Archive - May 2009

May 19th

Not That Breit, Bart

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One of the disheartening things about post-millennial life is the official substitution of the RITUAL of contrition for actual contrition and, god forbid, accountability. As we've seen time and time again, there's basically a checklist of things people who "get in trouble" have to do, and once they've done them, they're allowed to continue being a part of polite society, even if they haven't corrected any of the underlying assumptions or behaviors that caused the mistake in the first place.

Keep that in the front of your mind as you enjoy this, the first paragraph of Andrew "Big Hollywood Founder" Breitbart's column for the Moonie Times, entitled "I, Jerk". ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!

"In this day of polarized politics, it's incumbent on good citizens to be vigorously truthful. Even in the heat of battle, partisans should own up to their mistakes. Rectifying errors builds credibility. Honest self-criticism ensures a healthy debate and a healthier democracy."

Man, that sounds awesome, doesn't it? I mean, if the opening paragraph does what it's supposed to do, and tell us about what's coming up in the rest of the column, then ol' Andy will be owning up to a mistake, rectifying his error, engaging in honest self-criticism, and when it's all done we'll have a healthy debate and a healthier democracy. Hooray!

I just hope the motherfucker has a whole series of columns planned, because what Andy ACTUALLY did was spend the whole column setting up his mistake in the most self-aggrandizing way possible, bury the actual mistake as the ostensible punchline of the piece, and... stop. He owns up to the mistake, and leaves everything after that to be assumed as part of the ritual. But that's bullshit, Andy, and we all know it.

The mistake, by the way, goes way past "doozy" to "holy shit, what a fucking doozy" on the mistake scale. I will tell it as briefly as I can, since Breitbart himself tells it in excruciating detail should you wish to Google it, or, as a better option, you can track down what the folks at Sadly, No had to say about it, because they say a lot of funny things I'd have probably said if I hadn't noticed they said them first. The short of it:

Andy Breitbart is out for drinks and appetizers with his wife. Suddenly, thousands of protesters march past the restaurant. Breitbart, seeing signs about "turning children into soldiers", gets infuriated by these damned hippies hating on our wonderful, freedom-fighting, all-volunteer troops. When one man raises his fist into the air, Breitbart snaps, runs up to a balcony, and, framed by a waving American flag*, flips the mighty middle finger of righteousness at the crowd. Pictures are taken. And a couple of days later, a reporter e-mails him and asks him why he was so upset at people protesting the forced slavery of the child armies in Uganda and the Congo.

There can be no true contrition without public humiliation, so please take a few hours to pause and reflect on the possibility that Andrew Breitbart may be the single stupidest motherfucker in the political sphere today. He's got Sean Hannity's love of facts and Bill O'Reilly's impulse control, combined with Joe The Plumber's vocabulary and, well, Andrew Breitbart's inflated sense of self-importance. And his "admission of error" is full of shit.

First, this happened over three weeks ago. Breitbart attributes this to three weeks of wrestling with his conscience. Having read Breitbart, obviously he has no conscience, and having seen Breitbart, he can't wrestle either. Since there are photos of him in all his glory, I'm comfortable with the wild speculation that Breitbart only jumped in the pool of public humiliation because he knew he was about to be pushed. Notice he did so in the Washington Times and on Big Hollywood, two places that are both literally and metaphorically the shallow end of the pool.

Real honest self criticism would have explored WHY you did what you did. WHY you felt the need to flip off a crowd of protesters in the first place. Why you didn't bother to read, listen, ask, or use any other means at your disposal to figure out what the fuck you were doing before you did it. As a liberal, I've had the word "knee-jerk" attached to my end of the political spectrum for decades, but Breitbart, upon the tap of the doctor's hammer, somehow managed to kick himself in the balls. That takes gumption. Stupid, stupid gumption.

And that's before we even get into the implication that, had the thousands of protesters NOT been protesting something even Andrew Breitbart would have to admit is an unforgivable evil, he would have been completely justified in flipping them off, and free to bask in the publicity his flag-draped bird would have provided him in Greater Wingnuttia. Which is precisely the kind of bullshit that is keeping us from having a "healthy debate" and a "healthier democracy". So fuck you, Andrew Breitbart. You don't earn any Big Man points for admitting your fuckup to your closest friends and supporters. Your fauxtonement is lacking by even the depraved standards of the post-modern contrition ritual, and if we're all lucky, the next time you raise your middle finger in misplaced anger, you'll choke on it.

*I shit you not, but I make no guarantees regarding the existence of Breitbart's shit.