One of Los Angeles’ top bloggers, Cathy Seipp, died this afternoon at the unfathomably young age of 49.
I didn’t know her, but during the blogging phase of her long journalistic career, she made it possible for me and all her regular readers to feel as if we did. Her style of mixing commentary with anecdote, her way of boosting her friends and those she admired and, frankly, ridiculing those she considered pretentious or dishonest, created the most pleasing illusion that I was listening to her hold forth at a dinner party. That’s an art.
In starting this blog, Cathy Seipp was one of my biggest inspirations. She’s normally associated with the right, but I always thought that particular pigeonhole wasn’t a good fit for her. Yes, she wrote for National Review Online and the Independent Women’s Forum. But unlike the vast majority of politically conservative bloggers, Cathy showed no interest in being a water-carrier for Bush or anyone else in the GOP.
The question most right-wing bloggers seem to ask before they start writing is: “How can I help the Republicans today?” Cathy merely seemed committed to the truth as she saw it. She was a contrarian. She was impatient with the politically correct fog that descended on mainstream journalism, especially at the LA Times. But her focus was on life, not elections.
The greatest tribute I can think of to Cathy Seipp as a writer is that she is impossible to summarize or encapsulate. She breathed, walked, raved and laughed, and you didn’t feel like you were reading it, you were experiencing it.
There are many better tributes than this one out there to read tonight. After you’ve read a few of them, I hope you are impelled to look at her blog, whose archives will, I assume, stay up indefinitely. It is a tremendous body of work, a reflection of our times and of a singular sensibility.