Baseball caps 1: Lee Siegel 0
Do NOT disrespect the cap. Never disrespect
Lee Siegel is no more
Another Friday news dump:
An Apology to Our Readers
After an investigation, The New Republic has determined that the comments in our Talkback section defending Lee Siegel's articles and blog under the username "sprezzatura" were produced with Siegel's participation. We deeply regret misleading our readers. Lee Siegel's blog will no longer be published by TNR, and he has been suspended from writing for the magazine.
Editor, The New Republic
It's not like TNR isn't a target-rick environment. But none was more mockable than Lee Siegel. From "blogofascism", to the terrors of wearing baseball caps, to psychoanalyzing my childhood, to wishing he had screwed a 16-year-old Uma Thurman, none illustrated the irrelevance of the New Republic more than their so-called "culture" writer.
He will be missed, even if I do have a huge-ass smile on my face right now
Bwaaaah. What a fucked up little man. Yeah, I wonder how Professor Thurman and his 6 foot sons took that you would have fucked his then teenaged modelish daughter. Not well, I would think. Here are the comments which got him in trouble.
Reposted from the earlier thread, just in case they were missed:
Lets leave as said that in Part II Siegel openly and unambiguously accused Kincaid of being a pedophile (Kincaid has frankly admitted his predilections . . . if you know where to look for them. Kincaid . . . hide[s] his own appetite for children Kincaid's lust for children) and now he has backed down, somewhat, from that accusation (I have no idea whether [Kincaid] is a pedophile himself, though in my opinion, he certainly seems to be"). Lets also leave as said that Siegel stubbornly refuses even to begin to address the reasons weve given for doubting his opinion, and bizarrely prefers to insist that our arguments, too, are merely evidence that were soft on pedophilia. The question now arises, in blogese, WTF? Is Siegels thickheadedness, high-handedness, excitability, recklessness, goofiness, and immoderate persecutorial spirit simply his alone? Or are these faults somehow attributable to TNR (at least to the back of the book)? How representative are Siegels failings?
(Just for the record, so theres no mistake, I think pedophiles should be put in jail, and if good psychopathology tells us they can never be reformed, kept segregated from children by law once released. And also, for the record, sex with a 16 year old is not pedophilia or statutory rape, but may in many circumstances be morally reprehensible nonetheless. My interest in all of this is the wild disproportion between the incidence of pedophilia and the cultural obsession with it, as well as, to my mind, the disproportionate the intensity of punitive violence (as Mark Greif wrote in n+1) heaped on pedophiles.)
Heres one thought I had on the subway this morning: Siegels attraction to writing is particularly unsuited to blogging, and his bad motives have caught up with him. From all Ive read of Siegel, he seems to have come to writing, as so many writers have, because of the temptations of power. He is attracted to the authority of the word and the page. The page, for him, was a place to remake himself, steel himself in well-wrought phrases, fix his own wavering, groping, tentative mind. This is a temptation for many of our class (and for me as well) - with a little education, a feel for the rhythms and sinews of a good sentence, and a generous editor, we can hold the attention (we dream) of the masses, achieve authority unknown (we believe) by even the rich or the beautiful. He may even have almost succeeded in persuading himself that as a critic he was especially penetrating, or intelligent, or worthwhile.
And here comes a technological shift that robs him not only of his treasured page, but also of the kind of authority that the old medium promised. For blogs are a place for the wavering, the groping, the tentative. The blogger steps down from the Olympian platform of the critic and shares his uncertainties, his confusions, his stabs at sense, with a community of equals. The best blogs involve a wonderful give-and-take between the author and his community of readers - addenda, corrections, re-thinkings, admissions. And this on blogs run by extremely smart, extremely authoritative people - Eugene Volokh, for example, or even Richard Posner. One comes to respect such peoples minds all the more for their agility in responding to, and often incorporating, dissent and correction. For all its shortcomings (and it has many), the profoundly democratic medium of the blog shakes, must shake, an author like Siegels dream of his exceptionalness. One fears, alas, that but for this false and dear dream, Siegel would never have become a writer in the first place.
I also worry that Siegels arrogance may be fed by Wieseltier, who always holds a brief for moral and intellectual certainty, and is the master of the Olympian tone. But then again, Siegel is no Wieseltier.
posted by sprezzatura on 2006-08-27 17:05:24 [respond]
You have quite an obsession with Siegel! Sounds to me like you're an envious young writer. I mean, first you have a wife and two kids, and now you're a poor young lawyer with time to write extended tirades against Siegel. Men with two children don't take time out to defend obscure academics from charges of pedophilia, their defense replete with (pretentious) references to ancient Greek categories of desire! If I had to guess, you're this person Mark Greif himself. Or someone in his circle. Every young write in NYC has it in for poor Siegel it seems. They all write like middle-aged hacks. He has the fire and guts of a young man (I assume he's middle-aged himself, or somewhere near there.) Who am I? Someone who knows who you are.