Last night, after Andrew Breitbart had already left to catch his plane, a few of us hung around to chat and to try to answer one question: what was the takeaway from Breitbart’s talk? Eat their eyeballs? Women’s dominance in the Tea Party means that men are eunuchs? The fact that the Tea Party needs to sex up a bit (Breitbart suggested cleavage) to attract younger people? Our responsibility to buy tickets to conservative movies even if we don’t attend, because brave Hollywood conservatives need box office support? Nope.
Those were all enjoyable motifs that Breitbart interjected repeatedly to liven up his talk, but the real takeaway message was this one: The true battle today isn’t being fought in the political arena, it’s being fought in the social and culture arena. It’s there that we need to engage the Left; to out-Alinsky the Alinsky-ites; and to call Leftists on their behavior. We can’t be afraid of confrontation, unless that confrontation will utterly destroy our lives and our livelihoods.
At first glance, Breitbart isn’t your typical warrior. He’s got a cloud of graying hair; a smooth, youthful face; bright, clear blue eyes; and he dresses casually in sports jacket, jeans and All-Stars. He is surprisingly handsome. I say surprisingly because his handsomeness doesn’t derive from his looks (although he is very good-looking). His handsomeness derives from his crackling vitality. He has enough charisma for two people. Even standing still, Breitbart is kinetic. This kinetic quality comes about because — and this is a rare trait — you can actually see his mind working. He is an unstructured speaker, but he brings such humor, energy, wit and (here’s that word again) vitality to his speech, that you feel you are getting the pleasure of engaging in a one-on-one conversation with the most interesting man in the room.
Breitbart’s discursive speech covered a broad range of topics. The eaten eyeballs trope came about after he explained that he tells his kids that, if someone is trying to bully them, they should first try to handle the matter politely and, if that fails, they should yank out the other person’s eyeballs and eat them, a theme he returned to throughout his talk. Since we were a sophisticated audience, we understood that Breitbart was not actually advocating violence and cannibalism. Instead, he was reminding us that we cannot back down from a fight. The Left’s MO is to bully all who threaten it or stand in its way, and the only way to handle a bully is through confrontation. Eyeball eating was an amusing metaphor for the need to stand up to the insults and intimidation.
The “men are eunuchs” point was another recurring theme. Breitbart pointed out that women outnumbered men in the room, something he says he’s noticed over and over again in his dealings with the Tea Party. While acknowledging that women have more free time (or, at least, more flexibility to their time), he also went on to make the broader point — one I’ve made repeatedly in this blog — which is that the Left, using our schools, works hard to emasculate men. Rather than cultivating their natural qualities as virtues (bravery, loyalty, energy, etc.), it’s castigated them as vices (aggression, bullheadedness, hyperactivity), and reduced many American men to cowering ciphers in touch with their feminine feelings.
Cleavage? Yup, that came up too, since Breitbart told us that a friend of his believes that the Tea Party should be sexed up. I’m not sure about the cleavage, but there was a larger point there, which is that young people are definitely missing from the Tea Party movement. Older people have a visceral understanding about the Tea Party’s necessity, since it stands for principles that hit them where they live — mortgages, food, jobs, etc. Young people, however, need another hook to engage them, and sex — or, at least, sexiness – sells. I would also argue that intellectual coherence sells, and the Tea Party has it in spades. We just need to figure out how to market it to the young.
And that’s where Hollywood comes in. When Breitbart decided there was a culture war that needed to be fought, and that Hollywood was Ground Zero in this war, his first thought was that he had, at most, an army of three: Tom Selleck, Robert Davi and Chachi (Scott Baio). As one Hollywood conservative revealed to Breitbart, though, Hollywood conservatives now number at least 1,500, drawn from all walks of Hollywood life, from writers, to stuntmen, to electricians, to actors, producers and directors.
The problem for Hollywood conservatives is that they commit career suicide if they come out of the conservative closet. Breitbart told stories of people who were permanently blacklisted for donating a hundred dollars to the “wrong” cause. This means that those stars who have come out openly as conservatives have taken an enormous risk. It was in this context that Breitbart said urged us, even if we’re not seeing a movie buy the ticket for that all-important opening weekend. And to buy the star’s book. And do whatever else we can to make it clear to the money people that there is money in conservativism.
Perhaps because of his Hollywood background, Breitbart, more than many, understands the theater that is Leftism, and the need to pull back the curtain and show that there isn’t anything real there. He likes to go up to protesters and simply ask them to explain the beliefs that motivate them. As he’s frequently shown on video, whether they’re protesting the Koch brothers, Fox, or whatever other liberal cause de jour loads them on the bus, most of the protesters have no idea what’s going on. They’re there because their masters have instructed them to be there.
The Left, Breitbart says, is a herd. That is both its strength and its weakness. He told a very amusing anecdote about spending several hours rollerblading through a vast SEIU crowd protesting a Koch brothers gathering. After capturing many on tape saying very ill-informed and un-PC things, he decided enough was enough. So, finding an open space, he announced loudly “We’ve spent enough time here now. Let’s all go to Applebee’s” — and they did!
The problem for conservatives is that we’re not a herd. We’re independent, iconoclastic, averse to mass crowds and gainfully employed. This means that we can seldom get together long enough to create the visuals so necessary in a media age. The fact that the Tea Party finally transcended this problem explains the explosion of crude, vile, incendiary hostility the MSM has directed at the Tea Party. Tea Partiers are the first telegenic conservatives since Reagan.
If Andrew Breitbart comes to your town as part of his tour, take (or make) the time to go and see him. He is a delightful and inspiring speaker, a true happy warrior. And whether or not he comes to a town near you, buy his book, Righteous Indignation: Excuse Me While I Save the World!. I’m already in Chapter 2 and enjoying every minute.
Cross-posted at Right Wing News