some typos and unfinished links you may have noticed.)

One of the features of this new site I still need to add is the Book Selection of the Month (I’ll review one thought-provoking book per month, tying it in to other works with which it resonates) — and I am pleased to announce that the selection for April will be…The First Man-Made Man by Pagan Kennedy, a fascinating look at the first woman to be transformed into a man by surgery — just one of countless ways technology disrupts tradition, a theme I hope to return to many times on this blog in the months ahead.

And the fascinating and prolific Pagan Kennedy — along with her friends Virginia Vitzthum (who was one of our debaters at Lolita Bar in January) and Lisa Dierbeck — will read tonight at 7pm at Mo Pitkin’s at 34 Ave. A.

(It’s the start of a momentous literary week here in Manhattan that will also see a paperback release party at Bowery Poetry Club at 6pm Thursday for Janice “Girlbomb” Erlbaum’s memoir of teenage homelessness and the release of the latest issue of Elizabeth Koch and Todd Zuniga’s literary journal Opium at 8pm on Saturday at Musical Box at 219 Ave. B.)

UPDATE 4/1/07: I don’t intend to turn this site into a Gawker wannabe thing, but I must say Janice “Girlbomb” Erlbaum turned out an impressive crowd with many familiar (creative) members, including, if you count her brief presence, Elizabeth Koch of Opium. Since it was partly a karaoke party, I dedicated my performance of Roxy Music’s “Virginia Plain” to Virginia Vitzthum, though as I left the stage, Chris Brodeur questioned my decision to do the somewhat obscure song in front of a non-British karaoke audience.

(Brodeur is possibly New York’s most eccentric Green Party activist, though he’s competing with Vox Pop cafe owner Sander Hicks. Brodeur wrote a flatteringly lengthy letter to me when I wrote for New York Press, challenging me to debate him anytime and calling me a “tomatohead,” though he appears to get along with his singer/comedian girlfriend, Jessica Delfino — who did an impressive “What’s Love Got to Do with It?” — just fine. He also got Virginia’s vote for mayor back when he ran for that office, so by the Virginia metric, Brodeur wins. I didn’t vote for him but was amused by his platform, which included such quirky, highly personal agenda items as putting up more clocks in public places because he doesn’t like to wear a watch [it makes his wrist sweat] and replacing mesh-sided trash cans with solid trash cans so that he would no longer have the problem of throwing garbage and accidentally having it go through the side of the can. For a while in the mid-90s, he seemed mainly to be obsessed with blaming then-mayor Giuliani for the NYPD’s failure to find Brodeur’s stolen bicycle. As my friend Scott Nybakken, who was also a New York Press writer back then, put it, Brodeur’s obsession was a bit like Pee-wee Herman’s quest for his lost bike in Pee-wee’s Big Adventure. I think I recall voting for Giuliani and will probably end up voting for him for president next year. [I wonder if the people who are concerned about Giuliani's chances of getting support from religious conservatives know how often he was praised in the pages of New York Press by writer Alan Cabal, a Satanist -- but that is a topic for another time.])

Comedian Michele Carlo nicely offered to keep plugging the monthly Debates at Lolita Bar that I host on the site ToxicPop. Author and party-organizer Janice did a show-stopping “Total Eclipse of the Heart.” And perhaps best of all, “Rev.” Jen Miller agreed to be novelist Katherine Taylor’s opponent in a June 20 debate at Lolita on the question “Is It More Painful to Get Dumped or to Do the Dumping?” (More on that when the time comes.) Rev. Jen, alas, will be able to argue from recent experience for the position that it’s worse to get dumped — but the most recent fella probably wasn’t as much trouble as one of her other exes, video artist Nick Zedd, who I’m told once smashed a bottle over the aforementioned Brodeur’s head, which probably means Zedd didn’t vote for him, either.

My own behavior in bars is, of course, exemplary, though oddly enough I did find myself somewhat at odds with bar staff members two nights in a row in this ostensibly highbrow and literary week just ended, being aggressively hustled out of a booth at the Upper East Side bar Uptown by a belligerent, red-haired young man claiming to be the manager who insisted that a private party was occurring in that part of the bar and that I had no right to be there — and who immediately accused me of lying when I began calmly explaining that I’d been in the booth before the private party began forming in the area around it without any outward indication that it was a private party or that area was off-limits. He not only accused me of lying and claimed (erroneously) to have seen me arrive after the party began but then repeatedly insisted that I sounded “defensive” — which raises the interesting question of what tone one would ascribe to an innocent man who was explaining his innocence.

In any case: Uptown Bar: BOYCOTTED. And, reluctantly, I must also add: Musical Box: BOYCOTTED, much as I enjoyed the Opium gathering there, since the staffer complaining about me placing a wine glass on the pool table that was being used as a merchandise table angrily cut off my attempt at an apologetic explanation that I’d only put the glass down for a second in order to pay the waitress who brought it to me. Apparently, they teach staffers at some bars to be belligerent immediately if anyone tries to speak to them at all, even if the customer is trying to agree with them. Thank goodness for Lolita, not to mention the friendly bartenders at Vasmay a couple blocks north of it. As my friend Chuck Blake has observed, Manhattanites need bars because we have no living rooms (the alcohol is almost irrelevant), so it’s important that some of these places remain civil. (Some of us also need performance spaces and the like, of course.)

Oh, and while I’m at it: Merc Bar: BOYCOTTED. They had a problem years ago when I had a party there with waitresses aggressively and abruptly hustling customers out of tables and slapping down a “Reserved” sign, claiming the table had already been taken (no matter how long the customers already there had been seated), and though my wonderful, warm-hearted friend Reid Mihalko, a bartender there (and founder, oddly enough, of, makes the quieter nights there a joy, the ruthlessness of the waitresses, who seem to have returned to their “Reserved” ways on busier nights, means that quiet, contemplative men from rural New England like myself must seek calmer environs. Or a living room.

P.S. On a totally unrelated literary note, a friend of a friend is editing a book called The Complete Compendium of Imaginary Fights, featuring quasi-experts predicting the winners of fights such as “Large, Balding Woman vs. Small Man with Breasts” and “Metrosexual vs. Eunuch,” so if you are or know such a writer/pseudo-expert, consider contacting JacobKalish[at]

UPDATE 4/3/07: Pagan appears again, tonight (Tue. the 3rd) at KGB Bar, for all interested. (I can’t make it to this one but was honored to be the “slideshow” image-holder onstage at the Mo Pitkin’s reading, drafted at the last minute.)