Time On One’s Hands

Excerpt from Wallace Troglon’s “The God Who Taunted Her: Lee Goldberg, Cathy Young and the Tragic End of Young-Limsky,” pp. 34-35:

Of all the moments in the blogosphere, with the exception of the unexpected third-season frottage moment between Sam Tanenhaus and Bat Segundo[1], few have been as controversial as the relationship between Fanfic Warrior Princess Cathy Young and Lee Goldberg, the Television God of War. It is difficult for the amateur scholar to determine whether any of these relationships are true. It is further difficult for the amateur to limn the demarcation between reality and fiction.

Lee Goldberg, however, came across as a more menacing villain than Tanenhaus, causing much division and rancor within fandom.[2] That the show’s writers would disrupt the safe territory that the show had operated in for so long was an insult. That the show would dare to emulate real life to some extent, which most of the fans had previously avoided by spending their time writing 100,000 word dissertations and derivative stories based on the show’s characters, was an outright existential blow.

Goldberg was the first to challenge the much believed and still valid conclusions of the Young-Limsky School, making the bold claim that the litblog was not a form of fiction. This seemed, Goldberg averred, ostensible to anyone with a pulse.

I shall not address the “pre-Goldberg” and “post-Goldberg” periods of fandom. It has been discussed enough elsewhere.[3] But I am most concerned with the various dead gophers that Young sent Goldberg in the mail, along with the magazine subscriptions that Young had signed Goldberg up for. If we accept Goldberg’s contrarian thesis in part, were these moments initiated by Cathy Young? Or were they scripted into the series by the show’s brilliant head writer?

[1] See Season 3, Episode 55, “Books and Bats,” when the series switched over to Showtime to take advantage of the network’s “No Limits” policy. On March 3, 2005, a few weeks after the episode’s airdate, there was considerable debate in alt.fan.litblogs over whether the actor playing “Sam Tanenhaus”[a] whispered “You can’t write” or “You’re all right.” Whatever the three words were, it still doesn’t explain why the show’s writers followed this with a more explicit love scene that was completely out of character with the tone of the first two seasons. Fellow scholar and fanfic defender OMyGawdGoldberg!, leaving a comment on Tod Goldberg’s site, settled the matter by calling both Goldberg brothers “a bunch of heartless cretins.”

[a] The actor’s name remains unidentified, despite a coordinated stalking effort by fans of the show to get the answer from the producers.

[2] For more on this topic, see R.U. Phuckingsomeone’s invaluable “Litbloggers Copulate Too,” a 6,000 word treatise that posits many hypothetical couplings if we agree with the Young-Limsky school that considers litbloggers to be a fictive construct arranged within a five-season television series that aired between 2000-2005, released shortly thereafter on DVD.

[3] See Cathy Young’s trio of articles, “Fanfic is the Only Form of Fiction,” “Fanfic is Better Than Updike and Better Than Sex” and her confessional piece de resistance, “The Night Lee Goldberg Made Me Cry.”

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