Sunday, January 23, 2011

Helen Rittelmeyer

[This entry was about that ex of mine from the CSPAN2 appearance, but it’s been a few years, I think she’s not only moved to Australia, gotten married, and matured but grown a bit more libertarian in the process to boot, so don’t waste any more time reading my comments about that old conflict. Read her more recent work if you like, and, our differences notwithstanding, I’m sure it’ll be smart and witty.]


gerard said...

I once spent a day in a maximum-security women's prison (for journalistic purposes).

How was it? My mother worked as a corrections officer at a men's prison upstate for approximately half a year back in the '70s. Based upon her description, the experience sounded like dwelling in one of the less appealing circles of Hell.

Gerard said...

Technically speaking, Stalin's foes were the kulaks-or perhaps the Mensheviks. I don't think Russian society ever developed to the point where a bourgeoisie existed.

Phalluster said...

Lots of angry words about a woman. I stopped reading when you said Hitler was wrong. You seem to allude to some personal position that jews are not the scourge of the earth, so I quickly decided to close this browser tab (after leaving you this comment).

Ed said...

Why is it that Helen Rittlemeyer claims to be a conservative, but virtually all of her positions seem to lean leftward? Pro-union, likes Camile Paglia, sympathetic to bloated bureaucracy, no real support for most of the traditional positions regarding sexuality morality, etc.

Also, if one wants to increase suffering, one ought to support universal health care due to the fact that is most assuredly more inefficient and inept than the alternative. Apparently, she must buy the liberal/socialist premise that govt healthcare really would be better overall, but conservatives and libertarians oppose it just out of spite.

Todd Seavey said...

Funny you should ask today. Helen moved back to North Carolina yesterday after two years here in NYC working at National Review. Over a year after our notorious C-SPAN2 appearance, we managed, I think, to bury the hatchet before she left, so rather than further criticize -- or hypocritically defend -- all her views, I'll just seize this opportunity to say, as objectively as I can, that the issues she really cares about are orthogonal to the ones that most liberals and conservatives argue about, revolving less around things like tax levels and precise traditions than around Nietzschen-meets-Catholic notions of willingness to endure suffering and strive for greatness. A bit TR but without really touching directly on anything as earthly and policy-oriented as his notions regarding the size of government (in much the same way that Paglia is not best understood by asking her specific policy preferences).

More disturbingly, her notions about loyalty, friendship, and the nature of a good romance (mainly: combative) are fairly unusual as well. But she's still young, still maturing, and I'm guessing, will likely emerge from some North Carolina downtime a happier and less dangerous person (philosophically and psychologically).

The crux may be this: while bourgeois folk like me worry about avoiding doing anyone harm -- and want the government to avoid harming the economy (while disagreeing with more conventional conservatives about whether religion is necessary to make people kind) -- Helen is, or at least was, convinced (as she came of age amidst combative and competitive college political pals) that combativeness is the spice of life. To the extent, then, that conservatism encouraged aggression, fighting, partisanship, she liked it. So much so that even diplomacy and compromise and kindness itself began to seem like liberal cowardice.

Any boxer or Viking can sort of appreciate that. You just wouldn't have predicted how much orneriness, rage, and even admiration for violence was lurking under the little church-lady exterior, so it was sort of unsettling false advertising.

But, hey, she says she's making stronger efforts to be nice to people, is likely to vote for medical-marijuana-promoting Gary Johnson, found her brief encounter with some Occupy Wall Street types reason enough to be wary of left-wing and pro-union politics, and admits the orneriness can be a cover for plain-old social awkwardness. So instead of fearing her conquest of the world, I'll go back to predicting she conquers it and just keep my fingers crossed that she's nice to it once she does so.

And, since she might well emerge having rethought things, from here on out, your observations and conclusions are likely to be as informed as mine. I will err on the side of optimism about what she does next instead of dwelling on the darker bits of the past.

And, as I will discuss further on the blog starting this coming Thursday (Groundhog Day), my new goal -- including at the Williamsburg bar events I'll be unveiling -- is to make the world safe for radicalism and diplomacy at the same time, so it wouldn't wise for me to hold grudges forever or dismiss people's efforts to improve. Humanity is still working out ways to clash without damaging each other, I suppose.

Anonymous said...

Well, I missed your response up until now! I wrongly and unfairly assumed that that an author would not reply to a comment on a post this old.

In any case, thank you for your clarification. Despite your well-explained description of her views, I suspect that Miss Rittlemeyer misunderstands conservatism on a rather fundamental level. The most glaring part of this is her seeming acceptance of the liberal claim that their vision of society would be objectively better. Apparently, she thinks conservatism has merit, despite being objectively worse, because it creates a bad society, which permits the character tests she adores so much.

In addition to the round-about and confused nature of this, it is also profoundly unconservative in essence. I, at least, have always thought that conservatives must abide by Aristotle's notion that good things are defined as good in themselves, and not good because they are good for some purpose. Perhaps without realizing it, she has introduced this utilitarian element into her thought.

Far too many conservatives of an intellectual bent get caught up trying to live some fantasy out of an Evelyn Waugh story. It tends toward posturing wherein they conceive of their "genius" as putting them above worrying about the humdrum reality of day-to-day things like policy, or even having a coherent and internally consistent and philosophic outlook.

Todd Seavey said...

Yeah, I am left a bit curious how long the Waugh/posturing thing has been a significant element of conservatism. Of course, the easy leftist answer would be "always" or "ever since Buckley," but I feel as though I didn't really encounter this until the past four years despite spending twenty in contact with conservatives and libertarians -- though perhaps I just didn't spend enough time around Yale, Catholics, or the young. One conservative writer a bit younger than I thinks there was a palpable increase in Catholicism and theatricality in right-wing circles in recent years -- around the same time other segments of the culture discovered steampunk, really.

A subconscious reaction to the tackiness of reality TV? Subcultural reinforcement from the Web? The popularity of _Mad Men_ or some other period piece that I missed? Not sure what did it, if I'm even right it increased.

It is a great formula for people who want to seem daring while being detached from most earthy, current disputes, though -- like spending of all one's time at Renaissance fair(e)s. Not without charm but probably better suited for an era with fewer urgent real problems.

Ed said...

Yes, that's true in large part. While I am not Catholic, I am Christian am broadly sympathetic to the RC Church. I don't know what it is exactly, but for those who like affect archaism, Catholicism really does have an appeal. I would hazard a guess that it is because it is more appealing on aesthetic grounds than most other Christian branches in the contemporary US. This, however, I suspect, leads to some converts who misunderstand the spiritual substance of the faith.

It is the same basic type of outlook that brings about those righties who don't really "get" their own purported value system. For them, it's an attitude or a fashion; just a face to present to the world or a form of self-identification like your taste in books or movies.

Waugh, T.S. Eliot & figures like them at least were the real deal-they did have a form of conservatism (English royalism, whatever). They really did believe in it and weren't trying to look cool by turning their noses up at modernity or seem chic by smoking non-filtered cigarettes.

As you say, the "Jeeves and Wooster", or Brideshead Revisted schools of conservatism are not so different from the Renaissance Fair Crowd. It's just that it seems brainer and less "geeky" than types. At least most of the Renaissance Fair people probably stop acting once they get some.

Also, playing at being an elitist might have its pleasures if you're in an academic environment and want to spite the Marxists, post-modernists, deconstructionists, post-colonial theorists, et al. My own university was so thoroughly lefty I didn't quite oppose these currents of thought. It wasn't that I lacked the courage, but I knew that because I was the odd man out, I'd constantly be on the defensive and would be singled out in an attempt to make me the collective punching bag. Rather than make like you supported leftism in earnest, most profs and the main of the student body were content if one didn't overtly oppose it. Anyone with half a brain knew their grades would suffer as well.

Ed said...

Yikes, some bad typos in the above. "get some" should read "get home", but arguably, both MIGHT apply.

There are some others in there, but I figure the post makes sense even without correcting them.

Anonymous said...

Three comments:

"Red Eye" is always on at 3 am; that is its air time.

Unitarians, not UCC, are the most left-leaning Christian denomination.

That you left out the "be" in the sentence "nothing could further from the truth." is very telling. Telling because it's a significant emotional refusal on your part, but you happened to mistype. telling indeed.

Helen is a wonderful person and how would you feel if someone broke up with your sister and blogged such hate about it? This is madness.

Todd Seavey said...

I would love to know where you think you got the "wonderful person" information -- but since she is, by her own admission, _now_ striving to be nice to people for the first time in her life (after long having -- and, believe me, acting upon -- a secret but conscious philosophy of sadism), I wish her the best.

If I had a sister and she had at one time held views -- and engaged in behaviors -- as dark as Helen's, I would have denounced that sister myself, and anyone who attacked _victims_ of that sister or defended her would be _profoundly_ morally confused.

But out of mercy, I will not encourage you to reveal what you think your evidence is, since I have no wish to dwell further on Helen's past wrongdoing.

Anonymous said...

No, with sisters no one comes between you. Anyone who insults my sister, fuck them. That's the way it is.

The fact that you don't see that basic human truth is also telling.

You don't owe me mercy. Be as mean as you like. I can take it. Maybe I'll even return it to you. Unless you only like to give it out? I'm ready when you are.

Todd Seavey said...

No, I meant mercy toward her. You I presumably do not even know.

Anonymous said...

Call that answer "The Wife-Beater calls it a day."

Just as I'd suspect from a loser like you.

Anonymous said...

By the way, the nice person information is seriously insulting. You are no counterculturalist. Drop dead.

The Contrarian Expatriate said...


I get the impression that you simply overlooked a personality disorder like narcissistic PD or antisocial PD in Helen before falling for her. Have you ever read up on how she typifies those who suffer from Cluster B PD's?

Also, I suggest you read Esther Vilar's "The Manipulated Man" to get a sense of the hidden dynamic between men and women. Helen seemingly was not good in hiding that at which most women excel.

Finally, come visit us MGTOW and peruse the forum. We explore these issues that you seem to be perplexed about:

Todd Seavey said...

Oh, fear not. She now admits to some problems along those lines and claims to be trying to clean up her act (given her relative youth, I will cautiously predict she succeeds).

And, luckily, I am not inclined to seek out such dilemmas -- and will be _both_ more cautious and more understanding in the future -- but she's very smart and thus had a much larger and more philosophical arsenal of rationales than the average lady (as much self-defense as aggression). I'd rather not go into too much detail, though, since so many people already figure I've said more than enough on that topic.

On a closely related note, though, I _will_ interview another, earlier ex -- who is, like Helen, a convert to Catholicism -- namely Dawn Eden, live onstage at Muchmore's Bar (2 Havemeyer St. in Williamsburg) about her own claims to have been aided by religion in coping with psychological trauma (the topic of her second book).

I shall be both diplomatic and at least mildly skeptical, as I normally strive to be.

(And _most_ of my exes are very different, in case you were wondering. I wish every one of them well. But then, I'm a utilitarian.)

Todd Seavey said...

Oh, Dawn and I are at Muchmore's Thur., June 21 (8pm), 2012, I meant to say.

Austin Bramwell said...

Helen is a bright girl but not nearly that interesting. If I had a dollar for every Catholic nihilist I knew at Yale I'd have... well, at least $30. The basic syllogism of the Catholic nihilist is unbelievably sophomoric: 1. You can be successfully browbeaten by your friends out of any belief; 2. The knowledge that none of your beliefs is stable must inspire with existential despair; 3. The only way out of is to do sufficient violence to your reason as to embrace the magisterial teachings of the Catholic church. Again, utterly sophomotic. But when you're just a kid and all your friends are into it, it sounds exactly right.

Todd Seavey said...

And she almost verbatim now admits it was a fun, decadent philosophy for college but probably best left behind in the adult world (unlike me, she's still fairly young). I suppose you could say it must have had some attraction for me, at a degree removed, even if I was also horrified (like a naive bourgeois Lovecraft narrator), so I should be forgiving and, as always, strive to be understanding.

On a vaguely related note, this Thursday, June 21 (8pm) sees me interviewing the (by some measures) more conventional Catholic convert Dawn Eden (also a Todd ex) onstage at our monthly Dionysium event (sort of a variety show/political debate) at Muchmore's Bar at 2 Havemeyer St. (get off at Bedford Ave., the very first subway stop into Williamsburg if you take the L at 14th St., and walk three blocks east of Bedford).

All are welcome, and some people from _First Things_ and the like are expected to attend. (We'll also have a comedian and a musician, Hannah Meyers, who's engaged to a former _National Review_ managing editor -- small world.)

Anonymous said...

Shit, bro. You need to man up and mature. It seems that whatever issues Helen has, yours are a lot worse and honestly, you should seek help for them.

Dan's Test Blog said...

I don't know what the hell any of you are talking about. I suggest you get drunk and forget her.

Anonymous said...

Ignore the haters, on the reddit post about that video of you slamming that sociopathic ugly mole there were a fair few of her friends making multiple accounts to try and defend her. That always happens in these situations, it's known as white knighting and is thoroughly amusing.

Clearly this woman suffers from mental health issues, but she is well aware of them and unrepentant. Her ideologies border on fascism, she's overtly racist, sexist, and filled with hate.

The worst part is because she is female she can easily manipulate men to do her bidding by fluttering her eyelashes, which she has also admitted she enjoys doing for sport.

Her ivy league background is laughable, her only achievements are those one would expect from a first year, and at every chance she gets she tries to bring up where she studied, rather than what she has achieved. Standing on the shoulders of giants without attempting to achieve anything functional for herself is a sad, sad habit exhibited by sociopaths.

The people around her need to be made aware of her parasitic psychotic ways, so I have taken it upon myself to make sure that her details and more horrific quotes are made immortal on the internet. I happen to work in SEO/WPR so making sure every future friend, employer, boyfriend, or colleague finds the truth about her ranked #1 when googling her name is very easy for me.

Please reply to this post with an email address I can contact you on. We ought to get a group of people together to work on this project and expose this evil cunt for what she is. Her racist remarks regarding slavery rubbed me up the wrong way, and I'm pretty sure I know of a group of folks who will quite happily go out of their way to ensure that her ability to live any semblance of a public life will come to an end, like she rightly deserves.

If you're reading this Adolf Ritler, know that your time is up. Your unrepentant big trapping mouth has come to the attention of people who can ensure that you go down, and now is the time for you to reap what you have so wilfully sowed.



Todd Seavey said...

I'm not sure why this is coming up again now -- and I hate to derail your project -- but all this was two years ago, and in fact she's long since vowed to moderate and reevaluate. And though I was pessimistic at the time, I think she's young and malleable enough to pull it off.

She has since moved out of the country and made a fresh start, so if you really sympathize with me -- and I thank you for it -- I'd say consider this case closed (or at least no longer as readily publicly judged, pending hypothetical future developments), and move on to maybe blogging about the broader (and more high-road) question of how to encourage empathy in people in general.

Anonymous said...

All I can say is - as a woman- if you wanna get laid in the future, get your date to read up on this whole thing and watch that CSPAN "public spilling of hearts" first. I've never seen someone diss an ex with so many words. Bad breakup methinks. Come on, man up, move on, get another girl, have a beer or two, tout se passe.

Todd Seavey said...

And I'd recommend that before you tell people to "move on" you take note of the fact you're commenting on an item from 2010. Things don't start existing only when _you_ notice them, hard as this may be for you to believe.

Anonymous said...

Fascinating read. Lack of empathy--the hallmark of several personality disorders--is the first thing that occurred to me.

Anonymous said...

I think it's time you take this post down. Even if your anger is justified towards HR, it's simply not right to try to publicly damage someone's reputation in this way. If you wish to attack her ideas, do that - don't try to prove to the entire world that she is a terrible person, and then act as though you've forgiven her at the same time. The internet has given too much power to people who want to act this way.

Todd Seavey said...

Well, an even broader cyber-housecleaning is imminent if all goes as planned, if that makes you feel better.

Jerky LeBoeuf said...

It seems to me as though Helen is suffering from what I have always called "Come Now Dear Boyism", but which others are now beginning to call NeoReaction and/or Dark Enlightenment Reaction. Basically it's a tweedy kind of aesthete's Fascism LiteTM. And it's just as disgusting as that sounds. Google the terms for a taste of bile. Actually it seems to me like a couple of Dark Enlightenment f(v)olk have already commented on this story, Todd...

Todd Seavey said...

I hope to clean up the site a bit and likely replace all this with a happier, shorter update soon, but I'm pleased you got your comment in under the wire, Jerky, because it sounds like you've given names to a couple cultural trends that were indeed relevant here and that will have to be kept carefully monitored.

Luckily, on a more personal level, it sounds like Helen has made an effort to move away from darkness a bit -- I'm not here revealing anything she hasn't already tweeted by saying she's been to AA, has lamented some of her past behavior, and has settled down and gotten engaged, so I don't want to dwell on the errors of youth any more than I already have. She'll likely accomplish good, impressive things in the future and remains brilliant even when she's being difficult.

I hope there won't be too many other (up and coming) troubled souls drawn toward that gothy, pseudo-Victorian way of rationalizing the irrational, though -- and that if there are, someone will push back against it who is not quite as rattled and taken off-guard as I, in my very Enlightenment-style bourgeois robot-loving naivete, perhaps was. (I basically reacted like a guy who stumbled on a vampire coven -- though that is not _completely_ unfair of me.)

Ironically, hardcore traditionalism could turn out to be just a fad, though. Problems like anger and interpersonal conflict, by contrast, are eternal.

P.S. On boring, pragmatic note that the pseudo-Victorians would probably consider hopelessly devoid of nuance, it would be nice for the rest of us to have a handy list of which neo-Victorians will be nice to you and which delight in being secret jerks (long story short). Normal people need to navigate this world, too, after all.

Anonymous said...

Wow...just, wow. Funny how the comments span over two years, and I still see/hear/read the contempt. Helen is, deep-down, a good person. Despite all of her short-comings and perceived mental issues (that made me laugh as you clearly don't understand the environment from which she hails, as a whole) she is much like the rest of young folks today, trying to make her way. No one said it was acceptable in most social circles, but she has certainly managed to garner some attention from it, which means, she wins.

Anonymous said...

Its amazing you can drag this for a long time. What moral compass do you have to stand on and continually point the finger? Do you think yourself as a reincarnation of a moral compass? Who set you to be judge and jury? One would expect another human to reflect and better themselves? Do you think you are a reflection of a better human being? or just a scorned ex who is hell bent on hiding your own past boxing matches? Talk about trying to hide ones own imperfectionism. Have a good look in the mirror. Ever heard of reflection and staying silent with relationships from the past? You are a fine example of a dumb arsed man. You may try and hide behind your words. But you are a bonafied wanker for all to see.

Todd Seavey said...

You really need to try to put this behind you.

Anonymous said...

Hah, what a creeper you are. Just saw the CSPAN video, funny stuff.

Anonymous said...

Clearly you did a horrible job at banging this woman.