But if it be a sin to covet honour, I am the most offending soul alive. (Henry V, Shakespeare)
CHICAGO, March 1, 2012—Conservative media icon Andrew Breitbart, aged 43, is dead. An innovator, entrepreneur, provocateur, and loud voice of the Right passed into the ether he dominated for so long.
Breitbart was brash, bold, irreverent, and audacious. He was the man people loved to hate and hated to love. It appeared to be one of his objectives. Unlike others in punditry, Andrew Breitbart did not give a damn what anyone thought about him. He did what he did with relish and a certain joie de vivre. If there could be any criticism of him, it would be he had too much fun doing what he did.
Though most people saw the public Breitbart, there was a private side too. He was a dedicated husband and father. He had a solid relationship with his father-in-law, Orson Bean, whom he credited for his critical thinking and some of his success.
Breitbart’s keen insight into the psyche of the average American was key to his popularity and the success of his Internet Empire. He was also a bit of a media showman in the same vein as Hearst, McCormick, Annenberg, and Pulitzer.
Breitbart loved attention, as it gave him an opportunity to get his message out his way. The rants (sometimes teetering on the profane), the finger pointing, and the accusations, all on public display, made him look like the madman of the right, until you realized it was showmanship. He was not just pointing fingers and name calling; he was making a point.
Andrew Breitbart brought a unique passion to political discourse. It was this passion that drove him incessantly. It was this passion that made him a success. His passion drove him to do things that others feared and, who knows, maybe he even feared himself.
Breitbart let controversy roll of his back like water off a duck. He couldn’t care less. He just moved on to the next thing or controversy. It was this disregard that made him popular with so many.
In an age of over-sensitivity, bland criticism, politically correct reportage, and bland media, Breitbart stood out and above the rest. He generated attention, sometimes purposely, and he made sure he got his fair share of it.
It is not often a person comes along who can not only create something new, but also create a new niche and totally conquer and dominate it.
Breitbart died way too young, with much more to look forward to. We can hope his work and works live on after him. He set an example for others to follow and emulate.
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers salute you Andrew Breitbart.
Peter V. Bella is a retired Chicago Police Officer, freelance writer and photographer, cook, and raconteur. He likes to be the sharp stick that pokes, prods, and annoys. His opinions are his and his alone.
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