Andrew Breitbart’s epic lack of self-awareness
Update: Mike Stark has a video where Andrew Breitbart claims that he never knew that O’Keefe didn’t wear the ridiculous pimp costume into the ACORN offices. I’m skeptical.
I’m sort of amazed, right along with Joan Walsh, that the wingnutteria lack so much self-awareness that they think that screaming and throwing a tantrum and almost breaking down is a “rational” response from Andrew Breitbart, who is losing his shit rapidly as the stunt he helped pull with James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles against ACORN is being exposed as mostly bullshit and not a little bit racist. They think it’s self-evident that a conservative white guy should get to do whatever he wants; behaving yourself is for the undeserving—women, non-white people, liberals. Screeching and freaking out is “rational”…..if you’re a conservative white guy. It’s tautological. The word “rational” means “conservative white guy” in their book, so everything they do is “rational”, even if they’re Glenn Beck lying and crying on camera.
It figures. The same people who think this “rap” video is the bee’s knees can’t be expected to engage with reality, or dictionary definitions of the word “rational”.
The justification for Breitbart’s “kicking ass” like “John Wayne” (seriously, this is the commenters at his site’s own words) is that meanie liberals called him a racist. Quoting Joan Walsh:
The crux of Marcus’s argument is that Breitbart’s hysteria is justified, because in Breitbart’s words, “The worst thing you can do …in politically correct America…is accuse somebody of being a (sic) racism.”
Fine, Andrew. If it’s just a matter of one little word, I’ll happily agree to switch to Pam’s wonderful replacement term “color-arousal”. Let’s just say that James O’Keefe seems to be in a constant state of color-arousal:
Blumenthal’s Salon article detailed O’Keefe’s involvement in a white nationalist debate featuring American Renaissance’s Jared Taylor (we corrected the article to take out the charge that O’Keefe helped organize the event). Blumenthal and the New York Times and others have written about O’Keefe’s racially tinged pranks at Rutgers, where he organized a spoof “affirmative action bake sale” (where minorities got discounts) and protested the cafeteria carrying “Lucky Charms” cereal because it belittled Irish Americans. Then there’s that silly pimp stunt, with a fur coated costume borrowed straight from blaxploitation movies. It’s fair to raise questions about O’Keefe (and Breitbart’s) racial attitudes.
Don’t forget another piece of evidence to add to the overall puzzle: Hannah Giles uses terms like “thug organization” to describe ACORN. Why are they “thugs”, Hannah? Is it because they aggressively fill out those tax forms for their clients? Is it because they organize for better housing with brickbats? Do the voter registration drives run by ACORN all start off with a rousing chorus of “When You’re A Jet“?
And that was Pam’s point. If conservatives are going to say that the word “racist” is so bad that openly racist behavior can’t be called “racist”, then we’ll just have to use another term. Because what they’re trying to do with this emotional freak-out is shut down discussions they can’t win, and they can’t win them because they know they’re in the wrong. I’m personally unimpressed by conservative white guys and their female support staff claiming that labeling behavior is so wrong that it can’t be done no matter how accurate the label. If it hurts your feelings to be called a liar and a racist, maybe you should reconsider being a liar or a racist—or you could just own it. But wanting the space to perform the behaviors without anyone acknowledging what you do? Since when is that a right?
Joan notes that there are indeed things worse than being called a racist:
It’s clearly worse to be accused of supporting death panels for elderly people, of usurping the presidency you’re not eligible for, of being the murderous “Joker” from the Batman series, of being a totalitarian Marxist when you’re a mainstream corporate Democrat – all the charges the increasingly unhinged right routinely toss at Barack Obama.
I’ll add that it’s worse when you take a job to serve people who are underserved in general and need more help, and all you get for your troubles is a bunch of hateful wingnuts that have nothing better to do than make your life miserable, tell lies about you, stalk you, threaten you, try to get you fired, and now take highly edited videotapes of you that “prove” that you fit every ugly stereotype they have of your group—that feminists are evil perverts; that social workers, particularly people of color, are stupid and amoral; that community activists in urban areas are pretty much terrorists. It’s worse to be Dr. George Tiller, murdered because he thought even heavily pregnant women have a right to health and well-being. Or the employees at ACORN, targeted because they had the nerve to be out there every day helping low income people get housing and other improvements to their community. Or to be targeted because you work at Planned Parenthood, and your first response to a sexually active teenage girl coming in is to find legal ways to help her instead of slapping a pair of cuffs on her and calling the police. (Or whatever it is that Lila Rose thinks they’re supposed to do—turn them away and make them give birth in an alley, I suppose.)
It’s far, far worse to be a good person out there doing hard work for a good cause, and being targeted for abuse because a bunch of right wingers think the people you serve deserve to eat dirt and die for being sexually active, poor, gay, etc.
Of course, there is a huge difference between the accusations being lobbed at liberal politicians and activists by the unhinged right and being called racist for donning your costume from your “pimps and hos” party to juice up a deceitful video aimed at defunding better housing efforts for low income communities. The difference here is the truth of the accusations. If right wingers think calling someone a baby killer, a pedophila pusher, a back-stabbing terrorist sympathizer, or someone who helps pimps control 13-year-old prostitutes isn’t that bad, it’s because they know and we know their accusations are 100% horseshit. That, and they don’t think those of us who they lie about are human beings, really, and so we don’t deserve consideration.
What’s annoying to me is that Andrew Breitbart’s meltdown over the word “racist” resembles the one I’ve seen non-famous folks who buy the redneck philosophy perform over and over in cases where you’d think even the last grasp on plausible deniability has been abandoned. A short play:
Redneck philosophizer: “Did you hear the one about the (fill in unbelievably racist joke involving racial slurs that you thought went out with the KKK having any real power)?”
You, the commie symp: *pulls a face*
Redneck philosophizer: “I’m not a racist! I have no hate in my heart towards anyone! I just call them (fill in unbelievably offensive racial slur, including the N-word) when they act that way!”
When I hear Breitbart defend the ridiculous pimp costume in the ACORN videos—and that’s not even touching on the fact that O’Keefe didn’t even wear that pimp costume to the ACORN offices, because he knew that kind of racist joke would get him thrown on his ass in a millisecond—every variation of the above conversation I’ve born witness to comes immediately to mind.
Here’s the other thing to keep in mind as Breitbart substitutes belligerence for arguments: The whole “hiding your money from the IRS” advice accusation seems to have been created from heavy editing. Since Giles and O’Keefe went in presenting Giles as a streetwalker who was trying to escape an abusive pimp, the advice to hide her money away was likely advice about hiding it from a pimp, and only through editing did they manage to turn the pimp into the IRS. Breitbart almost surely knows how deceptive these videos are, and his freaking out is over losing control of the narrative. In the future, he should probably consider sticking to the unvarnished truth. It’s easier to keep the story straight if you’re not fudging the facts.