Monday, 05 March 2012 22:00

The Louisiana Putz and Breitbart, The Last Tweets

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Sometimes there is civility and decency in this current acrimonious political environment—even on blogs and twitter and even between activists who happen to see the world from different ends of the poles. 

One of those rare moments just happens to have occurred arising out of a communication between a local Louisiana blogger and a “putz”  and with a nationally recognized public figure  who sadly  wrote his last tweet to our putz only an hour or so before he collapsed —Andrew Breitbart.

Last week, when I discovered that Breitbart had died, I thought to myself, this does not surprise me.  Although I did not know he was as young as he was (43) when he passed, I recall seeing him in the middle of a heated discussion at a Republican convention in New Orleans two years ago.

 At that time, his face had fastened to red, his hair seemed to turn gray during the course of that spark-flying conversation.  I thought to myself, this guy is heading for a coronary any moment.  He certainly wears his passion from his heart onto his sleeves.

After Breitbart’s death I started to read what I consider to be insane discussion about President Obama killing Breitbart and about the last public political communique between a person he had called a putz and him.

Little did I realize until today when I read the putz’s blog, that the person Breitbart tagged by the  Jewish slang that literally means male genital,  the blogger on the other side of Breitbart’s twitter was a man of seemingly liberal stripes from central Louisiana, a person named Lamar White of cenlamar.com.

What was and is of interest to me was the respect that both Breitbart and White seem to have between one another—Breitbart, at the last moments of his life and White as he looks back at the “chance meeting” over the Internet with a once-strident voice of the American conservative movement and a person he probably had little in political common.

Breitbart might have had encounters like that one, whether over the web or during private moments.

This one, however showed that despite his political differences he could be most respectful with someone with whom he did not really know nor run around in the same circles, at all.  

And the “putz” having had one of the last words with an American conservative icon seems to recognize on his recent post-mortem blog, that sometimes the fifteen minutes of fame can last a lifetime when acknowledging that political differences aside, there is a heart on the other side of advocacy. 

Please Read Lamar White's publication Cenlamar"
 
Here is his column below


Yesterday night, on my way home from school, like a dutiful son, I called my mother to check up on things. "Oh, by the way," I said, "I've been exchanging tweets with Andrew Breitbart." "Who is Andrew Breitbart?" "You remember him. He's the guy who upstaged the Anthony Weiner press conference," I said. "He broke that story, actually." "Oh, of course. But why is he talking to you?" Good question. "Well," I explained, "I wrote something on Twitter about his voice sounding like a love child between Owen Wilson and Dr. Evil, and he posted it on his Twitter. I think he thought it was funny. It was good-natured." "Just make sure it stays good-natured," she said. I don't know if Breitbart actually thought my one-off joke was really funny. As I now know, he relished in retweeting criticisms of him. Today, one of my close friends told me that Breitbart had also retweeted two of his comments, neither of which are suitable for publication here. But regardless, I knew I was on his radar, and I had a couple of questions I wanted to ask him about his protege James O'Keefe. Earlier in the night, David Shuster of CurrentTV mistakenly said that O'Keefe was a convicted felon, a statement he corrected on Twitter. To me, it was a strange analogy, almost an admission of sorts that O'Keefe, who Breitbart had once touted as the future of journalism (in so many words), was like a comedian posing as a journalist. So, last night, I posed a question to him, and he responded almost immediately, in rapid-fire: The crazy, incredible thing about the Internet and social media is the way in which it democratizes the free and open exchange of ideas. Like him or loathe him, Andrew Breitbart understood this; he embraced it, as unwieldy as he sometimes was. I don't believe his analogy was apt or helpful to James O'Keefe, and I imagine that he understood this as well, which is likely why he spent a fair amount of time yesterday clarifying and expounding on it. But, at the very least, it was provocative, which was one of Breitbart's signature traits. As it turns out, his last "public" battle was with me, and his last public statement was to me. He apologized for calling me a "putz," sort of. In fairness to him, he conditionally apologized, provided I hadn't been "intentionally disingenuous" with him when I called his attention to an article in The Atlantic that said O'Keefe had pled guilty to a misdemeanor "with the intent to commit a felony." And I wasn't being intentionally disingenuous; The Atlantic had apparently misreported the story. I immediately accepted his apology, and despite what The Daily Beast reported, I am certain he received my acceptance. Earlier in the night, I told him, "For what it's worth, I begrudgingly respect that you've responded (to me)." I did. I thought it was cool. This afternoon, I told ABC News that I wear Andrew Breitbart's "putz" insult as a "badge of honor." I wasn't being facetious or flippant. Less than an hour after he wrote me back, Andrew Breitbart died of a heart attack. He was only 43 years old-- way, way too young. When the news broke, only seven hours after he had written me back, my phone lit up. Today, I've been flooded with media requests, tweets, and Facebook comments, and on a personal level, it has been somewhat surreal. I'd never met Andrew Breitbart; I was just the last person mentioned in an epic opus of tweets (and incidentally, that does not make me "lucky," as some of his fans have suggested). I'm well-aware of what Andrew Breitbart gleefully said immediately after Ted Kennedy died. It wasn't right; it was intended to hurt people who were grieving. But during the last twelve hours, I've received messages from people all over the country congratulating me for "killing" Andrew Breitbart. It sickens me. It's poisonous, vapid, hypocritical, dehumanizing hyperbole, and it's not funny at all. None of it is. He was 43-years-old. He leaves behind a wife and four small children. I know a thing or two about this; my father died when he was only 41, leaving behind three teenagers. I've also received messages from people all over the country alleging that Andrew Breitbart's death was caused by liberals, even some suggesting the President himself ordered an assassination. Again, this is poisonous, vapid, hypocritical, dehumanizing hyperbole. My heart aches for Andrew Breitbart's family. But, for them, if there is some solace to be found, maybe it is this: That up until the hour before he passed, he was engaging, prodding, criticizing, and exchanging ideas and banter about the things in which he believed, with people, like me, who were more than happy to be in a debate with him. (And who still will hold fast to their own beliefs). I hate to be a footnote, but I am proud to be called a "putz" by one of Tulane's most famous graduates. Sometimes, an insult can be an honor.
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