Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Ave, Skippy!

I can't conjure up any strong emotions about the death and/or significance of Andrew Breitbart, but I appreciate Skippy's insights in his latest post on Republicans and the media:

The Republican party didn't win seven out ten presidential elections between 1968 and 2004 because of people like Andrew Breitbart. At the end of the day, Andrew Breitbart wasn't championing conservatism as much as he was championing Andrew Breitbart. And that's fine. We live in a market society where such things should be admired. But let us not pretend that it was anything other than what it was.

I watched a few videos of Breitbart in action, and was struck by how he did next to nothing to elevate the level of discourse. This isn't to let the usual liberal suspects off the hook-- the Janeane Garofalos, the Keith Olbermanns, and all the other leftie blowhards. Neither side can claim any special nobility or integrity. And it's appalling to witness, live and in color, a mythologizing in progress. Breitbart hagiographies are everywhere; I'm having trouble avoiding them online. Did the man serve a purpose? I suppose he did, insofar as he encouraged certain conservatives to be less timid in expressing their views. But if "less timid" means "obnoxious," how does this bring us closer to a culture of true discussion and debate? Are we really in the era of "punch back twice as hard"?

Skippy writes:

It doesn't matter if what [Breitbart] did was pioneered by the "mainstream media" or the left, and that's a highly debatable point. Adopting the other side's deplorable tactics doesn't make one better than one's opponents[;] it merely levels the playing field in tawdriness.

All too true-- and this observation from a Canadian conservative.



Nathan B. said...

I agree very much about Breitbart. Actually, I really think the level of discourse among conservative commentators in the US has declined dramatically in the last few years. The "big names" in the field, which was formerly dominated by the likes of William Buckley, now include people like Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh. The latter recently called a young woman testifying before Congress a "slut" and a "prostitute" and said that she should post videos of herself having sex online for everyone to enjoy--just because she argued that birth control pills should be accessible for all women regardless of their employers' wishes regarding their insurance plans. It's one thing to disagree with her (and I don't), but this kind of rhetoric is absolutely sickening. The group of Republican presidential wannabes, who once included the likes of Colin Powell, now include Rick Santorum. Even Glenn Reynolds himself, who was formerly so reasonable, crossed the line some years ago from intelligent criticism of Obama to downright personal hatred. All in all, it's very dispiriting, indeed.

Elisson said...

Skippy is one of the most incisive political writers out there. Plus, he's damn funny when he wants to be.

Living as I do in Newt Gingrich's home turf - Marietta, Georgia - I especially enjoy how the Skipster demolishes pretty much everything Newty.