Sockpuppetry of the Penis (Was: Another Shattered Glass Moment for The New Republic)


Titular update: As Jane Galt mentioned in her original post on the matter and as reader Rimfax points out below, this is a post about sockpuppet shenanigans and, as such, deserves a better headline than my original effort. Color me oblivious, but when I think of sock puppets, I, like Sal Paradise thinking of Dean Moriarity at the end of On the Road, used to think of Penn Jillette, even used to think of old Teller the silent one who never talks on camera, used to think of Penn Jillette for reasons that are clear to anyone who clicks on the link to his name. (Semi-obscure headline allusion here.)

Now back to the original post:

Jane Galt at Asymmetrical Information points us to the latest Shattered Glass moment for The New Republic: Irony-challenged TV critic and anti-blowjob blowhard Lee Seigel, the Grampa Simpson of the middling middlebrow elite, has been booted for pulling a John Lott.

Writes Editor-in-Chief Franklin Foer:

After an investigation, The New Republic has determined that the comments in our Talkback section defending Lee Siegel's articles and blog under the username "sprezzatura" were produced with Siegel's participation. We deeply regret misleading our readers. Lee Siegel's blog will no longer be published by TNR, and he has been suspended from writing for the magazine.

You don't have to be a fan of Castiglione to admire the, er, chutzpah, of Siegel calling his fake self sprezzatura.

Other great moments in TNR online journalism include Gregg Easterbrook's mondo bizarro rant against the Jews while commenting on Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill.

And, of course, from the bricks-and-mortar days at TNR, there's always Stephen Glass (once a minor motion picture) and Ruth Shalit (who, full disclosure, penned at least a couple of pieces for Reason back in her wunderbrat days).

Open thread for a long weekend: Who will play Siegel in Shattered Glass 2: The Legend of Curly's Gold?

NEXT: "Castro dead" rumor fades; "Castro gay" rumor rises

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  1. The technical term for that is a sockpuppet.

  2. Please! The brilliant Mr. Siegel did nothing wrong. His writings shine new light upon a dark world, I only hope his suspension isn’t permanent.

    BTW. He’s no Stephen Glass, that guy was a funny mofu who single-handedly restandardized journalistic practice.

  3. That Rimfax guy is so damn witty, and smart, too.

  4. How many frauds is TNR going to have to hire before people no longer take it seriously? Ruth Shalit? Stephen Glass? Lee Siegel? Jason Zengerle?

  5. Wow, that simultaneously sucks and blows for Mr. Seigel.

  6. I’ve immortalized Mr. Siegel’s deed (until it gets reverted) at the Wikipedia “sockpuppet” page and the “The National Review” page. I’ve also put a mention of the scandals above in a separate “Scandals” section on the “The National Review” page. For those brave or stupid enough to flesh those entries out some or add some more: have a ball.

    (I’m too lazy to add the links in here. I’m worn out after doing all the citations at the Wikipedia.)

  7. The focus group preferred “Shattered Glass 2: The Wrath of Khan”.

  8. Rimfax: What does this have to do with “National Review”?

  9. shoes

  10. Rimfax:

    National Review goes by “NR”, while The New Republic uses TNR as its TLA.


  11. Fortunately, I only made the mistake here, rather than putting the info on the wrong Wikipedia page. Indeed, I meant The New Republic. I must have made the switch in my fatigue.

    Obviously, I don’t particularly esteem or despise either publication, so my mistake didn’t really resonate with me as I typed it.

  12. Siegel’s the guy who confessed he had a chance at intimacy with an underage Uma Thurman, right? Which he nobly turned down, even though she like totally wanted him. That’s my favorite Lee Siegel episode.

  13. You were high when you wrote that “Titular Update”, weren’t you, Nick?

  14. Alas, Narrator Jack, not even close.

  15. How many frauds is TNR going to have to hire before people no longer take it seriously? Ruth Shalit? Stephen Glass? Lee Siegel? Jason Zengerle? Andrew Sullivan? Peter Beinart? Fred Barnes? Mort Kondracke? Jim Glassman? Martin Peretz? Leon Wieseltier? Michael Kelly? Charles Krauthammer? Mickey Freakin’ Kaus?

    The list is endless.

  16. Has Siegel had anything to say about this publicly? It’s really out of character for him to say nothing, even pseudonymously… which one of you commenters is Siegel?

  17. Bring back Hayden Christiansen. He’s so easy to hate that I think I’ll take the rest of the day off to ponder how much I can’t stand him. In the spirit of disclosure, I presume that this is the affect he was going after in portraying Stephen Glass, and it worked.

  18. These search terms have been highlighted: lee seigel suck nick gillespie

    Well, at least for Nick there was a, ahem, happy ending…

  19. That Lee Siegel was a sock puppet doesn’t surprise me.

    Neither did the exact same type of sock puppetry from Glenn Greenwald.

    I guess this sort of thing is popular on the left. (Michael Hilzik as well….)

    Glenn Greenwald works for his own blog so no one is gonna fire him for doing the exact same things as Siegel. However, it is odd that the hard left didn’t seem to mind, including some of the same people who tink Siegel deserved to be fired.

  20. Neither did the exact same type of sock puppetry from Glenn Greenwald.


  21. “I guess this sort of thing is popular on the left.”

    Just like plagiarism is “popular on the” right? What an asshole thing to say considering Ben Domenech’s highly publicized problems.

  22. A sturdy penis can stop a fan, but shatter glass?
    It would have to be executing extremely short, rapid strokes, not to mention, in resonance.

    Somebody refused Uma?

    (I warned you this could be a full-time job.)

  23. Chris:

    The Glenn Greenwald sock puppetry scandal was covered across the blogosphere, including such popular sites as InstaPundit, LittleGreenFootballs, Patterico, and so on.

    But the lead blogger was Ace of Spades, and since you request a link here’s a starting point for you: Beyond that, you can utilize Google and find lots of stuff on this.

    Glenn Greenwald was guilty of exactly the same sort of sock puppetry as Lee Siegel. Siegel deserved to get fired. Greenwald doesn’t work for anyone so no one will fire him. However, we know what Greenwald is and we won’t forget.

    Some people will pretend they forget or didn’t notice, though. For example, Andrew Sullivan returned to his blog today and said Lee Siegel deserved to get fired (which I agree with). But Glenn Greenwald is one of his favorite bloggers and he remains silent on the fact Greenwald did the exact same thing.

    And, although I can’t prove it, I’m personally convinced that Sullivan’s post about John Hinderacker from PowerLine today (shortly after he posted about Siegel) was so similar to Glenn Greenwald’s post about that same PowerLine post that Sullivan probably got it from Greenwald without providing a hat tip. If so, it would mean Sullivan posted that Siegel deserved to get fired and then ran over to Greenwald who was guilty of the exact same thing as Siegel in order to borrow material for another post.

    As far as Ben Demenech, I was never a fan of the guy, and when it was exposed that he was a plagiarist, most right-of-center blogs criticized and condemned him (see Michelle Malkin, for example, who blogged about his plagiarism despite the fact she was a friend of the guy). The Left blogosphere, in contast, ignores scandals amongst their own ranks, and takes the view that if they remain silent and ignore it they can pretend it never happened. Which is what Kos meant when he once ordered fellow lefties to not give scandals about lefty blogs any oxygen.

  24. And another example that I just noticed. Lefty blogger Lindsay Beyerstein posted about the Lee Sielgel sock puppetry, yet she was strangely silent when her blogosphere ally, Glenn Greenwald, was caught guilty of exactly the same type of sock puppetry.

    If bloggers don’t think their lack of consistancy and lack of integrity is noticed they are fooling themselves. Lindsay Beyerstein seems like a bright woman despite my disagreeing with her 90% of the time. But her fatal flaw is that she comprises her integrity time and time again just to be part of the lefty Townhouse team. Sad.

  25. comprises = compromises

    I respect even the blogs I mostly disagree with so long as they don’t compromise their integrity. The “progressive” left blogosphere, unfortunately, does not seem very respectable to me.

  26. Why is it considered improper for the author of a blog post to post comments under a different screename? If a blog permits anonymous comments, then you should never take anyone at face value. **cough** Jean Bart **cough** Gary Gunnels **cough**

  27. >I respect even the blogs I mostly disagree with so long as they don’t compromise their integrity. The “progressive” left blogosphere, unfortunately, does not seem very respectable to me.

    The great thing about the internet is the polarization/Balkanization it’s created. In a universe where every tiny fringe belief has its autonomous zone, nobody ever needs to bother reading or watching anything they disagree with. Thus, the progressive left blogosphere does not need to change in any way in an attempt to please people like LoafingOaf. This, I think, is one of the things that has old-school print columnists so up in arms about the rise of blog-based opinion-mongering. Time was, people on the left could, because there was no large and vociferous alternative POV on offer, be convinced that they actually had to pay attention to what people like David Brooks and even Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter had to say, because those people had a platform and their advice on how the Democratic party could best run itself off a cliff was thus given a patina of presumed rationality. Now, it’s so much easier to say, “You clearly do not have the best interests of this community at heart. You wish it would go away entirely. So why the fuck should we care what you think, or take your advice on how we should proceed? Go fuck yourself.” Truly, it’s a golden age.

  28. Thanks for the link, LoafingOaf. I must have missed that one.

    A few months back I was reading about some Greenwald generated flare-up over Patterico linking another site that advocated hanging the “liberals” on the Supreme court… something about five nooses and some assembly required. In reading those comments I really don’t think any of them actually read or understood what Greenwald had to say on his own site, and were just self-perpetuating what Patterico and their other right-minded pals had posted about the situation. And I do recall Greenwald actually showing up there in comments a few times with only an agitating effect on the mob. I think if he ever did use a sockpuppet, it was to minimize the stigma his tagline carries so people might actually read what he had to say. Not the same thing as Siegel’s TNR-blog-specific narcissism.

  29. I assure you, I’m not a Greenwald sockpuppet… that sounded too much like a defense when I’m merely researching and speculating.

  30. None of this really matters, as long as that brilliant fellow Stevo Darkly keeps posting on the Internet.

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