Breitbart’s Last Laugh
10:44 PM, Mar 1, 2012 • By MATT LABASH
I tried to calm Breitbart down several times, to no avail. A few years back, he told me the doctor said that he needed to decelerate his stress levels. Consequently, he wanted me to teach him how to fly fish. Then he thought better of it. The problem, he admitted, was, “Every time I see a tree, I just want to kick its ass.”
The last time I saw Andrew was just a few weeks ago in what turned out to be one of his last capers: dinner at a swank Chicago penthouse with former Weather Underground terrorists/Obama confidants Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn. Andrew and I often disconnected on politics. Even though we were both conservatives, his mode was a little ferocious for my taste. We knew this, however. And so, it was never an issue. What was important is that he had the quality that all people I like most have: he made me laugh. Whatever his faults, he was wicked and loyal and funny – both sick and dark in the best possible way.
Our party arrived at our economy hotel, which sat next to a highway in the ghetto. It smelled of failure and water damage. Breitbart showed up late, letting me know he was on the grounds by sending a text which read: “We have to score some heroin before we head out….Wait, I think there’s someone outside my hotel room who can help.” We did not score heroin, which neither of us used, though in the hotel bar, we all doubled over as Andrew worked out his shtick during pre-game drinks as he proudly explained to us a new coinage of his – “Retrobate” – the process whereby one sexually fantasizes about aged actresses who you once had a crush on, in their younger incarnation.
Our friend, Daily Caller editor Tucker Carlson, had won the Ayers dinner at an Illinois Humanities Council auction, and had brought us along. Tucker and I were a little worried that we had in our possession a human grenade in Breitbart, though if we were being honest with ourselves, that’s precisely why we brought him. With Andrew, every day was anything-can-happen day.
As it happened, Breitbart was on his best behavior. “I’m here to learn,” Andrew said facetiously. It was part of the pleasure of keeping company with him. He wasn’t just a friend, he was a co-conspirator. Once we arrived at the apartment, much to Andrew’s and Ayers’s chagrin, they got along famously. Just two guys having dinner, finding commonality, even if Andrew regarded it his hidebound duty to passive-aggressively heckle Ayers as he served us plates of hoisin ribs and farmhouse cheeses. (“This is the bomb, Bill,” Breitbart said to the former explosives-rigger.)
When Ayers asked me what I was reading right now, I told him “Moby Dick,” which actually lived up to its billing. Ayers agreed, though added, as any good academic would, “You’ve picked up the gay subtext?” Breitbart nearly choked on his tofu and quinoa. “You mean in Moby Dick?” Andrew asked. “Or at this dinner?”
Though the dinner took place on Super Bowl Sunday, Ayers and co. abruptly dismissed us before halftime, leaving our plan of attack only half realized, as we were attempting to ease into the evening like gentlemen and polite dinner guests. When we adjourned to the Drake Hotel bar to catch the end of the game and commiserate about how we got rolled, or “community organized” as Breitbart put it, I still had a list of Ayers questions that needed answering. So as I ticked through my list, I asked Breitbart to help fill in the blanks, in character, as Ayers. He eagerly obliged.
Me: “Who taught you how to make bombs? And could you still rig one up if pressed?”
Breitbart, as Ayers: “That’s interesting. I’d like for you to try this Chilean sea bass that’s been encrusted with a special Phyllo dough.”
The next morning, we rode together to the airport. As usual, I didn’t have to do much talking. Breitbart was full of stories and ideas and asides. He sang along lustfully when our cab driver blasted Tina Marie’s ‘80s hit “Lover Girl.” He told me of his super-secret guerrilla PR campaign for the upcoming documentary on him, appropriately titled, “Hating Breitbart.” He would start an anonymous website asking people to upload their hating Breitbart videos, in which they’d be encouraged to cap on him mercilessly. He would blindly commission – for high five figures – Obama propagandist Shepard Fairey to put up anti-Breitbart posters all over L.A. Then he’d call a press conference, announcing who the sponsor of all the anti-Breitbart animus was – Andrew Breitbart himself. It would’ve been a fine caper.