NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images
So Andrew Breitbart is dead. Here’s what I have to say to that, and I’m sure Breitbart himself would have respected this reaction: Good! Fuck him. I couldn’t be happier that he’s dead.
I say this in the nicest possible way. I actually kind of liked Andrew Breitbart. Not in the sense that I would ever have wanted to hang out with him, or even be caught within a hundred yards of him without a Haz-Mat suit on, but I respected the shamelessness. Breitbart didn’t do anything by halves, and even his most ardent detractors had to admit that he had a highly developed, if not always funny, sense of humor.
For instance, it would be dishonest not to tip a hat to him for that famous scene when he hijacked Anthony Weiner’s own self-immolating “apology” press conference, and held up the entire event by standing at the lectern and congratulating himself at length, before Weiner could let the humiliating healing begin.
For that one, brief, shining moment– still one of the most painful-to-watch YouTube spectacles of all time, right there with Mitt Romney’s priceless attempt at singing “Who Let the Dogs Out?” with a group of black voters in Florida in 2008 – Breitbart could legitimately claim to have the biggest, hairiest balls on earth.
Watching Weiner apologize to Breitbart later in that same event was certainly chilling for a number of reasons (if I were Weiner, I wouldn’t have apologized to that fucker even under torture) but it was hard not to appreciate the deliciousness of the scene from Breitbart’s point of view. Watching Weiner pause, swallow hard, and make the extraordinary decision to plant his lips squarely on the loathsome Breitbart’s ass on national television, that was like the ultimate Mona Lisa masterpiece of right-wing media provocations. That the outrageous Breitbart was standing right there, looking gorgeously gassy in his unbuttoned shirt, bloated Joey Buttafuoco cheeks and splendiforous silver half-mullet, made the humiliation of the trim and neatly-groomed Weiner even more abject.
Furthermore, the ACORN videos made by Breitbart and his two young acolytes, Hannah Giles and James O’Keefe – it’s hard not to see the inspired humor behind their elaborate stunt. And anyone who’s heard their proposals before ACORN staffers to bring underage girls over the border as part of a white-(or nonwhite-) slaving startup firm, and doesn’t think the ACORN responses (or non-responses, as it were) were shocking, they’re deluding themselves. In the Baltimore office, they ran the whole underage hooker-den spiel past an ACORN staffer, and got the following response: “You are gonna use three of them – they are gonna be under 16, so you is eligible to get child tax credit and additional child tax credit.”
That is seriously messed up material. Did they edit the videos heavily? Hell yes. Did they make ACORN’s behavior out to be a lot worse than it was? Absolutely. But there’s no way to watch the raw footage and not grasp how totally nuts some of this ACORN “counseling” was. We have to give Breitbart that.
Breitbart has written some nasty things about me personally, once contrived to publish my private emails online, and even teamed up with Rush Limbaugh to humorously mis-identify me as a behind-the-scenes marionettist of the “media-Democrat industrial complex” (Breitbart thought I was improperly advising Occupy leaders), but all that’s okay. I think today, it’s safe to stand back and simply recognize that while many people go through their lives without leaving distinguishing marks, Andrew Breitbart definitely had his moments.
But he also had enough of a sense of humor to appreciate why someone like me shouldn’t bother to pretend I’m sad he’s dead. He wouldn’t, in my place. So to use one of his favorite words: Good riddance, cocksucker.* Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.
* See the following Breitbart quote: “I like to call someone a raving cunt every now and then, when it’s appropriate, for effect… ‘You cocksucker.’ I love that kind of language.”
UPDATE: Well done, Breitbart fans, well done! In less than 24 hours you’ve hacked into my Wiki page, published my telephone number on Twitter, called the Rolling Stone offices pretending to be outraged “advertisers” (anonymous ones, who hung up before we could figure out which “ads” to pull), and then spent all night calling and texting my phone with various threats and insults, many of them directed at my family. “Better grow eyes in the back of your head,” was one; “I’m going to take a shit on your mother’s grave,” was another; a third called my wife a “piece of shit like you,” and many others called me a “pile of human excrement.”
Those last ones to me were the most interesting because that quote is lifted directly from Breitbart’s own obit of Ted Kennedy, which like me Breitbart ran just hours after his subject died. So that means the writers of these letters knew that what I did was exactly the same as what Breitbart had done, and yet they still found a way to be unironically outraged on Breitbart’s behalf. I thought: “These people don’t even get their own jokes.”
The really crazy thing is that I was sort of trying to be nice to Breitbart – the obit was at least half an homage. Not that I liked the guy, but he did have a few attractive qualities, one of which being the fact that he got a kick out of the nasty things people said about him. He even once had a plan to set up a website encouraging anti-Breitbart abuse, and was going to let it ride for a while, even spending six figures to hire an Obama p.r. flack to make anti-Breitbart posters, until finally revealing that he’d sponsored the whole thing. Would a person like that really expect someone like me to send flowers when he croaked? No way: he’d be insulted if I didn’t give him one last kick in the balls on the way out the door.
But I guess no homage is complete without a celebration of the whole man, and the whole man in this case was not just a guy who once said, “It’s all about a good laugh,” but also someone who liked to publish peoples’ personal information on the internet, hack into private web sites, tell lies in an attempt to get his enemies fired, and incite readers to threats against his targets and their families, including death threats. I left all of that stuff out of my obit, but now, thanks to you readers, that’s all in there as well, leaving, for posterity, a much more complete picture of the man.