Cathy’s World (Remembering An Iconoclast)

March 22, 2016


Update: Cathy’s NRO archive.¬†

Some more memories, and photographs, of Cathy from her friends.

This month is bookended by two tragic anniversaries, which should serve as reflection points for not only the conservative movement but also the torpid, insular world of contemporary political journalism. While the untimely death of Andrew Breitbart has been discussed at length by numerous online news outlets-most of which would not exist but for his pioneering work in this field-yesterday marked the ninth year we’ve been without an equally brilliant American-by way of Winnipeg-iconoclast.

If Breitbart was a blowtorch to doctrinaire leftist, media-regurgitated nostrums, engulfing them in his incandescent fury,  then Cathy Seipp was a scalpel, skillfully and wittily excising blatant half-truths, misrepresentations and lies from the dominant, but usually misleading, media narrative. Both managed to thrive despite being embedded within what was essentially an alien culture, and led lives-horribly curtailed though they were-which illustrated the folly of suppressing your identity in order to be popular.

Last night I had the opportunity to reminisce about what made Cathy such a special person with her colleagues, friends, and family members. What I took away from the evening, beyond a keen appreciation for her generosity of spirit, was the realization that her defiance wasn’t simply a political philosophy. It was a defining feature of her character and something that exemplified who she was as a human being, which is why it had the ring of authenticity…it was true. Nowhere was this trait perceived more keenly than the manner in which she faced her own mortality, which allowed her to puncture an entirely different set of hobbling myths.

Cathy, through her wonderful, irreplaceable blog-whose name graces the post you’re reading-intellectually obliterated the concept that there is some rationale, cosmic or otherwise, for who does or does not get cancer. Even though this stupidity persists in some benighted quarters, no one could read one of Cathy’s posts and come to the conclusion that this was anything other than a horrible mistake, one which couldn’t have been avoided by finding a programmatic solution, e.g. don’t smoke, switch to a vegan diet, stop eating red meat. Cancer is so inexplicable that there is a 600 page-long book describing how the most well-trained oncologists and scientists on the planet can’t properly identify its causes. So the puritanical idea that there’s an inherent morality to this disease is absurd, and we can thank her for puncturing that baseless canard as well.

It’s sad to think that we have an Internet populated with inane listicles, turgid prose and simply godawful writing, but are missing some of the most wry, trenchant insights into human nature ever to grace the World Wide Web. Hopefully, the world will able to read these penetrating observations in some form in the future, and understand what it lost with Cathy Seipp’s passing. Her other great, and most lasting, legacy is her daughter. The store she put on family can’t be underestimated-as anyone who has read her work knows-and beyond her skill as a writer-which was peerless-this was her life’s signature achievement. Speaking with Maia last night gave me a deeper appreciation for how Cathy’s values, as well as her best personal qualities-particularly her wit and intellect-informed those she loved.

It’s something she undoubtedly would have taken great pride and satisfaction in, and which we should acknowledge in any remembrance of this great mother, friend and writer.

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