The Dana Loesch vs. Breitbart.com dustup is of little genuine interest to anyone outside the Twitterati and those who live for such things. There is some amusement found in watching people choose sides; it is well nigh impossible to see such without believing the primary motive is figuring out which kissed ass will prove the most beneficial for positioning in the phonebooth kingdom that is conservative new media. For everyone else, it’s as compelling a story as the aforementioned new media is influential in shaping public opinion. Which, if you noticed the election results last month, is not at all.
This duly noted, the story serves to illustrate a deeper issue that normally resides beneath the surface but has now forcibly risen above ground. Namely, the deep fractures that occur in any movement or cause when personality cults transcend substance.
The words of Paul when he was chewing out the church in Corinth come to mind:
Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still worldly—mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans? For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not mere human beings?
What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.
We’re not seeing much of this mindset, now are we?
Granted, it is an extremely difficult balancing act for any messenger to simultaneously promote their message and his- or herself in order to promote the message without making his- or herself, not the message, the center of attention. A modest messenger is a rare commodity, albeit not an impossibility. Unfortunately, these days very, very few so much as make an effort to be modest. Instead, they choose to be the political equivalent of an entertainer going out of their way to be sexually provocative and artificially, calculatingly controversial. This is done for the sake of attempting to disguise a lack of genuine talent and/or commitment to the cause of which they screech. As compared to speaking in favor thereof.
There is a huge difference between being a lightning rod and devoting efforts toward being vapid thunder. The lightning rod does, while thunder says. Andrew Breitbart was a lightning rod. He created or co-created media powerhouses such as Drudge and Huffington. He broke stories — Pigford, Anthony Weiner — and let the chips fall where they may. Breitbart was larger than life not because he acted like it. Rather, he was larger than life because his accomplishments organically lifted him to that status. He used this to his advantage, as well he should have.
Unfortunately, with very few exceptions those he chose to assist him have, since his painfully early passing, fallen far short of his standards. They do not create; they only recreate, churning out endless variations of the same tired media bashing with occasional sprinkles of ersatz edginess. Andrew Breitbart was a force of nature. They are children blowing on a pinwheel.
Loesch and Breitbart.com are, to paraphrase a band description I once read in a rock’n'roll encyclopedia, significantless cul-de-sacs off of the very road of media and popular culture they set out to resurface. Some on the right may worry that their legal battle might somehow besmirch the political philosophy for which they so loudly claim to be standard bearers. The fact is they trampled underfoot the standard in favor of ego strokes long ago. The lawsuit merely confirms their vanity.