By Sergio Lombardi and Dominique Flemings
(Tokyo) In a stunning decision, a local magistrate has ordered the closure of popular blog “Hoofin To You,” the digital home of famed Frederick W. Gundlach due to the ex-expatriate’s increasing mental instability. The blog, previously a beacon of journalistic integrity, was the last medium through which Gundlach communicated his ranting through the mask of a man most of his followers knew only as Hoofin.
“Hoofin was a nice guy,” said Jeff McBridges, a reader of the blog since its creation. “He started out on the right road, and I had high hopes for his bright future. But it became clear that he wasn’t quite right in the head – conspiracy theories and all that. He lost his marbles a long time ago – maybe it was too much okonomi. He never did watch his kilos.”
Frederick Gundlach showed promise as a graduate of Temple University’s James E. Beasley School of Law (whom, in an ironic twist of fate, he later sued) but things seemed to go south as he went East to Japan, where he was accused of many crimes including an infamous episode of what some newspapers headlined as “panty-pilfering.”
Gundlach, seen hoofing it out of his pad at Tomigaya 1-32-23 – Apt 3B, Shibuya-ku after authorities ordered his site closed (Photo credit, Frederick W. Gundlach)
As his notoriety increased, Hoofin’s madness grew as well. A hallmark of his writing was continual finger-pointing and endless participation in blame games, with Rick Gundlach seeming to be far more willing to launch endless tirades at public figures than suggest useful solutions. The “conspiracy theories” McBridges referred to centered on an innocuous blog review site, The Japan Blog Review. When a review of theirs shed a less-than-positive light upon Gundlach’s already tarnished reputation, he retorted with bizarre graphs, charts and other “information” he dug up to prove to his readers that he was being targeted and that he was still more popular than the Blog Review.
“Sad,” McBridges sighed. “Just sad. Two well-meaning adults try to have some fun, throw around some names and a comparison to, if I may, a very good movie [Shutter Island] and he goes off his rocker. Dug up all these statistics showing how traffic spiked around the negative review, how the blog had been started only weeks before. To be honest, everything that review said, readers were saying themselves. If he’d stop slinging mud about the Japan Blog Review, they would probably stop trying to point out that he’s the only one throwing mud.”
(Frederick W. Gundlach, the man-child, in perhaps younger and happier times)
Gundlach hoofed it out of Japan months prior to the closing of his site, but U.S. marshals and webmasters agreed to cooperate with the Japan authority’s decision. Now living in a suburb of Philadelphia, Hoofin blogs about harmless topics in the U.S., but the Japanese nation worries about the effect on tourism and drops in future “Gaijin” if his site continues to remain online. His landlords are not enthused about his presence well: “We just wish our son would move out of the basement and get a place of his own. Or at least help with the grocery bills – you’d have no idea as to how expensive his favorite, tempeh, for dinner every night can get,” lamented Gundlach’s parents.
The rise and fall of Hoofin has been tragic for these reporters to watch. His progression into a sad state of man-childhood is testament to the fact that Japan may be too harsh an environment for those unprepared to work hard and indulge the Japanese by taking part in the culture of their own nation. Hoofin to You has been a recognizable symbol of his descent into madness, and it is perhaps for the best of those who still had hope for Gundlach that it be shut down, as it has offered nothing but depressing indications of his mental state. As of press time, accessing his former URL will yield nothing but an indefinite closure notice and the last known picture of Gundlach.