The contestants in the back of the roving trivia cab (whose appearance aired once before, though I missed it then) will be my friends Michael Malice and Tibbie “X” Westerdale, who long-time fans will remember as, among many other claims to fame, the plaintiff and plaintiff’s advisor who accused me of dressing too nerdily, on another TV show, the Style Channel’s Style Court (I was found “not guilty” for reasons of self-expression, despite wearing an especially nerdy ensemble that included my rarely-worn glasses and Marx Brothers necktie — Malice and I worked in as many references to things we actually care about more than fashion as possible, including libertarianism and science).
Tibbie, incidentally, is tentatively slated to be one of the combatants in the August 1 (8pm) presentation of our Debates at Lolita Bar, on the question “Is Gentrification Good?” She was also the defender of punk (in her capacity at the time as lead singer of the X-Possibles) in a debate there, back before the Seavey/Evanchik era, on the question (which may sound hairsplitting to some philistines) of which is better, punk or New Wave, the only debate we had had at the time that ended in a tie, and the only one in which I (back then a humble audience member) abstained from voting at the end of the debate (Tibbie now has a new band, Kissy Kamikaze, which includes among its members Suzy Hotrod from Gotham Girls Roller Derby, the league founded by the same man who co-founded our debate series, Lefty Leibowitz).
Tibbie made a good case for punk having a stronger sense of community, but her opponent Michael Grace, then of the New Wave band My Favorite, made the most poetic argument I’ve ever heard at Lolita Bar when he said that to capture the feeling of aggression, such as the one you’d get from punching someone in the face on St. Mark’s Place, you need punk, but to express something more subtle, like the sense of dislocation you get staring at a neon sign in Chinatown, you need New Wave. Indeed.
But to get back to Nietzsche: it’s ironic that I’d end up helping to answer a question related to that philosopher to help Malice win money, for two reasons: (a) Malice is fascinated by extremist philosophers and might have been expected to know this one cold, and (b) the big philosophical tension I wrestled with in my first two years as an undergrad (when not wrestling with the aforementioned, somewhat similar punk/New Wave question) was how to reconcile the powerful insights of Nietzsche with the need to maintain an orderly world of commerce and ethics like that counseled by utilitarianism (actual answer: libertarian individualism) — and now my knowing about Nietzsche yields Malice and Tibbie cold, hard cash, so it all fits together after all, see?
UPDATE 6/12/07: It didn’t air when I expected (they’ve recently reorganized the Cash Cab schedule, which may have had something to do with it), but here’s an under-two-minutes clip from the episode, of Malice, under the gun, listing lots of popular “politicos” (as the header on the clip calls them, over among the clips on the right-hand side, at least as I type this).
UPDATE 10/1/07: OK, at long last the whole segment, including Seavey references, can be found linked within this entry, as of this update.