I would be fascinated to hear some of the people who reacted in an anti-Todd way to my C-SPAN2 appearance attempt to explain themselves, except I don't think most of them can (also, I was lying -- I don't want to hear from them anymore, despite this being a final look back I've dubbed a "Month of Haters" on this blog).
Again, I would contend that if you watch a good man cautiously -- and quite circumspectly -- criticize an evil woman who presents as an old-fashioned moralist but isn't, and your reaction is to become so enraged at the male that you come to nigh-hallucinatory erroneous conclusions about the man's popularity on the dating scene or even feel compelled to e-mail him -- calling him rude even while heaping on the obscenities yourself -- there is something profoundly wrong with you, morally and rationally.
I recall one nice commenter, during an earlier online dust-up of which I was a part (also involving Jonah Goldberg, come to think of it, and a really bottom-of-the-barrel lefty-vitriol site called SadlyNo), saying that he occasionally tries asking savage online commenters to talk about their upbringings -- and thereby frequently elicits incredible tales of abuse and neglect from many commenters in a single thread, so (project for psychology grad students!) maybe angry online commenters are disproportionately psychologically-damaged youth (and adult survivors of youthful abuse), finally possessed of a safe space in which to strike back at whichever target of the day happens to pass in front of them. I don't know.
I do know I got one or two e-mails like one from a Tony Edwards who seems fairly articulate -- enough to call me "churlish" rather than, say, "a dickwad," for example -- yet who felt so incensed about the issue that he had to close with "Todd, please know that I mean this in the nicest possible way, but you're an asshole. Go fuck yourself."
And most of his e-mail was complaining about the fact that my blog was down, so he couldn't post comments. No big deal from my perspective, you might think, and yet -- why would someone care so much about posting comments on the site of someone he thinks is an asshole -- and over an incident about which the person likely knows so little? Am I going to have to lower my opinion of the whole human race yet again and conclude that many of them are just pointlessly combative sadists with far too much time on their hands? Good news for Helen if so, as such people are fertile recruiting material from which to cull her supporters, if past trends hold.
Luckily, though, I got far more supportive e-mail, especially from people familiar with the two principals in the conflict, and they were more prone to use phrases such as the following (each from a different individual, none of them, I trust, identifiable here):
•"Just wanted to say that I loved your C-SPAN performance, and I was sad to hear that you're quitting Lolita, and I hope you put the blog back up when this blows over."
•"Not getting too much shit for the C-Span thing, I hope...Let me know if you want to grab a drink next week or week after. And, when you get a moment, how do I get into your blog now?"
•"[W]hen will your new TV show start airing? Saw that viral hit of yours!"
•"[I]t was good television."
•"My goodness -- interview requests? Wow, this IS snowballing. I have not heard the feedback from other 'news' outlets -- but the comments on Perez lead me to believe that many are holding you up as the hero. And I do think that Helen will be the one hard pressed for a date."
•"Boy, you let her have it -- awesome."
•"I think you're the cat's pajamas...I am sure you'll come out on top."
•"[I]t was a good calling of bullshit on Helen since, you know, restrained verbal criticism of behavior is about 10 steps removed from the bar brawl conflict she says she wants but probably wouldn't actually enjoy if it came to pass." [Editor's note: I would have said "12 steps."]
•"I'm rooting for you."
•"In the wake of C-SPAN (OK, C-SPAN 2), how many appearances do you need to make the on-camera jump?"
•"I'm glad to see that a few well-deserved critical words on CSPAN have led to new career opportunities, as well as the glorious thrill of victory. Congratulations."
•"Todd, I must say that was one of most brilliant takedowns I've ever seen."
•"[S]ometimes it's important to tell the truth about bad people."
•"My roomate and I watched it on YouTube last night! Well done."
•"I just saw the video of you tearing a new asshole in that dirty tramp. I was on my feet, cheering."
•"Saw your fascinating take-down of Helen. That took some balls."
•"WOW. You fucking did it."
•"One friend of mine asked if you were single! I told her about your personal ad." [Editor's note: New joke personals ad on the way soon -- never gotten lonely enough long enough to need a real one in the past, by the way.]
•"I thought you were very subdued. Helen, though? Yeesh, Todd, you can do (and have done) SO much better than that."
•"Who knew C-SPAN2 could be so interesting! Will definitely tune in next time. We'll show up to the next shin dig."
•"You have tons of friends who love you...You were very funny and eloquent."
•"I'm going out on a limb here to tell you that this girl is not worth your trouble. You've got incredible gravitas."
•"Dude, that was UNBELIEVABLE." [Editor's note: I find it amusing that that one, presented here in its entirety, was one of the many that came from professional writers.]
•"You remain my hero, C-SPAN boy."
•"I got my Newsweek today with you in it. I hope you get at least one book deal out of this!"
•"Your tone was perfect...you mentioned ur relationship with Helen as a point of fact but then u remained on topic and didn’t seem angry, u were just exposing the contradictions in her arguments. Oh, and god forbid we should make C-Span entertaining once in awhile."
•"I thought you were great, by the way. Way to seize the moment."
•"Often women get away with evil and malicious behavior while if men did these same things they would be excoriated when they became known."
•"It was odd reading the typically idiotic YouTube comments knowing the subjects...Bravo, my brave soldier!!"
•"My guess is she has gotten off too lightly for a lot of the rotten shit she's pulled in her life and this is a bit of karmic comeuppance. You'll be getting lots of hate-o-grams as to your 'nerdiness' and/or 'douchebaggery' over the coming days...Anything negative or insulting will only be coming from people who are far too miserable to be introspective and fix their own flaws, and want to drag you down to their whiny, self-hating party."
•"[Your fan club] is proud of you...Fine work!"
•"I think your rant is fabulous. You and your words! You are still my eloquent hero!"
•"I've just watched the whole thing, and you come off very well."
•"If more people had stood up to Lillian Hellman sooner, the world would have been a better place."
Well, you get the idea. But tomorrow and the next day, respectively: the reactions of Newsweek and the PUA guys.
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