I had an unusually horrifying day today, beginning with having no hot water and progressively sliding downhill from there; band-aids were even involved toward the end. But through all the setbacks, pre-emptions, and lacerations I still had a little pep in my step, because someone very poisonous and revolting just left this mortal coil. Needless to say, I’m talking about Andrew Breitbart.
I’m somewhat hesitant to admit this, given that grave-dancing is generally an avocation of the right; pill-popping Rush Limbaugh has repeatedly chortled over the demise of various “dead dopers,” just as Breitbart himself unleashed a barrage of slander against Ted Kennedy the day he died. On the day of their passing, even the most thoroughly dreadful people are thought to “deserve” some respect, if only for the sake of their families. Well, I don’t buy it. As Marc Antony put it, the evil men do lives long after them, while the good is interred with their bones; if that’s so, Breitbart won’t need a very big hole, to put it delicately.
As for the evil, the list is long, and it will long outlive him; with the exception of Anthony Weiner, all of his victims were innocent, and he went to his grave never having apologized to any of them. Had his vicious, intentionally misleading slanders against ACORN and Shirley Sherrod contained even a grain of truth, he might have been forgiven for simply falling victim to his own overzealous partisanship, but the fact remains that he dedicated his short life to mercilessly attacking a lengthening list of enemies, truth be damned.
Like every other power-drunk right-winger, he never tired of whining about being the victim of imaginary liberal conspiracies, even as he relentlessly conspired, with the help of his merry band of misfits, to do harm to others by any means necessary. Remorseless as he was paranoid, every other month he loudly proclaimed the imminent demise of everything from “the institutional left” to Obama’s reelection, and if reality stubbornly failed to conform to his fevered ramblings, he wasn’t shy about attempting to create it out of whole cloth. Too often, he was successful.
Most of the obituaries I’ve read so far are refreshingly honest; all admit that the guy was no hero, but they daintily hesitate to let fly, when letting fly is just what is needed. Yeah, the guy had “passion,” but that sort of passion can be found in any dive bar after midnight. And he had “beliefs,” too, beliefs of the sort that lead many a grabby young know-nothing to a cushy and failure-free life on the wingnut welfare rolls. He was also “outspoken,” but given the video above, that wasn’t anything to be proud of. Surely no one cringed harder at that performance than the wife and children we’re supposed to be fretting over today.
Sadly, Breitbart’s demise won’t do anything to stop the brand of “journalism” he created. As the right moves further and further from the bounds of both reality and decency, the demand for malicious and fake “news” that serves, however ephemerally, their nefarious causes, is all but inexhaustible. And last time I checked, the world wasn’t exactly running out of bombastic, mendacious charlatans willing to sell their souls, not to mention their reputations, to advance the selfish goals of scheming billionaires. Even the Grim Reaper can’t change that, but today you have to give him credit for trying.