Radical blogger, and social infidel firestorm bomber, Andrew Breitbart, is dead at 43. Watching the flow of internets reactions to his sudden death slowly roll into the virtual public square are telling in the portrait they create of a cunning and cruel man in life. I won’t be shedding any tears for losing Breitbart. I believe the divisive politics of hate will be less vicious without him knowingly and purposefully spewing predetermined lies at cultural touchstones for his sport and personal profiteering.
Breitbart’s early death reminds me of Johnnie Cochran’s untimely — but deserved — death. On March 28, 2007 I wrote — When the Body Bolts from the Mind — where I made this argument against smart people who pander to the dark side of the human condition:
We have many other historic examples of the deadly consequences of disconnecting the mind/body dyad. Johnnie Cochran used his immeasurable gifts and immense legal talents to cover the tracks of a murderer.
There is no way Cochran did not know O.J. Simpson killed Ron and Nicole. His prevarication between the hiding the truth and protecting a killer was a denial his body could not abide. Cochran’s mind perverted the legal system to win a truly pyrrhic victory that cost a life. His life. Not O.J.’s. A murderer was set free.
Cochran’s punishment for the covering of lies with false truths was his body disconnecting from his mind and punishing the very organ that allowed the lies life.
Breitbart lived on selling purposeful, incendiary, lies. He was James O’Keefe’s keeper and what Breitbart intentionally did to Shirley Sherrod will forever live in infamy on the internet and in the hearts and minds of every moral person in perpetuity:
Breitbart stumbled in the summer of 2010, when he posted a deceptively edited video purporting to show racist statements by an obscure African American government official named Shirley Sherrod. Sherrod, whose story actually illustrated how she overcame feelings of racism to help a white farmer save his land, was fired. Embarrassed, the Agriculture Department offered her a new job. She sued Breitbart for defamation. (Attorney Michael Rothbert, an expert on media law, said Sherrod could sue his estate.)
Perhaps there is more to know in the Breitbart death and he will be forced to tell more truths from the grave than he ever did in real life:
D.C. correspondent David Shuster calls right-wing blogger Andrew Breitbart a hypocrite for his silence on the subject of the rape allegation facing his conservative activist protégé James O’Keefe, even as Breitbart accuses Occupy protestors of failing to report rape. Shuster characterizes Breitbart as a “frequently unstable, publicity-seeking hack” and implores him to “get some psychological help.”
Andrew Breitbart is dead in the world, but the world has yet to finish him.