Holy crap, Andrew Breitbart dies!

You can do what you want, and take the consequences.

But review how AB treated the deaths of political opponents (Kennedy, for instance) and determine if you want to be like him or not.

“I’ve never killed a man, but I’ve read many an obituary with a great deal of satisfaction.”

Mark Twain

What he said.

Your hand-wringing is really misplaced. He wasn’t a misunderstood, tragic figure. He was a deliberate provocateur who went out of his way to scorn and smear and destroy people and organizations that didn’t deserve it.

It’s not grave-dancing to express relief that he’s gone. Clarence Darrow said it: “I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure.”


Last I checked there are no consequences to posting an opinion on a message board.

Can we stop pretending that voicing an opinion as a private citizen on a fairly non-public forum is the same thing as being a public figure and hurling vitriol for all the world to see?

I wouldn’t wish death on someone. And I wouldn’t celebrate someone’s death. I hope his wife and kids are getting support fron their friends and loved ones. But.

If the occasion of the man’s death makes him a current subject for the day, stating the truth: that he was a terrible, lying political hatchetman of the lowest professional character, is within bounds.

This is correct. Brutal honesty is acceptable. There’s really two levels here: on one hand, imagine a “negative” obituary – professional, yet not trying to white wash the bad things someone did. There’s no need to give anyone a free pass on the day of their death.

On the other level is how boorish you want to be about it. That’s probably a lost cause in P&R.

Best obit highlight:

Large was his bounty, and his soul sincere. He wandered around showing guys a photo of a man’s cock.

We shall not see his like again.

His wife was the granddaughter of the co-founder of the ACLU. Now that’s something I didn’t expect to find out.

Another surprise: I didn’t realize he used to work for Drudge. I can see that with the Weiner scandal (a la Lewinsky). But it seemed like he wanted to take an additional step to manufacture the controversy (ACORN, Sherrod) as well. Maybe that’s why he left Drudge?

And before he worked for Drudge, he was at the Huffington Post.

Strange combination of interests when you look at it. He worked for HuffPo, Drudge, served as a board member for a gay republican group (Republican gay rights group GOProud).

Shirley Sherrod, the USDA employee who was fired from her job after Breitbart released an incomplete video of her appearing to say she intentionally discriminated against white farmers —she was actually describing how she overcame such prejudices — sent her condolences.

“The news of Mr. Breitbart’s death came as a surprise to me when I was informed of it this morning,” she said. “My prayers go out to Mr. Breitbart’s family as they cope through this very difficult time.”

Republican gay rights group GOProud, of which Breitbart was a board member until recently, released a statement saying it was “stunned and saddened,” and calling him an “amazing friend and ally.”

Fuck this guy.

Another interesting factoid: his father in law was former “Truth or Consequences” fixture Orson Bean, who’s apparently still around.

Everyone I know who worked with/for him has nothing but nice things to say about him, and that he would have loved reading the comments from the left being posted today. He really did treat all of this like a game and took great pleasure in engaging in it. An interesting guy, to say the least.

Of course, this is coming, as I said, from people who knew him well, which none of us (I assume) did, so we’re left with the impression of him we have from his public actions. I will say while he certainly had his role in casting individuals and organizations he disagreed with in a certain light, it wasn’t him who pulled the plug on Sherrod or ACORN. If we can take a lesson from these events, it’s that our politicians should learn to weather the tempests born of some teapots a little more steadily.

Sure, as long as people then don’t turn around and express disgust and judgement when people on the other side do the same thing for political opponents they detest on their passing.

Whenever I hear about someone dying, I think of John Donne’s work. I tend to avoid celebration of any human’s death, no matter how bad they were. The most tempted I have been was probably when Hussein was killed, but even then I did my best to resist the urge to celebrate it.

In the case of people who didn’t even commit heinous crimes against humanity, it’s just not worth the bad karma associated with cheering their demise.

Stay classy QT3

All the best to his family. Regardless of my opinion of the guy, their world has got to really suck right now, and that’s unfortunate.

Great piece by David Frum about Breitbart’s influence:

This indifference to detail suffused all of Breitbart’s work, and may indeed be his most important and lasting legacy. Breitbart sometimes got stories right (Anthony Weiner). More often he got them wrong (Sherrod). He did not much care either way. Just as all is fair in a shooting war, so manipulation and deception are legitimate tools in a culture war. Breitbart used those tools without qualm or regret, and he inspired a cohort of young conservative journalists to do likewise.

In time, Andrew Breitbart might have aged into greater self-control and a higher concept of public service. Premature death deprived him of the chance at redemption often sought and sometimes found by people who have done wrong in their lives and work.

And this is where it becomes difficult to honor the Roman injunction to speak no ill of the dead. It’s difficult for me to assess Breitbart’s impact upon American media and American politics as anything other than poisonous. When one of the leading media figures of the day achieves his success by his giddy disdain for truth and fairness—when one of our leading political figures offers to his admirers a politics inflamed by rage and devoid of ideas—how to withhold a profoundly negative judgment on his life and career?

Especially when that career was so representative of his times?

We live in a time of political and media demagoguery unparalleled since the 19th century. Many of our most important public figures have gained their influence and power by inciting and exploiting the ugliest of passions—by manipulating fears and prejudices—by serving up falsehoods as reported truth. In time these figures will one by one die. What are we to say of this cohort, this group, this generation? That their mothers loved them? That their families are bereaved? That their fans admired them and their employees treated generously by them? Public figures are inescapably judged by their public actions. When those public actions are poisonous, the obituary cannot be pleasant reading.


Two large assumptions there.