"Andy are you goofing on Elvis?"

>> Thursday, March 01, 2012

So I just read on Facebook: Andrew Breitbart is dead. Allegedly. You have to forgive a certain skepticism and mistrust. Huffington Post, which Breitbart co-created, reported it, but HuffPo also likes to print stories about how vaccines cause AIDS, about how everybody is really an immortal pink vibration in a universe that is really composed of quantum-flux-styrofoam packing peanuts, and which celebrities are divorcing whose baby. (It is a comment on the world we live in, perhaps, that the National Enquirer has become a somewhat serious exercise in journalism (c.f. the John Edwards fiasco) while something like HuffPo fills one with nostalgia for the "good old days" when the editors of supermarket tabloids occasionally decided a particularly libelous article about Liberace or an especially bizarre claim of alien abduction was really, actually, believe-it-or-not, too much even for their trashy rags.)

But then, NPR says it's true, too. Sure, and NPR is a reliable news source... I mean, not counting, for instance, the couple of days in July, 2010 when they fell for Andrew Breitbart's heavily-edited Shirley Sherrod video....

Okay, so maybe NPR isn't exactly the first place I'd go to fact-check a story involving Andrew Breitbart.

For years following Andy Kaufman's death, a lot of people wondered if he was dead or if this was just the latest piece of performance art from a notorious prankster who spent a lot of time and effort trying to convince people he wasn't really Tony Clifton (or that he was). Maybe that was an empty coffin, maybe Andy was hanging out at the graveyard during the ceremonies. So he's probably dead, because the psychic surgeons he paid to remove his cancer just palmed chicken guts and did a ten-year-old's magic show on him; some irony that the consummate prankster was pranked... unless he'd never had cancer, maybe the cancer was part of the act.

Everybody says Andrew Breitbart is dead, and I'm wondering if that just means Breitbart's protégé James O'Keefe--the videographer jackass who framed ACORN and got Federal probation for breaking into the office of a United States Senator--is going to show up at a voting place with a hidden camera and Breitbart's voter registration card. And then the real Breitbart will jump out of a closet (looking uncannily like John Lithgow as Dr. Emilio Lizardo in the movie Buckaroo Banzai) to scream at the poor elderly volunteer checking voter cards, "Hey lady, didn't'cha hear--I'm dead! Wocka-wocka-wocka!"

That'll show those voter fraud naysayers. Or something.

But no, I'm probably just being paranoid. The fact that Andrew Breitbart made a professional career out of pranks, hoaxes, frauds, and outright lies is surely irrelevant to the claim being made on the website he founded that he's no longer with the living. Sure, he edited videos to put subjects in a false light, defended the integrity of the convicted felon he put up to various pointless political stunts, practically boasted of his cavalier relationship to facts that were less important than his personal agenda. So what?

I mean, put it this way: I have no evidence that he isn't not dead.

Supposing he is dead. (I'm sure he is. Pretty sure. Probably. I think.) I realize there is a vein of cruelty in this piece. That it isn't generous or magnanimous, that it is, in fact, petty and small (much like Breitbart himself--rimshot!). Nil nisi bonum and all that, right? He is dead, so we should be kind. If not because Breitbart, who seemed to be happiest when he was destroying people's livelihoods and reputations, deserves it, then because surely his family and friends and those who loved him despite his obvious defects of character don't deserve to suffer by being reminded that Breitbart was a loathsome moral toad, a fungal growth on the Internet, a kind of tumor parasitizing context and metastasizing falsehoods. They should be allowed the benefit of remembering the good times, the comrade, the drinking buddy, the co-worker and boss. It is cruel and callous to observe that Breitbart's great accomplishments included wrecking lives and trashing cyberspace with some of the worst websites ever invented (HuffPo, BigWhatever, sites whose essence can be boiled down to aggregating and regurgitating everybody else's content plus a few op-ed pieces and then filling the whitespace with spamlike advertising--eBaum's World for people who can read above the third-grade level).


Remember when Hunter Thompson wrote an obituary for Richard Nixon? And he called it, aptly, "He Was A Crook"? And the title wasn't even an adequate preview of the substance, not even a warm-up pitch, the title was just tossing the ball up and catching it on the way out of the locker room? It's a perfect piece of invective. Of course, Thompson could justify kicking Nixon when he was not just down, but also underground, by observing:

...I have written worse things about Nixon, many times, and the record will show that I kicked him repeatedly long before he went down. I beat him like a mad dog with mange every time I got a chance, and I am proud of it. He was scum.

And me, I'm afraid this is probably the first time I've written about Breitbart at any length, and I guess I should have kicked him before now, but, honestly, he wasn't much worth the trouble. Richard Nixon got--and deserved--Hunter S. Thompson, because surely the second-worst President is sufficiently epic to deserve a foil of Thompson's caliber. (An aside: just in case you assumed I might have been referring to a more recent President: the worst President in American history would have to be James Buchanan--I mean, if there's a "Things Not To Do" list for American Presidents, surely "Do not allow South Carolina to secede from the Union" is somewhere near the top, don't'cha think?) Nixon was a great big sewer rat; Breitbart was (is?) a smaller and wormier mouse, flea-bitten and mangy, and he gets--and deserves--a two-bit blogger with about a dozen regular readers taking a few minutes out of his morning to tinkle on his shroud.

Good riddance to Andrew Breitbart.



timb111 Thursday, March 1, 2012 at 1:18:00 PM EST  

Were do you get off accusing Andy Kaufman of dying? You Obama-loving liberal fascists really TICK ME OFF! Here you go accusing the greatest comic of all times of being dead. Well your ded yurself from the neck up!!!!! If you had a brian in yor hed youd know not to b e an America hating liberal and enjoy a gret comc like Andy. You will shirley ROAST for this!

Eric Thursday, March 1, 2012 at 1:40:00 PM EST  

Hooray! I finally got Stonekettle-esque hate mail from... from one of my regulars, pulling my leg.


Well, thanks for trying, anyway. :)

Janiece Thursday, March 1, 2012 at 1:43:00 PM EST  


If you were CONECTED to our LORD AND SAVOR, then you'd know that Andy is in the bosun of GOD. Unlike you, who WILL BERN IN HELL.

Warner Thursday, March 1, 2012 at 2:41:00 PM EST  

But I don't know any scurrilous Interlinga.

You probably told that judge in Montana that joke and tricked him into e-mailing from an official account too.

Nathan Thursday, March 1, 2012 at 4:38:00 PM EST  

Sorry Eric,

I thoroughly enjoyed this one from start to finish. I have no evidence that he isn't not dead.


Nick from the O.C.,  Thursday, March 1, 2012 at 6:28:00 PM EST  

Loved the link to H.S. Thompson, one of my fave MSM journalists who always kept things fair and balanced.

Do you think he was influenced, in his later years, by Kurt Cobain?

Megan Thursday, March 1, 2012 at 10:32:00 PM EST  

Yeah, my first thought was that it must be a Breitbartian trick to get the libtards to say rude things about the dead.

Leanright,  Friday, March 2, 2012 at 12:49:00 AM EST  

Wow! kinda low to say such scathing things about a mad on the day he died. At least give it 24 hours!

Even I gave 48 hours to Alco-murderer Ted Kennedy when he died.

Eric, I think you were harder on Breitbart than on Osama bin Laden.

Leanright,  Friday, March 2, 2012 at 1:11:00 PM EST  

He left behind a wife and four children. You believe they are better off without him?

Just curious.

Carol Elaine Friday, March 2, 2012 at 6:42:00 PM EST  

Leanright, a person can still feel saddened for his family losing him while recognizing that he was a loathsome creature who said far worse about Ted Kennedy immediately after his death than any of us are saying about Breitbart.

I have compassion for his family for the grief they must be experiencing after losing him at so young an age. I have no compassion for Breitbart at all and think America is better off without him.

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