It was perhaps the single most captivating moment in the history of heterosexual conservative romance. But Todd Seavey chewed out his ex Helen Rittelmeyer on a C-Span Book TV panel for young conservatives on Monday, viewers were left wondering if the wholesome young Catholic woman in the studiously modest blouse before their eyes could really be the “Nietzschian” sociopath of liber-Todd’s online ravings, and if so whether he definitely deserved to keep going out with her. Does she seriously seek to promote human suffering as Todd claims, or is this more a matter of suffering fools? We searched the young National Review staffer’s writings for clues, and came away with some advice for Helen:
So, Helen of Oy…
I guess I can see what you saw in Todd. You have a weakness for people who are willing to make asses of themselves in public, in part because you’re not really one for humiliating yourself. You’re a champion of the restoration of shame, particularly of the sexual sort, but when I made an ass of myself by joking about being date-raped in public a couple years ago, you authored the single public dissenting opinion I ever heard about in an otherwise deafening chorus of hysterical slut-shaming.
It says a lot that you are a National Review staffer who not only suspiciously converted to Catholicism during your chairmanship of the creepy-conservative Party of the Right as an undergraduate at Yale—I was pretty sure white people only convert to Catholicism late in life (and, during this papacy?!) if they are like, Erik Prince—and yet the only thing I found in your canon that really made you sound like a candidate for reeducation camp was this tweet implying you do not like Pavement. Call me a total pushover, but your conservatism seems primarily rooted in basic contrarianism and contempt for solipsistic culture war liberals. And hey, what can I tell you, lady, I think Alissa Quart is a total hack too, but eviscerating predictable critiques of the movie Juno is just not worthy of your brainpower—and maybe, neither was Todd.
I mean, it’s not that I can’t understand the appeal of a guy who would write a personal ad repeatedly attesting to his emphatic contempt for children to an idealistic young Judd Apatow defender who has hailed motherhood as “a lifelong adventure of discovering what femininity means.” It seems like a challenge, and as you said on C-Span you “like combativeness,” but when you realized that winning an argument with a misogynist was even less satisfying than winning an argument with a feminist, the whole thing probably started to lose a bit of its luster.
Something you may have started to realize about life as a chick is that the “lifelong adventure of discovering what femininity means” thing is not actually an option, and that one important thing that femininity means is being told over and over again that you are being irrational or overly “emotional” all the time. Of course, that often has the seemingly paradoxical side effect of making us more cerebral and logical on the majority of days of the month anyway, such that we end up better at both dealing with the illogical impulses of children and our equally irrational, but sadly considerably less self-aware*, male counterparts. Oh yeah, and also relatedly, we generally turn out more “liberal.”
Anyway, I’ll conclude with something your ex wrote on his blog before he abruptly password-protected it today, about believing in the “possibility of redemption.” (Hey, so do liberals, come on in!) And if you feel the need to unburden yourself of some libertarian sex gossip in its pursuit, you know who to e-mail…
*Like for instance, a lot of men probably wouldn’t even get why women find this sentence from Todd’s blog totally hilarious:
It has been a tumultuous time, as many of my acquaintances know, with the falling-out with my co-panelist Helen Rittelmeyer, a trial run of daily episodes of Freedom Watch, the transfer of my blog over to Blogger, the end of the Debates at Lolita Bar (mainly for time reasons), the release of my essay in Proud to Be Right, the C-SPAN2 panel itself, and another ailing Seavey family dog and, more important, Seavey family grandmother (both doing all right now) all hitting at about the same time.