Friday, March 2, 2012

After Breitbart (1969-2012)

MC got the news, fittingly enough, on Twitter, in real time. At first, the thought was that his "Big" sites had been hacked and the news was a hoax. It went downhill rapidly from that kind of wishful thinking. Soon enough, Andrew Breitbart was really and truly dead at the age of 43. Some checked his Twitter timeline as a sort of post-mortem. MC couldn't bring itself to do so. Stupefaction best described the response among so many familiar strangers on Twitter.

Throughout the day, Breitbart's admirers and detractors took to Twitter: it was the only place to be. Late in the day, before going on Late Debate, it occurred to MC that we were sitting shiva for Breitbart on Twitter. One hopes the thought would have brought a smile to his very secular face.

Today dawns cold amongst conservative activists, a long yet brief & full day after the news hit, thirty six hours after he apparently collapsed on a sidewalk near his home in Los Angeles. His last hours were stitched together through various haphazard accounts. They brought no comfort. In fact, the immediacy with which they were known seemed only to mock that he was permanently gone.

Then came the Christopher Hitchens sort of reminiscences: the "I talked to him a really long time at a confab," the "he retweeted me and I knew he knew," and the "we got really drunk together and I can't quite recall the balance of the evening." These are all harmless, in their way, and signal not much more than admirers grieving the loss of their admired. And no one on the right did not admire Andrew Breitbart; such was the depth of his accomplishments.

Not so, of course, those on the left. An open sewer or Twitter? Yesterday it depended on who was doing the tweeting. A discouragingly high percentage of "names" on the left did themselves no favor in what they wrote in the haste of survival and anger. Some deleted their egregious tweets but everything is forever online. Media Matters for America and Eric Boehlert had welcome notes of condolence. Some excused their vitriol by pointing to Breitbart's excesses which, at times, he surely did have. It's an odd logic, though, to seek to exculpate one's odious behavior by referencing behavior of the dead they condemn. This elemental point seemed lost on too many.

Much stock taking ensued yesterday and this was only a normal reaction after the shock wore off to some degree; to some degree the shock never will. But MC couldn't help but be struck by a certain bravado, a note of resolve that seemed to mask deep despair over the loss of a singular and inspiring leader who sought to slay the rancid media on its own terms and largely did. The fundamental hypocrisy of the left and its captive institutions was never so exposed and ridiculed before the advent of Andrew Breitbart. Rush can yammer to the choir; Coulter sell books to the convinced; Hannity drone to those who apparently don't know better. None of them could touch Breitbart because he lived the fight, took the bullets.

Consequently the hash tag that developed late in the day #IAmBreitbart served only to underscore the depth of the loss. Yes, yes, it was a means to buck up and by all means do so. Can anyone who admired Breitbart think of giving up now in this crucial election year? Not at all.

But let's not take false comfort from a false sense of ourselves. We've lost a crucial player and nothing will ever be the same again. Only Andrew could say: I am Breitbart. Let him have it. He earned it. He may have even paid with his life for it.

Breitbart was adopted, which is another way of saying his mother did not kill him in her womb. The defenders of abortion can elide all they like but death is what they proffer and it was death Mother Breitbart turned away from. Dead at 43, Andrew Breitbart's natural mother may well be living. Let us pause in our mourning of him to honor her. Then return to the field of political battle in both their names.


Mark Cianciolo said...

Yes, those on the left who enjoyed an exultant moment of Schadenfreude at Breitbart's death betray the principles they claim to stand upon. One of which is a basic human decency and kindness to others.

Nice turn at the end of your column, John, about Breitbart's mother.

Mark Cianciolo said...

Those on the left who exult in a misguided moment of Schadenfreude at the death of Breitbart betray the liberal platform they stand on. For that platform professes common human decency and consideration. See especially:

Nice touch at the end of your column saluting Brietbart's birth mother.

MikeWBL said...

Well said John!

I hope his staff memorializes him with continuing his causes through hard work.

dipper said...

will be remembered as he remembered others -

feel free to scrub if you haven't the gonads to leave evidence of the real Breitbart