If you would have tuned in to the C-SPAN2 discussion of Jonah Goldberg's new book Proud to be Right, odds are that you might have thought you were watching a counseling session rather than a book discussion.
The Daily Caller explains:
It turns out panelists Todd Seavey and Helen Rittelmeyer, both contributors to Goldberg’s collection of essays by the next generation of conservatives, had dated at some point before appearing on this panel together. Seavey clearly had some unresolved issues with the break-up and decided to take them out on Rittelmeyer during the event, which was being televised on CSPAN2. The result is the wonkiest, nerdiest Internet revenge ever.
Revenge begins at about 1:45 below:
Partial transcript thanks to the DC:
Seavey: “I think you’ll find a lot of Helen’s positions are guided by the desire to increase suffering.”
Rittelmeyer: “I’m Catholic.”
Seavey: “That might explain it. Although, you start connecting the dots and you realize that, though she sounds like an old-timey, old-fashioned Catholic moralist, she’s almost always defending something that most of us you find horrific, whether it’s corrupt politicians over reformers, bar brawlers. She’ll defend Catholic moralists one moment, but defend prostitutes and bad girls the next.
She says she’s sort of like a libertarian, but the first thing she wants to repeal, she once said, was the law against assault, so that men get into more fistfights or at least live under the threat of constant fistfights…
I probably should confess that Helen and I dated for two years, so we’ve sparred about many things. It might come as a surprise to some of you that we dated for two years, not just because we have ideological differences, but because there are probably some people in this room who also dated Helen during those two years, given how tumultuous it got. It was sort of on again, off again.
Rittelmeyer: “I’m in favor of combativeness.”
Seavey: “And, at at times her gamesmanship would include even coldly saying that she was gonna play matchmaker and set up a couple and then seduce the man away to play with his mind and hurt the woman, which when you think about it is pretty creepy. Kinda disturbing.
Rittelmeyer: “Is all this going on CSPAN?”
Seavey: “I believe five months later, she made good on this somewhat disturbing promise.”
Jonah Goldberg: “Okaaaay.”
Daily Caller writer Mary Katharine Ham was able to get e-mail responses from the feuding ex-couple.
I wish I could say it was all a plan hatched by our new-media consultant, who told us we had to “think outside the box” to make our C-Span panel “go viral,” but no, it is exactly what it looks like.
As a matter of policy, I don’t comment on my personal life in public, but I will clarify that his tirade thoroughly mischaracterizes my political views. For instance, I do not believe that laws against assault should be repealed — nor do I think there should be an exception in cases when one’s ex-boyfriend behaves unacceptably on national television, though I admit that’s a tougher question. Nor do I oppose Obamacare for the contorted reason he states — I oppose it for the usual reasons.
Was Helen just lying when she previously said she wanted to legalize assault and opposed Obamacare because the state shouldn’t ameliorate suffering? It’s entirely possible. Helen often lies (and as she well knows can always plead “irony” if someone catches her, which is why her favorite Catholic is Oscar Wilde — or so she says, anyway). I’m not going to waste any more time trying to sort it out, though.