On Wednesday, writer Catherine Seipp lost a long battle with cancer. Colleagues and friends remember her fondly.
Cathy Seipp was a very important person to me. She wrote the review in the Wall Street Journal of my book Spin Sisters which came out just about three years ago this week. I e-mailed to thank her for the great review and she said she was pleased because it was the first review she had done for the Journal. We met in Los Angeles when I was there a couple of months later, and had lunch and talked about all the stuff women talk about when they feel comfortable with each other — - raising kids, the differences between women in L.A. and New York, and how we had each grown more and more conservative. She started sending me her smart, witty, always original column. I was so sorry to hear about her illness and so sorry to hear she is gone. But I’m glad that even briefly I had the chance to meet, appreciate, and admire Miss Seipp.
– Myrna Blyth is co-author of How to Raise an American: 1776 Fun and Easy Tools, Tips, and Activities to Help Your Child Love This Country.
Cathy Seipp was the social, spiritual, and pugilistic core of the Los Angeles media scene. We’re all now wondering: What next?
Before I met Cathy, I knew no one. After, I knew everyone. And her group of friends came in every shape, size and ideology. Rich, poor, journalist, blogger, controversy starters and stoppers, rainbow- headed film reviewers, a sex goddess, a babe named “Moxie,” and even the occasional literate Orthodox Jew porn connoisseur. As a pronounced conservative she was quite liberal in that regard. And her bohemian Silverlake aesthetic only added to the package of joyful contradiction. Thank God she had a kid.
– Andrew Breitbart is publisher of Breitbart.com.
Cathy was the perfect combination: lovely in person and wicked in print. I talked to her for the first time after she wrote a side splittingly funny piece on Maureen Dowd for the Washingtonian. Not only was it a great read, it made all the right people furious. “It should never have been published,” a Dowd admirer hissed. That was it — I absolutely had to get Cathy to do something for the Independent Women’s Forum’s newly-created website. The result was Cathy’s regular “MoDo Watch,” which, as Charlotte Allen noted was “worth its weight in diamonds.” This evolved into a more general media column that was always fresh, funny, and fearless. Cathy never shied away from icons — or their sons. Her last post was about Ben Ehrenreich, pampered son of Barbara, and the quintessential liberal whiner. Cathy didn’t like whining. I suppose that is why, when Charlotte Allen and I had drinks with her last year at the Mayflower, I would never have guessed that this gifted writer was not long for this world. How sad that someone so decent and so funny has left so soon. My heart goes out to Maia and the many, many people who loved Cathy and I count myself fortunate to have known — and read — her.
– Charlotte Hays is a senior editor at the Independent Women’s Forum.
Cathy Seipp’s beauty attracted many people — I met a bigtime writer on the East Coast who knew all about obscure L.A. blogspats because he liked to go to Cathy’s site and look at her picture. Cathy was also smart and generous and raised a strong, lovely daughter. But I liked her for another reason: She was so grouchy! She just wouldn’t take any s**t at all. Smiling people who always have a nice word are a dime a dozen! The people to prize — especially in laid back, liberal L.A. — tend to be those who are almost constantly annoyed, which Cathy seemed to be. In large part she was annoyed by the mediocrity and cant of the Los Angeles Times, a large, slow-moving, profusely bleeding target. But there were smaller targets too, like people who brought babies into bars, or who announced “I’m going to treat myself” to something or other. Her crankiness revealed a powerful moral sense, plus a sensitivity to detail, plus a ferocious energy — all of which made for terrific writing (and mothering, now that I think of it). It also made her open minded, in a way, because new experiences brought new annoyances. When she decided her local public school was better for her daughter than the private school she’d been attending, a whole chunk of conservative education theory came under a cloud. Whatever didn’t annoy her just had to be near perfect. A conversation with her was a cleansing acid bath.
At a monthly party for local journalists, shortly after she was diagnosed, Cathy told me “you know, I might not be here next month.” I didn’t quite believe her (and in fact she held off the disease, quietly and bravely, for several more years, long enough to see her daughter Maia off to college). At a subsequent party to celebrate her remission, Amy Alkon reminds us, Cathy stood up and said “I just want to let everyone know having cancer hasn’t made me a better person.” That would have been hard to do.
– Mickey Kaus, a Slate contributor, is author of The End of Equality.