Remembering RICK SEIDERMAN
A Liberal Goodbye to
A Conservative Friend
PLUS: A Special Video
... and the remembrances of others ...
For those of us who still regard ourselves as young whether
such assessments are real or imagined one feels all the more mournful
when a friend has to be removed from your address book due to their passing
even if some of your mates are more than 20 years older than you.
For even with that, it still seems as if one of your college buddies met
with an early demise.
For even the Germanic, obsessive-compulsive organizational freaks
such as myself dutifully deleting the departed from your address book
you dont. You leave them there to be
frequently reminded of them as you finger-flick through your iPhone contacts
as if such digital-binary reminders would be necessary. They arent.
More likely, they remain in our scroll-through contacts as an oblique form
of denial that only until we send them to The Trash, by
way of deletion, has there been any true
finality. I suppose its
somewhat similar to widows keeping their husbands suits in the closet
for months on end
years, even. Some, until their own departure. Its
often regarded as being emotionally unhealthy to do so. But one often does
And this is where I am
on this day.
When longtime friend and talk show host, Joyce Kaufman, called me on my mobile
phone, her voice wavered and cracked with her first utterance. With that,
I knew it didnt concern one of her family members
as it relates to conventional family, that is. Shed wait for some later
date to tell me of that sorrow. Rather, it would be tragic news relating
to another family the Talk Radio family. And for Joyce
Seiderman would be her closest brother.
As Joyce relayed some of the specifics known at that hour, a seemingly sad
vision could initially be conjured in ones mind
passed some days prior, would be found in his apartment alone
with only his cat, Scooter, to encircle him. But such a vision would create
false illusions. In his lifetime, Rick would be loved by many. Over the years,
perhaps by a hundred or more I really dont know
I was among them.
While my guitar overviews have always been wildly popular at the site,
the week of Rick's passing would put Rick in four of the 'Top Ten' search
strings people used to find this site.
I knew the service would be scheduled posthaste, as Rick was of a Jewish
family and, by their tradition, Rick was already behind schedule.
And as I considered the radio troupe to be in likely attendance,
I would imagine the cinematic vision of The Big Chill
from the Fires of Hell. For among the Talk Radio ensemble cast, there would
be so many in joint attendance who, over the years, wanted people dead. But
Rick was never among them. Not by anyone. Not by any of the volatile talk
radio factions that constantly moved in rotational allegiance,
as the need of the moment seemingly required. For amidst the crossfire of
voodoo dolls, it had always been about ones personal
Rick, in a word, was legendary among those who listened to him on the radio
First most, in both vocal timbre and inflection, thered be no
question as to who you were listening to
Think Dylan or Randy Newman
being applied to Talk Radio, only with a different political perspective.
And if you didnt get it by way of the distinctive voice (unlikely),
your Talk Host Recognition System would surely identify Rick
by way of his in-your-face arrogance, rudeness, and interruptive
shout-downs. This, as the forerunner to most of the talk radio
you listen to on this day. Rick, I believe, was among the unsung
pioneers of in-your-face radio, without strategic-marketing
intention. For it wasnt entirely affected. And yet
both a kindness and a generosity that was so apparent to those of us who
knew him personally. We could, indeed, readily see a genuine kindness to
Rick. While Seiderman always enjoyed debate and discussion over dinner, Blood
Sport was principally reserved for radio. Behind the scenes, Rick was always
I would first actually meet Rick in the 90s I cant even recall
the exact year at this moment. He was already familiar with some of my
work and wanted to meet me. He had fellow talk host, Joyce Kaufman,
set up The Meeting. As a liberal, Joyce would be seemingly required
to act as both mediator and chaperone. The go-between for
Conservative Good and Liberal Evil.
As I imagined Rick would have some set of preconceptions as to who this
liberal was, complete with internalized imagery, I elected to throw
him a curve ... After a quick haircut, I would show up at Michaels
Italian Restaurant in a limo-black Mercedes-Benz, wearing a decidedly
conservative, gray silk suit and tie
to fuck with
his head. Even the tie, which I had purchased in London, absolutely reeked
of the proper and reserved.
It would not escape Ricks notice.
Indeed, about some 15 minutes after Joyce served up formal introductions
at the restaurant table, Rick remarked, I was expecting someone different.
Youre not how I imagined you.
A victory ... of sorts
kind of. For Rick Seiderman wasnt entirely
how I had imagined him, either. Touché. But Rick didnt surprise
by way of his more informal wear. It was with
his demeanor. Polite,
without falsehood. Smiling broadly, without strain. Cordial, without pretense.
But a look in the eyes that revealed a kindness he would be wholly unsuccessful
in concealing, betraying all previous illusions and radio reputations ...
In time, Rick and I could share a dinner on our own without the parental
supervision of Joyce. And, as time went on, a mutual trust could be relied
upon. As I had written in a 2004 piece entitled, My Dinner with Rick
(as a play on the art film, My Dinner With Andre)
I had long assessed that Rick was among the few associated with the
radio station personnel -- from talk hosts to supporting roles -- who, despite
having the most abrasive of a mic-side manners, remained one of the radio
rarities who, uniquely, didn't deliberately set out to fuck people over,
recreationally, purely for its entertainment value -- or as a failing strategy
towards career elevation, as such is the nature of deluded imagination, fueled
by nightmarish dreamers. Additionally, in the course of any given conversation
with Rick, one could remain confident in confidences, and nothing needed
to be pre-qualified as "off the record", for each of us shared the intuitive
sense of what was to remain "in-house" and what could be shared among others.
As such, conversation could be liberated and "efficient".
And, as Joyce Kaufman had known previously, there would be no breech of an
understood contract for a mere week's-worth of website glory. Besides, there
were insights more valuable -- and nothing more valuable than continued
friendships, inclusive of the trusts such friendships harbor -- an integral
part of integrity ... as a lesson not learned by all who continued to broadcast,
long after the show was over. - Joseph, 2004 -
Indeed, Joyce had once advised me that there were only two among the
core ensemble who could be trusted and relied upon taking your
call at 3 AM, if you needed them. One was Mark Scheinbaum. The other
Rick Seiderman. I chuckled, internally, that Joyce would not cite
herself, but I fully understood her counsel. Besides, I knew I could
call Joyce at 4 AM, if desired. That was a given. But, okay
so despite the mythical stereotyping dispersed within The Goy and Goya World,
only the Jews could be trusted. Got it. Be that as it may, I found her
assessments to be wholly accurate. Mark and Rick. Done.
And Rick and I would get along quite well, having several interests in common.
Indeed, when we had once made a joint appearance on The Steve Kane Show,
the host would ask that we not talk shop and laugh during the
breaks, fearing that such exchanges would diminish the heated
exchanges of the on-air segments. I explained that Rick and I could
turn it on and off, like a switch. After all, our differences were not based
on personal animosities.
I would come to learn, in time, that Rick had a great sense of humor regarding
himself. In fact, after a recent accident that put him in a wheelchair for
some months, I ran an Internet piece that played on both his situation
and very name relative to an old television series, complete with
Rick loved it so much, he immediately requested the files to be placed on
his own site. There was no satirical presentation of Rick that I could conjure
that wouldnt make him laugh.
And, beyond this, it would be Rick who would defend my words and other works
when others had cited them as being cruel and tasteless. In time,
Florida Governor, Jeb Bush (yeah, the brother and a friend
of Ricks), would be among those who would become familiar with The
Wicked World of Joseph. And, too, Secretary of The Treasury under Clinton,
Robert Rubin (Ricks cousin). Thanks to Rick, Im probably on a
Watch List to this day
But, over time, there would be no Radio Rick forged in ones
mind. There would only be Rick
the person. The friend.
As years pushed on and we were separated by distance, our communications
would remain frequent
monthly sometimes weekly. Hed send
me pictures of his new cat acquisition, Scooter
and Id send
him photographs of my Monique. For cats would be
another thing we would share in common, like the children neither one of
us would ever have
It would be interesting to note that as a hyper-conservative, Rick would
extend his very last vote
for a Democratic President
Obama. This, as what Rick perceived to be for the ultimate good of the slouching
Republican Party among some other complicated considerations and reasons.
But make no mistake. Rick was and always remained to be
conservative. And, as conservatives go, he was my kind of conservative.
The Video ...
Ill be including some of the thoughts and remembrances of others regarding
Rick below. But Id like to close my portion with a unique video in
what was a low-quality, murky webcam stream. It would be one of Rick and
his best friend. The companion who stayed by his side until Rick would be
found by someone anyone, following his passing. I wondered, at the
time, why I chose to save this webcam footage. A few months later
I would know. But beyond this, it would reveal the Rick
that is true.
The above video has been made available on YouTube
for all to use freely on their own webs, FaceBook, wherever.
... and follow the following link for a few
remembrances of others ...