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 is … wrenching. So … you don’t. 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 aren’t.

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 it’s somewhat similar to widows keeping their husband’s suits in the closet for months on end … years, even. Some, until their own departure. It’s often regarded as being emotionally unhealthy to do so. But one often does it anyway.

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 … I knew it didn’t concern one of her family members – as it relates to conventional family, that is. She’d 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 … Rick 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 one’s mind … Rick, having 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 don’t know … But I do 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 one’s personal … survivability.

Rick, in a word, was legendary among those who listened to him on the radio … First most, in both vocal timbre and inflection, there’d 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 didn’t 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 wasn’t entirely affected. And yet … it belied 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 … a gentleman.

I would first actually meet Rick in the 90s – I can’t 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 Michael’s Italian Restaurant in a limo-black Mercedes-Benz, wearing a decidedly conservative, gray silk suit and tie … just … 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 Rick’s notice.

Indeed, about some 15 minutes after Joyce served up formal introductions at the restaurant table, Rick remarked, “I was expecting someone different. You’re not how I imagined you.”

A victory ... of sorts … kind of. For Rick Seiderman wasn’t entirely how I had imagined him, either. Touché. But Rick didn’t 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 theme music …

 

The Adventures of IRONSEID (excerpts)



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 wouldn’t 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 Rick’s), would be among those who would become familiar with ‘The Wicked World of Joseph’. And, too, Secretary of The Treasury under Clinton, Robert Rubin (Rick’s cousin). Thanks to Rick, I’m probably on a ‘Watch List’ to this day …

But, over time, there would be no ‘Radio Rick’ forged in one’s 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. He’d send me pictures of his new cat acquisition, Scooter … and I’d 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 … in Barack 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 ...

I’ll be including some of the thoughts and remembrances of others regarding Rick below. But I’d 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.

You Say Hello, And I Say Goodbye

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 ...
 

Others Remember Rick


 

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