You won’t find too many people who are indifferent toward Andrew Breitbart. But love him or hate him, you can’t ignore him. With his ever-growing collection of “Big” websites (Big Government, Big Hollywood, Big Journalism and Big Peace so far), Andrew has redefined how the political right views and uses the Internet. He makes no apologies for his “in your face” style, nor should he. That style has won him many victories and many enemies. He seems to occupy the time of a disproportionate number of left-wingers, including many employees of the ultra-left-wing censorship factory called Media Matters. Those “senior fellows” are about to have their weekends ruined as Breitbart moves from the virtual world to the book world with today’s release of Righteous Indignation: Excuse Me While I Save the World (2011 Grand Central Publishing).
If you know Andrew, or have ever cornered him for a few minutes of conversation, you know his brain is like a shotgun — going a thousand miles an hour in every conceivable direction at once. He attributes this to ADHD, but constantly being pulled in 50 directions at once by everyone in the room doesn’t help either. But in Righteous, Breitbart is more focused than he’s ever been. He has a tale to tell — three, actually.
Righteous is three books in one, each self-contained. Together, they weave a narrative that will remind many readers of their own lives. Even if you don’t share all of Andrew’s political beliefs, you will find yourself identifying with at least some of his story and conclusions. The book is part biography, part history lesson, and part manifesto, and it flows with clarity of purpose from one page to the next. It subtly draws you into a narrative, strung through the whole book, where he meticulously makes the case against the media and pop culture, which, he argues, help spread and normalize the liberal agenda. He also explains how to combat that agenda.
The book starts with a young Andrew floating through life in the greater Los Angeles area with wealthy friends and a “doing just enough to get by” attitude. To say Andrew was aimless is an understatement. His life was occupied with what most teens’ lives are: movies, music and girls. Politics, to the extent they existed in his world, were unquestioned, unserious and liberal.
Andrew tells of his awakening to conservatism through his experiences, the least likely of which, upon reflection, started while drinking and partying his way through Tulane University. Once the seed was planted in college, he found himself questioning the accuracy of the media’s portrayal of the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings and having his eyes opened by Rush Limbaugh while driving around for his job as a production assistant for a small Hollywood studio. Even the simple act of buying shoes had an effect on him. Buying shoes may not seem like an Earth-shattering development to most people, but try to remember the first time you had to buy something for yourself that used to be provided by your parents. Up to that point, the money you earned was spent on fun things, not necessities. The cold, dead fish of reality was slapped across your face at some point in your life, and Andrew’s moment was when he needed shoes.