Patterico's Pontifications

3/27/2007

Sandra Tsing Loh on Cathy Seipp

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 11:14 pm

Sandra Tsing Loh writes in the L.A. Times about Cathy Seipp, blogger coverage of her death and funeral — and the cybersquatter:

Into this heartfelt swaying and singing of “We Are Cathy’s World” entered the cyber-squatter. This is the disgruntled blogger who years ago bought the domain name cathyseipp.com; as a result, Cathy blogged from cathyseipp.net. What he did on cathyseipp.com varied — first he posted as Cathy, and then he merely posted disparaging comments about Cathy, Photoshopping her and her daughter’s heads atop various bodies.

On the one hand, it would be hard to confuse cathyseipp.com with her actual site. On the other hand, when the cyber-squatter last week reverted to his earlier ways, posting a “last blog entry” signed “Cathy Seipp” in which Cathy supposedly begged final forgiveness for her politics, her friends and her parenting … this seemed to cross a new line.

Indeed it did. I gather that the site has since been taken down, and I won’t repeat any of what I remember reading there — but it was enough to make your blood boil.

By week’s end, Cathy’s family and friends were debating whether to take legal action. Everyone was offended, exhausted and still staggered with grief.

I received a phone call and e-mails from a couple of people in the circle of friends, looking for a way to put a stop to the ghoulish ravings of the evident lunatic who — coward that he is — had chosen to lash out at Cathy once she went unconscious and couldn’t strike back. I debated, not so much questions of legal action (I couldn’t help with that, but put them in touch with Justin Levine, who did render some small assistance), but questions of whether to publicize it. (I didn’t want to give the cretin any more publicity. Evidently I was in the minority. It seems a moot point now that it’s in the L.A. Times.)

Over at Cathy’s World, commenters seem slightly taken aback at what they perceive as a slight hostility on the part of Ms. Loh towards bloggers. Well, given that her spirited, funny, and somewhat uncomfortable eulogy was recorded and posted by one of those bloggers — and given the situation with the cybersquatter — I think any such attitude can be forgiven for now. Especially if Ms. Loh isn’t that familiar with us.

But we’re not all that bad. Cathy knew that. Heck, she was one of us.

12 Responses to “Sandra Tsing Loh on Cathy Seipp”

  1. I found that article strange in a few particulars. The effects of grief, I s’pose.

    David N. Scott (71e316)

  2. So we get hate mail. So what? So does everyone who sticks their necks out. Stop whining. Malkin actually saves all hers so she can whine once or twice a week with examples. Like I say on my blog: send me the mail, I love it.

    Howard Veit (4ba8d4)

  3. Cathy had an unusual circle of friends, a tribute to her own confidence in who she was and in her tolerance for different, and at times bizarre, behavior. Now that she’s gone, all this is coming out as though the containment grid (Think of Ghostbusters) had been shut off by the Environmental Protection Agency. The spooks will flit around for a while, her friends will look on in bemused wonder, and, hopefully, her family will get on with their lives. We enjoy a visit to the circus but we don’t take it home with us. Things will settle down but I’m afraid Cathy’s World is no more.

    Mike K (86bddb)

  4. I do think this whole matter is the cautionary tale of our time. If one chooses to air their private feuds publicly via the powerful tool of the internet one cannot assume that everyone will play nicely, as evidenced by the reprehnsible behavior of the cybersquatter. Its a brave new world and the internet is the Tool – when wielded wisely it advances thought and debate and productivity, yet in the hands of another it can be a destructive force with an unending reach.

    No one can afford to be naive or foolish in what they choose to make public knowledge.

    Dana (3c831e)

  5. Unfortunately, Mike K. is correct. Cathy was the glue holding CW in place. But that doesn’t mean everything is going away. David and Julie Scott are working on a site for Cathy’s fans. It will be run in her spirit of multipartisan fun and attacking shibboleths. I, and I suspect others, will chip in. This is a humanitarian issue: all us displaced blog commenters need a new home! I have some ideas for introductory posts centering on Cathy’s views of journalism and the problems it faces.

    As for Sandra’s commentary: She was one of Cathy’s closest friends, and her anti-blog contrarianism would probably have at least raised a crinkle of amusement on Cathy’s face. I would just make one requestion of Sandra, please don’t refer to that vile person with the Cathy-mocking Web site only as a “blogger.” His sliminess has nothing to do with blogging. It makes as much sense as describing him as a “teacher”.

    As for the legal issues; if the creep had used the domain ihatecathyseipp or something similar, there’d be no problem. But as it is, the creep was cybersquatting with her name, and that was a deceptive use of it.

    There are a couple more hateful remarks on CW this morning. Cathy would be delighted at the evidence that her most vicious critics are also the most deranged.

    Bradley J. Fikes (1c6fc4)

  6. As for the legal issues; if the creep had used the domain ihatecathyseipp or something similar, there’d be no problem. But as it is, the creep was cybersquatting with her name, and that was a deceptive use of it.

    Exactly. (see jimtreacher.blogspot.com)

    Jim Treacher (867a4f)

  7. More insight into this matter and its legal ramifications –

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,261916,00.html

    Dana (3c831e)

  8. Cathy’s cyper-pest was really somethin’ else. But such are the hazards of fame. My friend Dennis Cooper (about whom I’m going to be writing a major profile for Everyone’s Favorite Newspaper) was plagued by truly incredible rip-off artist named Laura Albert. She took characters out of Dennis’ novels, reworked them and created “j.t. leroy” a diminutive male hustler with AIDS turned novelist. A great many people were fooled by “j.t.” (who was played by a relative of Albert’s) including Gus Van Sant (who truly should have knwon better.) Others were co-conspirators, including actress-director Asia Argento and celebrity shoplifter Winona Ryder (who claimed “j.t.” to be one of her closest friends) Eventually the truth came out. Dennis, for his part, took it in stride. As Albert didn’t literally plagarize his work he knew there was small chance of a court case. Moreover the last thing he wanted to do was give this creature any sort of platform to spew more lies.

    Looking forward to the new post-Cathy site.

    As some of you may know my favorite movie of all time is Those Who Love Me Can Take the Train – which is entirely about a funeral. Outfest has promised that I can host a screenign in the near future, which will give me an opportunity to talk about my (many, and increasingly frequent) mourning experiences — including Cathy. I’ll be sure to let y’all know when it happnes.

    David Ehrenstein (2289f8)

  9. When American Cinema Foundation presented Cathy’s media panels up at the AFI, we used to introduce her as “the Lady Godiva of the Blog Era”. It always got a good laugh. She was proud of her pioneering role in personal journalism; her site meant a lot to her.

    On that note, congrats to Jim Treacher on his 5th blog anniversary. What’s that in human earth years? 50? 75?

    Gary McVey (af935e)

  10. Yeah, let me know if you want to contribute to the Cathy fan thingie on Journalspace. It’s almost set up now.

    David N. Scott (71e316)

  11. I prefer to think of it in terms of geological time.

    Jim Treacher (867a4f)


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