What’s critical to understanding Andrew Breitbart is that he was a child of adoption. A major part of his identify seems to have been shaped by this facet of his childhood–at least, that’s the impression I got from the man. Unlike many of my peers at the Breitbart sites, I didn’t know Andrew that well–never had a heart-to-heart, never talked on the phone, always just observed him in group settings. Yet still, he hired me as an assistant editor for the Bigs, and I’m told all his employees were hand-picked.
But why? Why would he choose me? What did I have to recommend me? I was a post-collegiate burnout; like many of my peers, I couldn’t find a job related to my degree, so I bounced from menial job to menial job, staying as long as I could stand them–yearbook photographer, debt collector, tech support for a shady DSL company. Along the way, I sent an email to the feedback form on Big Hollywood asking John Nolte if I could write about music, which yielded maybe a couple dozen articles from me in the span of a year.
I made a comedy video in September of last year that went viral, but at that point, I had already been picked as a potential employee. It went live the day I was interviewed for the position, so I was still just some kid from Pennsylvania who never made more than $10 an hour picked to copy edit a news site read by millions. To this day, I feel the greatest sense of privilege–that I really don’t have any business being here–and in the wake of Andrew’s death, I’ve been thinking a lot more about exactly why I did end up here.
And the greatest insight I have to figure that out is the character of my peers here. None of us are what the mainstream media would consider journalist material; many don’t have degrees in the field, and the extent of their editing experience is through personal blogging. And to the conservative world, they’re way too unkempt, unconventional, liberal (remember the GOProud party?), and the like. They’re reviled by the left, but many of their conservative contemporaries are too embarrassed to stick up for them; that would be inconvenient, too much trouble.
It wasn’t too much trouble for Andrew. He was drawn to these kinds of people; he would sniff them out, get to know them, and find in their idiosyncrasies the exact qualities he wanted in his team. Like his adoptive parents, he took in those those individuals who were rejected by the people who should have loved them–their political blood relatives.
Though I don’t see myself in the same league as, say, a Dana Loesch, Ben Shapiro or John Nolte, I’m awed and proud that Breitbart saw in me some flicker of the character that he saw in them. Though I didn’t have the time to get to know exactly why he did, I figure I’ll keep doing what I’ve been doing–keeping the site well-oiled behind the scenes, writing goofy songs about how corrupt Eric Holder is, and diligently covering any convergence between the political and hipster music worlds–and hope I grow into the role of the misfit culture warrior he embodied and envisioned for each of us–his adopted family members.