Posted by on August 1st, 2010 at 9:01 AM

Breitbart frequently decries racism, and likes to point out that he was adopted, as was his younger sister, who is of Mexican descent. “I hold in great disregard the idea that somehow her blood and my blood separate us,” he told me. “I grew up resenting people who would look at us at the table and would go, ‘Why are those people together?’ ” He likes to say that he is “pro-miscegenation.” As a result, Breitbart says, he is outraged when charges of racism are cynically made.”

That’s Andrew Breitbart, the wingnut website mogul, explaining himself to The New Yorker. The piece came out two months ago, and therefore two months before the Shirley Sherrod mess, the incident in which Breitbart posted a video clip that the rest of the world quickly discovered to be doctored. The clip made it look like Sherrod, a black Obama appointee, was gloating over how she had stuck it to some white folks in her Obama job; instead she was talking about how she had learned a lesson in racial understanding back when she was young and starting out. Breitbart’s defense: “I put up what I had.”

He has a victim mentality, I think, a bit of trouble taking responsibility. Take a look at the opening quote: did Breitbart’s parents really know people who would scoff about their choices in adopted children? Very few people take a look at a friend or acquaintance’s family and say out loud, “What an odd bunch!” Maybe when Breitbart and his sister were “at the table,” the table was in a restaurant and the surprised people were strangers, passersby. Even so. Notice the verb he uses to introduce the miscreants’ reaction: “go,” as in “people who would look at us … and would go, ‘Why are those people together?’” So maybe the people said something, but maybe they pulled a face, or maybe they just did a doubletake, looked and looked again.

My guess, bearing in mind North American public behavior, is that there were a lot more looks than there were comments or faces. In fact, I’m not sure I could have passed the Breitbart table without taking a look. How often, back in 1985, did you see white parents who had a nonwhite kid? Young Breitbart might have then seen my look, and his active mind would have done the rest, and a quarter of a century later he’d be steaming away, my face and a dozen others churning in his head, as he flung before the public his false evidence that really it was the NAACP that was racist.

As I see it, if there’s any truth at all to Breitbart’s account of the “Why are those people together?” reactions, the truth would be this: The young Breitbart in the restaurant was pulling the same trick practiced by the politically correct, the trick that has made political correctness so bitterly hated by the general public. He was holding people guilty for trivial reactions, for taking note of what’s out of the ordinary when the ordinary is society as currently organized: white-dominated, hetero-oriented, in large part racially compartmentalized, with positions of workplace and public authority more likely to be held by men than women. People are treated as if they were haters simply because they have the reactions that go with such a society, no matter how little malice accompanies the reactions and no matter how tiny the reactions may be (brown kid with white parents – huh!).

During the early ‘90s, the right hooted about this species of bullying by the campus left and thereby scored a good deal of points with Americans at large. But now look. Instead of obnoxious kids living at a co-op, we have the boss of one of the right’s top media outlets, and he’s a proud believer in his superior racial rectitude because others, in some way, did not behave as if the sight of a multiracial family were a perfectly normal, everyday thing. (He even has the lingo: “The point is that the NAACP, at a dinner honoring this person, is cheering on a person describing—describing a white person as the other.”

Another point. How emotionally stunted do you have to be to take resentful impressions from your adolescence and never think to update them, never try to take a look at them and see if they made sense? Instead Breitbart uses his as a guide for living. Ask him about race in America, and all he has to fall back on is his interior griping from age 16. And he thinks that’s plenty.

A third. A teenage boy burning with resentment over the reactions of strangers is frequently a teenage boy who is embarrassed by what the strangers are reacting to.

Our closing thought is from Breitbart. “As difficult as it probably was for her, it’s been difficult for me as well,” he says. He was especially hurt that Sherrod said he was racist, given that “my motivation is absolutely pure” and all he wants is to move the rest of us beyond our “horrid racial past.”

Actual titles. I came across the tv titles on the Internet, the pamphlet title in a young adults book about Elizabeth I.

Accidental Family, a 1967-68 sitcom starring Jerry Van Dyke as a widowed comedian who buys a farm where his son grows up with the daughter of the farm’s manager, who’s a divorcée. Actual title of episodes: “The Making of a Vegetarian” and the straightforward “What is This — Thanksgiving or a Nightmare?”

Three episode titles from Tammy, a 1965 sitcom starring Debbie Watson as a country gal who crosses paths with a family of rich folk. There’s “The Riverfyin’ Of Billy Joe Morgan,” then “The Enoch Bowl,” and finally “Blue Nose, Wet Nose.”

The 16th-century pamphlet title: First Trumpet Blast against the Monstrous Regiment of Women, written in 1557 by the Scottish Protestant leader Henry Knox. He disapproved of Mary Tudor (who was then queen of England), of Mary Stuart (also known as Mary, Queen of Scots), and of Marie de Guise (who was mother to Mary Stuart and ruled Scotland as regent at the time).

Beatles cartoon series. It really existed. I watched it as a very little kid, and liked it, and ever since it’s been a memory that I couldn’t track down. But a simple Google search yields a segment based on “Day Tripper,” and there are plenty others available online.

The show looks like nice work, the best that could be made given a low budget. Simple and repetitive animation, but with charming watercolor backgrounds and good likenesses of John, George, etc. Per Wiki: “Most of the episodes of the series were produced by Astransa Park Studios in Sydney, Australia, and George Dunning’s company TVC Animation in London, with a handful of episodes made in Hollywood, with a crew supervised by veteran cartoon writer John W. Dunn.” King Features Syndicate has “presented by” in the credits box found on the Wiki page.

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4 Responses to “Victim”

  1. WLLilly says:

    …Yes , I remember the Beatles cartoon too , I was the right age for it…I remember the ” music video ” segment set to ” Roll Over Beethoven ” getting to me , and , for an early bit of 80s rock video bondage imagery , Ringo in massive handcuffs set to ” Chains ” !
    Speaking of reactions to ehnicity and ” political correctness ” , I have read that what keeps the Beatles series in the vaults is that the original series , no doubt inspired by the HELP! film , made frequent use of joky ” Indian thugee/stealing cults ” going after the boys .
    A fair amount of now-unacceptable in the mainstream mart joky ethnic sterotypes were okay on 1960s kid’s programming , too !
    I’m a touch suprised that a TCJ person should let his ” asthetic standards ” so far down as to say ANYTHING complimentary about 1960s TV limited animation…What would Gary think ? Ken ? Shouldn’t you ream the series a new asshole and say ” Ach , the vomitous crap I slurped up like aflies on shit as a child ” , and so forth ?????????

  2. WLLilly says:

    …I remember the existence of those sitcoms , though that’s all…I remember another one called OCCASIONAL WIFE , where someone had to pretend to be married to get a promotion , and so made a deal to sneak insidewhen needed !!!!!!!!!
    And , of course , there was IT’S ABOUT TIME , with Imogene Coca , Jerry?? Ross , etcetera…( It had a comic book adaptation , too , so…)
    I guess , obviously , ” hjow much money does everybody want ” – especially the Beatels/ themselves – and , working out the liscences/Apple’s buracracy(Sp??) would be another reason the THE BEATLES series has been absent…The ” music video ” segments kept being made for Beatles songs as late as Magical Mystery Tour , IIRC !!!!!!!!!!!
    There was a series called THE BEAGLES , too , made by Total Television of Tenessee Tuxedo , Underdog , Go-Go Gophers (speaking of ethnic sterotypes ) fame ( This secondary?? series with a Frenc Canadian standard villian , too . )…I always thought that , aside from the Beatles , that show wanted to cash in upon the fashionability of beagle dogs , with Snoopy’s rising popularity during that period…

  3. Tom Crippen says:

    “a series called THE BEAGLES , too … (speaking of ethnic sterotypes ) fame ( This secondary?? series with a Frenc Canadian standard villian ”

    I bet he was a lumberjack. Right after WWII, All-Select Comics dropped the Nazis and dwarfish Japanese soldiers and had to cast about for new villains. They even did a cover about villainous French Canadians, bearded guys with axes and a buzz saw (if I recall correctly).

  4. WLLilly says:

    …I seem to recall that Boris Karloff , in his pre-FRANKENSTEIN silent movie bit part days , was rather typecast as villainous lumberj. Quebecois !!!!!!!!!!!
    Those Anglophones – eh ???????????