‘So?’: Remembering Andrew Breitbart
-I’m still reeling a bit from the gut punch. Damn…Goddamn it…
-People have been looking for a way to carry-on the battles that Andrew Breitbart waged [Richard McEnroe is the best at making the point and TWB has issued an inspirational call-to-arms]. I think Gavin McInnes has come up with a damn fine way that all of us take the offensive forward. From his post over at Taki Mag:
When I was on Greg’s show Red Eye with Breitbart we were asked what we thought of Trump sponsoring a GOP debate. Greg and I had the knee-jerk reaction of scoffing at the whole thing. When Breitbart asked us what was so funny we said, “Well, it’s obviously just some rich guy showboating.” Then he taught me a word I never really paid attention to before: “So?”
This word defines Breitbart to me more than any other. At a bar one night I was whining about the allegation that all libertarians are funded by the Koch brothers. “So?” he replied. Andrew didn’t play the PC left’s game. Libertarians don’t get magical checks from the Koch brothers, but so what if they did? George Soros spends billions paying people he likes. There’s nothing wrong with that, either.
Another evening we were both arguing with someone who still believed government can create jobs. She was from Madison and like all liberals there, she saw Governor Scott Walker as a union-busting thug who hated the working man. I explained that Walker’s privatization created way more jobs than the government did and she said, “Yeah, but they were all just tourism jobs.” Breitbart ended the whole argument with, “So?”
What a word. It’s only two letters but it shows the PC left they’ve never thought past the silly hysteria that surrounds their accusations. Oil companies have had record profits this year. So? That’s what they’re supposed to do. Up in Canada, my father has been fighting with the local schoolboard because they are hiring fundamentalist Muslims as guidance counselors. The trustee in charge of the program said my father’s comments could be construed as anti-Islamic and I was surprised to see him explain why they are not. “You need to learn Breitbart’s magic word,” I said in an email. “When she calls you anti-Islamic, say, ‘So?’” This was yesterday.
…His boldness was contagious. Days after meeting him you catch yourself strutting down the street with your chest puffed-out yelling, “So?” at everyone who has a problem.
Last night on Red Eye, Mr. [bet he's not used to that label] McInnes wore a t-shirt with just the word, in big letters ‘SO?’ on it. He told Greg Gutfeld he may market it. Greg suggested they do, with the proceeds going to Andrew’s* family.
Look, many of us cannot think fast on our feet, but we can remember ‘SO?’ and it shouldn’t be too difficult to know the right time to use it. So here’s a way that The Army Of Davids can easily carry forward the work of Andrew Breitbart.
-Smitty offers some great clips of AB in action and a very appropriate quotation from The Good Book. A highlight:
Breitbart’s name is good, and will be as celebrated by the good Americans as it is reviled by the bad. A litmus test. Andrew was by no means sorrowful, though: he understood that Progressivism is, at its heart, both cowardice and the projection of cowardice upon others.
Progressivism/Socialism/Communism is passive aggression writ large. Confronted with a Breitbart, they could do nothing but howl.
And howl, Andrew did. He also understood that life is Tragic and Absurd, that we bring about our own troubles [the pure definition of 'tragic'] and that man, being a creature easily prone to do foolish things, makes a right mess of it [life] and this is the way things are, so it’s best to enjoy the ride. As Matt Labash relates in a tribute I quote some more from below:
…I asked him when someone finally shot him, “Can I read a poem at your memorial service? ”
“I think I should stop,” he admitted of his latest caper. “But it’s so fun and the hate mail is something to behold….And of course you can read my favorite poem, William Carlos Williams’s ‘The Red Wheelbarrow’ at my wake.” Well my friend, you mercifully didn’t get shot. But here you go anyway:
so much depends
a red wheel
glazed with rain
beside the white
I’ve never had any idea what the hell that poem means. And I suspect that neither Breitbart, nor William Carlos Williams, had a clue either. But it doesn’t matter. As Andrew held, sometimes absurdity is worth it for its own sake. And as he once wrote to me, “I hope people see that I’m dead serious about what I’m dead serious about, and besides that, it’s all about a good laugh.”
-Yesterday, Stacy McCain posted some thoughts on the passing of his friend. A highlight:
That story captures the essence of what was so amazing about Breitbart: He was always open to everybody. How many hundreds — perhaps thousands — of people had his personal cell-phone number? He would talk to anybody. Merely by talking to them, and more importantly, by listening to them, he would make them feel important, make them believe that there was real value to whatever it was they were doing for the cause.
A few months ago, I’d called or texted Breitbart about something and left my cell-phone in the kitchen, plugged in to re-charge, while I worked in my home office. So the phone rang and my son Jefferson answered, then brought the phone to me. Andrew and I talked a while and, after I’d hung up the phone, Jefferson said: “Wow, Dad, you know Andrew Breitbart?”
A lot of people knew Andrew Breitbart. He loved to meet people, to hang out and socialize. Among those whom you could call “celebrities” in the conservative movement, he was the most accessible person I knew, no matter how famous he became.
Stacy links a good example of this written by Aleister at American Glob. A highlight:
In the Fall of 2008, I was unemployed. In addition to looking for full time work, I was immersing myself in conservative new media. I had heard of Andrew Breitbart through his appearances on Red Eye and his work with Matt Drudge but back then his name wasn’t nearly as ubiquitous as it is today. Even so, when I read a news story that said Breitbart was launching a new group blog called BIG Hollywood, I was excited by the idea. Without expecting much, I emailed him. All I said was that I heard about BIG Hollywood and I liked his idea. How can I help?
Less than ten minutes later, he wrote back.
“Thanks for writing. Here’s my cell number… call me.”
You have to understand, as a blogger I email other bloggers and media people all the time. I never get a response like that so quickly. I was a little stunned but once I had a chance to gather my thoughts I called him and he answered.
We talked about his background and mine, what he was trying to do and the people he had already recruited to help him. I remember thinking at the time – I can’t believe I’m talking to Andrew Breitbart.
-If you know who Charles Johnson is [and was], you’ll get the joke Andrew makes in the video Stacy posted here.
-Iowahawk remembers his friend. A highlight:
Breitbart, of course, reveled in it, and took great delight in retweeting and exposing that hate, the real source of which is clear: unlike meek approval-seeking chickenshits like me, he relished poking at hornets’ nests, lifting up rocks, calling out the bullies on the playground. He made himself an enemy of corrupt political con artists who operate on latent threats of thuggery, called them out on it, and, best of all, knew exactly how they would react before they did. He deserved a Pulitzer, but got something better: their opprobrium.
Plenty will be written about Andrew Breitbart in the next few days, some flattering, some not. As for me, I will drink two beers in his honor tonight, and remember him the way he was last December in Venice – a big, lovable, random, generous, fearless, patriotic grinning goofball surrounded by his family, basking in the coolness of it all.
-Matt Labash has fond and, shall we say, ‘interesting’ memories of his fellow partner in crime. A highlight:
The next morning, we rode together to the airport. As usual, I didn’t have to do much talking. Breitbart was full of stories and ideas and asides. He sang along lustfully when our cab driver blasted Tina Marie’s ‘80s hit “Lover Girl.” He told me of his super-secret guerrilla PR campaign for the upcoming documentary on him, appropriately titled, “Hating Breitbart.” He would start an anonymous website asking people to upload their hating Breitbart videos, in which they’d be encouraged to cap on him mercilessly. He would blindly commission – for high five figures – Obama propagandist Shepard Fairey to put up anti-Breitbart posters all over L.A. Then he’d call a press conference, announcing who the sponsor of all the anti-Breitbart animus was – Andrew Breitbart himself. It would’ve been a fine caper.
Of their recent dinner with Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn:
When Ayers asked me what I was reading right now, I told him “Moby Dick,” which actually lived up to its billing. Ayers agreed, though added, as any good academic would, “You’ve picked up the gay subtext?” Breitbart nearly choked on his tofu and quinoa. “You mean in Moby Dick?” Andrew asked. “Or at this dinner?”
-From Jonathan Last’s fine remembrance:
Breitbart had a peripatetic mind—lots of ideas, most of them big, some of them very, very good. (I remember one conversation with him, about ten years ago, where he spun out, at length, a concept for a micro-blogging service that I told him was crazy. In nearly every particular, he conceived of Twitter four years before Twitter was invented.)
-Stephen Hayes recalls part of the conversation he had with Andrew last Saturday:
On Saturday, Andrew was more contemplative than usual. He was concerned about being away from his family as much as his hectic schedule seemed to require. The blessing of a career like the one Andrew had is that he could make his own schedule. He traveled more than a father and husband with a typical 9-to-5 job, but when he was not on the road he often worked from home and got more family time than a normal job would provide. He told me again, as he had literally dozens of times earlier, what a saint his wife Susie was to put up with all of the complications that went along with being his spouse. The balance is difficult for anyone in our profession and Andrew wanted to be sure he was finding the right one. We had barely started that conversation when our pressing schedules made us end it, for good as it turns out.
-From Ladd Ehlinger’s tribute:
We’d since made up over common cause vis-a-vis “Weinergate” and the suspect Glennie Blech. Andrew and I corresponded on occasion. A few calls. The plan was to have a beer when our paths crossed geographically.
We’ll not have that beer now.
None of us will, but we can knock back a few in his hone, as I intend to do tonight.
-Speaking of Andrew and Glenn Back, Dan Collins tells us the former’s side of the story of their clash. Thanks, Dan. I’m with Andrew on this one. Beck has shown himself to be a petty jerk; how sad.
-I’ll leave you with the best tribute I’ve seen to the man: the one done by on Thursday Night. Reminds me of an old-time Irish Wake…
Here’s Part One…
Here’s Part Two…
A very special thanks to RightSightings for posting the video.
* I’m taking the liberty or breaking practice and referring to
him by his first name though I never met or had any contact
with him and obtained his permission to do so. I can offer
no argument out of Right Reason for doing so. It just feels