In a world torn by war, plagued by famine and disease, how popular was the six-minute-or-so clip from C-SPAN2 in which, with admirable frankness and the evenhanded sense of justice for which I am known, I alluded to my ex's penchant for -- and philosophy encouraging -- infidelity and petty cruelty?
Well, one YouTube posting of the clip got about a half-million views -- more popular than some cable networks out there -- and I posted an entry on October 19, 2010 that linked to many articles, some in prestigious venues, eagerly recounting the seemingly-mundane but apparently unC-SPANly incident (after which my blog was down for a couple months while I sorted out whether my clients/employers would mind me attracting attention or not and some related matters, then plotted my new-fangled 2011 media strategy).
One viewer comment under that now-deleted copy of the YouTube clip even contained a very poorly-spelled rhyming rap about the C-SPAN2 panel, concluding that I would not be having sex again and am too stupid to be a conservative, so that fellow may be evidence of the bourgeoning trad/PUA alliance my ex once told me about. With footsoldiers like him, etc.
That earlier blog entry barely scratched the surface of the coverage, though, so, for posterity (or until the links die), here's another round-up of pieces about it:
•Ace of Spades
•The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell on MSNBC apparently took an anti-Todd tack (raising serious moral questions about all involved on that show, but then again, it's NBC). And just imagine the rude things someone might say about the Klan -- possibly even a female Klan member! -- on C-SPAN2 one of these days. MSNBC should cover that, too.
•No one has yet Autotuned the C-SPAN2 bit, so as compensation, I offer this link (pointed out to me by Austin Petersen) to swell -- occasionally even moving -- Autotuned Carl Sagan (with cool Stephen Hawking duet in one) narration from Cosmos, the PBS series that so beautifully captured the wonders of science back in the 80s and no doubt helped me avoid turning into some morally-stunted religious believer, thus helping to make me the kind and tolerant person I am.
•A Boston classic rock station
•Talking Points Memo
•The chronically vicious and insane DC City Paper, as noted in an earlier entry
•Crushable -- this being one of only two or three cases in which someone I sort of know, Meghan Keane, seems to lean anti-Todd -- and given Meghan's blank affect and seeming inability
in person to know when to say "Goodbye" and the like, I can't help wondering whether this might be just a case of an Asperger's sufferer rallying to the side of the more Aspy-seeming person in a conflict, since I find it very hard to believe that any psychologically-normal, thoughtful observer of the conflict -- one who claims to be my friend, and thus presumably knows me well enough not to doubt the serious, disturbing, and perfectly relevant points I was raising about my co-panelist -- would dismiss that whole side of the equation by saying that maybe my co-panelist was mean, but...
Plenty of mean people in the world, Meghan, and you've had years to notice I don't condemn most of them on TV or even in private. You may have to work harder at it than some of us, but try to put the pieces together here. And given that Crushable is in essence a celebrity gossip site -- without even a moral mission like mine -- we are once more faced with an instance of a professional muckraker (like Robert Stacy McCain, noted yesterday) complaining about me reporting dark facts. Gossip, heal thyself.
•The very-cool Mark Gavreau Judge weighed in to note that I am punk rock, and he is a better judge (no pun intended) of this than most, music-savvy and conservative. All the same, maybe I'll let that meme rest at least for now, since the juxtaposition of the C-SPAN2 fracas and the Tea Party-influenced elections have given me hope that we can just talk directly about econ these days without getting bogged down in the sometimes quite insane marshes of conservative cultural analysis. With $14 trillion in debt, the time for indirect approaches may be over. The bar I went to last night, where two libertarian writers organized a party, was serving a special anti-Tea Party shot -- which didn't even involve some clever pun on "shot" -- but I did not buy one.
(The Judge piece was on Daily Caller, by the way, the site that also started the whole viral C-SPAN2 affair by posting the crucial clip -- and it's also the site my co-panelist used to work for, so perhaps she wasn't as well liked there as she thinks. But then, Daily Caller's founder, Tucker Carlson, has foes of his own, and no doubt some thought he was wrong to call for Michael Vick's execution recently. A Tea Partier and vegan who might well get along with Carlson took the subtler approach of urging Vick to go vegan, notes Diana Fleischman, one of my vegan acquaintances.)
•The whole thing was on the front page of Digg for a time.
•The Examiner noted it.
•Bob Bowdon and countless others put it on their Facebook pages, I'm told (I'll sign up soon, I swear).
•Jamie Foehl -- another one of the many hot chicks some of my detractors think I couldn't possibly date yet did -- was nice enough to praise me on her blog after the craziness began. Ironically, she now dwells in the same yuppie and Northeastern-feeling area of North Carolina whence hails my co-panelist, despite my co-panelist's frequent attempts to blame her own eccentricities on an alien, rural, old-fashioned, backwoods way of life we city folk don't appreciate, at least while sober.
•Georgetown Voice (thanks for having us, kids!)
•It was the top Google News hit for just-plain "C-SPAN" for a while.
•It was the top Google News hit for "libertarian" for a while -- no need to thank me, movement.
•Roissy (a.k.a. Citizen Renegade), one of the PUA leaders (but more about their kind on Saturday)
•You can sense poor Jonah caught between a rock and a hard place here diplomacy-wise (my co-panelist copyedits NR's Corner and his e-newsletter, after all), and he amusingly punted to what was briefly New York's new favorite weird-political-slogan. (A later Corner reader comment briefly alluded to the C-SPAN2 event when reacting to Anita Hill receiving a terse phonecall from Clarence Thomas's wife: "I think Todd Seavey should weigh in on this situation.")
•Newsweek's hardcopy edition actually covered it -- naming me but not my co-panelist, which is perhaps as it should be, though that mutes my warning to the world somewhat. (One other Newsweek thought coming up on Friday.)
•NPR covered it and got a few things wrong (but more about those socialists in a few days).
•In a mind-bending bit of time-warpery, the Christian blog Patum Peperium suggested that the solution to the whole conflict would have been "Someone Somewhere Give Helen Rittelmeyer a Copy of Dawn Eden's Book," perhaps not realizing how right that is, given that Chapter 18 of Dawn's Thrill of the Chaste is literally a warning not to date me (a.k.a. "Tom," Dawn's atheist ex), but Dawn and I, it's worth noting, remain on good terms despite our philosophical differences whereas I don't think the two of them would get along so well -- despite the fact that Helen was among those who invited Dawn to speak at Yale years ago.
Dawn doesn't just talk the talk, she (now) walks the walk, and I admire her consistency even if I do not share her beliefs. Helen is a de facto Satanist (but more about her thinking on the 23rd, lest I oversimplify) -- and that reminds me that I once went on a date with a(nother) Catholic woman who decided right off the bat that my atheism meant we shouldn't date -- which was fine with me, but when I asked what the last guy with whom she'd felt compatible believed, she said he was a Satanist (well, you have to admit they were operating with some of the same philosophical assumptions in a way that I was not). He'd also been an anarchist, she said, at which point I actually started to wonder if maybe it was someone I knew, which tells you something about my social circles...
Anyway, thin line between Catholicism and Satanism, I increasingly think. And just in case anyone reading this thinks that by that comment I mean Protestantism is sane: I do not. It's just less like Satanism. Still less Satanic, though: Hinduism. Shinto. Zeus worship. But then, I would urge abandoning all such beliefs. You know why? Because they aren't true, that's why. How else does one pick beliefs, after all?
Christine Caldwell Ames, herself a historian with vast knowledge of the Catholic Church's history, notes that a reader comment in the Patum Peperium thread below that article is yet another trippy reminder that the same themes keep recurring (given that Christine and I had earlier discussed Helen's resemblance in some ways to Patricia Highsmith). That reader comment was: "So, Todd Seavey wrote for the Justice League, just as Patricia Highsmith wrote for Batman. It's all coming together for me." There's some ninth-dimensional perspective from which all these things fit together with obvious ease, of course. Like Flatlanders, we will just have to work with the edges and pieces.
(Batman would hate Helen, by the way. Batman hates evil. God loves everyone no matter what, which is why some people don't make much of an effort. I should debate this dichotomy with Rabbi Shmuley Boteach or someone.)
•My new fashion advisor, Elizabeth Cochran, was the one who pointed out to me that the Hollywood gossip site Perez Hilton covered the C-SPAN2 thing, and I seemed to get more positive comments there, largely from males, which I think may be a gay thing, not that there's anything wrong with that, and I appreciate the support. Let us not morally judge based solely on aesthetics, though, especially not without better lighting.
•Meredith Kapushion, funny editor of PiecesOfFlair, reminded everyone that that site still sells Todd Seavey mugs and t-shirts (though not precisely the "Team Todd" t-shirts that some of my supporters wanted to see). Someone has to.
•One letter in reaction to the Salon piece on it all was a typically-stupid reminder that some half-wits saw my comments as "out of control," which is interesting considering that they were carefully measured, apt, circumspect about the truly off-topic horrors I could have discussed, calm (any calmer and it wouldn't even count as television), funny despite the gravity of the issues raised, delivered without even any grammatical errors, and just one slice of a civil ninety-minute political discussion. But, hey, who needs context before weighing in? Not the Internets, surely.
I would like to see some of these comment thread bozos deliver as articulate a five-minute dissection of the ex sitting next to them -- especially while "out of control," if they think that was my state of mind. Maybe they're all jealous. Or the whole country's simply amoral, which is another disturbing possibility. Next, let's judge the Lincoln-Douglas debate by whether Lincoln sounded "bent out of shape" over this slavery thing, why don't we? Lincoln, that dweeb. He needs to learn how to work sunglasses, dude.
•Kyle Smith's view of it all: "Todd’s a deeply honorable man, and a brilliant one."
•Andrew Sullivan made no judgments, which I think is interesting, given his respectful past sparring with Helen. Beats mockery, I suppose.
•A tweet by comedian Patton Oswalt of all people: "The trainwreck begins at the 3:55 mark and DOESN'T STOP: http://bit.ly/a6Re3v."
•U.S. News & World Report
•Washington Post a second time (they were mistaken in implying I was hiding by taking the blog down, incidentally -- various professional wheels in motion at the time, now all sorted out)
•The Yale Daily News managed to omit my one crucial example of how dark the ex's actions are while making it sound as if I’m afraid of philosophical debate. Yeah, that’s me, obviously: afraid of arguments and eccentrics. Almost never seen in public in New York City for the past two decades because of it. But I really quaked with fright each time I beheld the Party of the Right debates in New Haven and, as my neighbors know, routinely wake up screaming. Good thing I've never tried hosting a debate series of my own.
And after that massive public "intervention," as in effect it was, here's sincerely hoping, as I've said before, that she straightens out and flies right (the intellect is capable, the will is odd). I do what I can to make this world a better place, always. Tomorrow: some more-personalized reactions to my efforts.