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Published March 21, 2013

Playboy wrote an excellent piece about Vile Rat, and you should go read it. Some of it is a little weird—like who the hell is 'Tigerlily', anyway?—and you shouldn't read it from your work computer (although by modern standards Playboy seems almost G-rated). I really like the art that Playboy had made for the article, though; I wonder if we can get a print?

It's been six months and I'm still profoundly bitter about Benghazi; it's hard to talk about it without feeling selfish, which is kind of odd considering that rationally one should be 'OK' with being utterly fucked up about one of your best friends being murdered.

One of the nice things about the Playboy piece is that it does point out how Benghazi was politicized during the election season, which made the tragedy even harder to deal with. I recall at Eve Vegas, mere weeks before the election, a drunken, angry conservative pointing his finger at me and declaring, apropos of nothing in the middle of a conversation about spaceships, that I should be mad at Obama because of my friend's death. Thanks, guy. It was deeply ironic that Benghazi was turned into some kind of a political martyrdom on the rightmost fringes of American election warfare, considering that Sean was an avowed liberal (though hardly a color-by-numbers party follower) at heart.

My point here is not 'this political tribe was wrong and I am mad at them'; the point is that when there is a 'normal' death (within societally prescribed levels of normal: cancer, declared war, car accident, old age, heart attack, etc.), it is a personal tragedy and something the grieving survivors quietly deal with on their own. In the case of Benghazi, it became a political football squabbled over in the national media endlessly by people who had never met any of the victims, which was pretty goddamned awful if you were one of the aforementioned aggrieved survivors. In a national tragedy, some feel entitled to tell you, aggrevied person, how you should feel about what happened - since they watched some television and were bestowed a couple of irrelevant talking points to endlessly repeat. 

And then there's the media:

Here's some dude you've never met who has never met Sean: let's put a camera in his face and have him sound off about your buddy! Hey, can we get you on one of tonight's shitty talk shows during our news segment—since we can't find the crying widow, can we get a crying best friend? Also, can you please put us in touch with the crying widow? Wait, why aren't you helping us exploit the crying widow for our ratings???

Personal tragedies typically avoid the lunatic fringe; national tragedies force the fringe upon you, and I'm not even talking about the nonsense that we call journalism in the USA. On this website we periodically have to clean up the comments section on the original Vile Rat obituary because of nutters and/or human garbage offering their enlightened views about how Sean was actually a CIA agent and thus deserved it, how it's the fault of evil imperialist American foreign policy, or how it was because of 'karma' for (a) being American, (b) being in Goonswarm, (c) being CIA, or (d) ganking miners in EVE Online. The crazy gets much worse if you look at Twitter where the #benghazi hashtag is a howling maelstrom of politicized lunacy.

Looking back at the madness of the election year with Glenn Beck saying that Goonswarm is a CIA front and dealing with the 'mainstream media', it was like a bad acid trip, except that we haven't woken up from it and Sean is still dead.

That said, there were some glimmers of not-awful. The fundraiser for Sean's family was a smashing success, ensuring that his children won't be fucked for college. Half of nullsec's stations still have VR memorial names (though after a certain point I thought it was getting morbid, and had GSF's swapped back to their old names) and the EVE community has been very supportive, the odd bit of aforementioned human garbage nonwithstanding. 

So: Good piece by Playboy, probably one of the best-written on the topic yet in the mainstream media. Well worth a read, though it leaves me feeling kind of morbid as it rips the scab right off. 

In conclusion, Glenn Beck can suck my dick.

The Mittani
Goonswarm Federation CEO, Space Tyrant. Likes yoga, Alaskan Malamutes, bacon, and delegation.