As the world is aware by now, Andrew Breitbart passed away this morning. There have been a plethora of tributes and memorials across the internet dedicated to Mr. Breitbart. However, there have also been a fair number of “good riddance” articles and even more vile tweets.
The opening lines of the article sent me reeling:
“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.”
Initially, I was appalled at the sheer audacity of Mr. Taibbi. I thought to myself, “how could someone be so putrid and insanely crass?”. But as I read the article, I had a different sentiment creep into my consciousness: “Might this be a fitting tribute from an ideological opponent of Breitbart?”
Taibbi provides examples of why he appreciates what Breitbart did:
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 … Breitbart could legitimately claim to have the biggest, hairiest balls on earth.
If someone said that about me, I would thank them – damn near hug them – for it. Why? Because when men of a certain personality type are told that they have “big balls” for something they have done, that is a huge compliment about one’s character, fearlessness, and fortitude.
Taibbi also gave Breitbart huge kudos for his ACORN reporting:
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.
Matt Taibbi even addressed the personal “feud” that existed between himself and Breitbart, saying:
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
Taibbi didn’t write a hate-filled, insult-laden article about Andrew Breitbart. Matt Taibbi acknowledged the impact that his journalistic colleague made upon the world – even though they stood in opposition to one another.
The article finished with a send-off that surely angered many Breitbart supporters – however this should not anger anyone, but rather make them appreciative that even those opposed to Breitbart gave a respectful farewell (which we know Andrew would have Re-Tweeted!):
But he [Breitbart] 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.”
I don’t expect many to quite understand how this is, what I called, a “respectful farewell”. I just hope that, when my time comes, one of my friends stands at the funeral and takes my favorite insult and throws it back at me by emphatically saying, ”Hey T… go fist yourself!”
In the often misunderstood realm of a testosterone-driven personality, this would not be insulting nor disrespectful… but rather a very fitting farewell.
The world has lost a magnificent personality that left an indelible mark on journalism, social media, politics, and much more. My condolences go to his family, and all who were close to him.
(February 1, 1969 – March 1, 2012)