I'm probably going to get in trouble for this post, but what the hell. The story is just irresistibly weird.
A faithful reader directs our attention to a New York Times
article on the death of right-wing hatemeister Andrew Breitbart. The piece describes Mr. B as "A student of the tactics of the leftist organizer Saul Alinsky." Nice to know that someone
out there was reading Alinsky. Everyone I ever met on the left had either forgotten who he was or never knew in the first place.
The NYT piece preserves for the record Breitbart's psychotic tirade against the OWS protesters:
“Stop raping people! Stop raping people! Stop raping people! Stop raping the people! You freaks! You filthy, filthy, raping, murdering freaks!”
John Adams should set that text to music, don't you think? I'd love to see a production of Breitbart: The Opera
. (Anna Netrebko as Arianna? Nah. She's way
too hot. Anna Netrebko, I mean.)
Of course, the Times offers rather superficial coverage of how Breitbart got to be Breitbart:
Although Mr. Breitbart helped start The Huffington Post, it became apparent within a month that the political chasm between him and Ms. Huffington was too great, and his attention span for office matters far too short.
Mr. Breitbart saw infinite possibilities on the Web, starting a series of Web sites — Big Government, Big Hollywood, Big Journalism — under the banner of Breitbart.com.
Yeah, but with whose
money? And why did everyone in the media suddenly act as though Andrew Breitbart was Mr. Super-Important the very instant he set up cyber-shop? Those were the questions I asked when those sites first appeared. You can always trust the NYT to ignore such matters.
Now let's talk about the day Breitbart died:
Many of his familiars called him a “happy warrior,” but worried about his health because he never seemed to unplug.
“If Twitter ever killed anyone, it was Andrew,” said Mr. Labash of The Weekly Standard. “Andrew was a magnet for hatred, and he used Twitter for a full frontal assault, a tool of combat,”
And now, kids, you can see why I don't tweet. When not writing for this blog, I avoid talking politics. In my off hours, I'd rather listen to some Mahler or take my dog to the park. Guys like Breitbart do political combat on a 24/7 basis -- and if ya asks me, there's something truly sick about anyone with that kind of mentality.
The question that intrigued my correspondent was this: If t'was Twitter that killed the beast, with whom was the beast tweeting?
Well, according to the record
, one of Breitbart's twitter adversaries that day was a figure familiar to me: An odd duck named Neal Rauhauser.
To a small extent, I got to know Rauhauser (if that really is his name) during the Weiner affair. It took me a while, but I finally figured out that I had previously encountered Neal when he operated under another name -- John Dean, a.k.a. SluggoJohn, a.k.a BozosRnotforBush and a host of other pseudonyms.
No, we're not talking about John Dean of Watergate fame. Different guy. However, I did refer to John/Neal as "JD" in a previous post
-- a post which also references a piece on cyber-bullying written none other than Watergate's John Dean. (If the presence of two Deans in one post makes matters confusing, I apologize.)
Neal denies being John Dean. But he is. He is.
During the Weiner business, Neal said things in private that matched -- word for word -- messages that "Dean" posted in public. Neal is a west coast transplant now working as an IT guy in Maryland, and so is Dean.
And they both have the same disjointed writing style.
John Dean used to be a presence on this blog. I was always chary of him and kept him at arm's length.
So did most other blogs. Somehow, that poor schlub has always managed to leave a lot of people on both the right and the left questioning his motives. He makes people suspicious wherever he goes. Although he contributed to The Daily Kos under the Raushauser name, the Moulitsian moderators eventually tired of him and banned him from the site.
After the Weiner affair wound down, a small group of (mostly) Breitbart-friendly bloggers kept talking and talking (and talking!
) about it. In truth, there was good reason for discussion. Mysteries remained.
The main enigma concerned the tale of "Betty and Veronica," the two allegedly underaged twitter-pals of Congressman Weiner. (As some of you will recall, the Republicans were desperate to get Weiner on a trumped-up pedo beef.) The whole thing would have been very shocking if the girls actually existed -- but they did not.
The B-and-V sideshow was a deception operation directed first at Weiner and then at Tommy Christopher of Mediaite. It's a long story. I really don't want to get into the details right now, especially since I've forgotten
many of those details. Suffice it to say that we're not talking about a mere email/Twitter hoax; Christopher was also subjected to a rather elaborate vocal imposture over the phone. Very disturbing stuff.
Long after the rest of the world shifted attention away from Weiner, Breitbart's buds continued to "investigate" the B-and-V hoax. Their effort to identify the imposters reminded me of O.J.'s search for the real killer or Nixon's attempt to get to the bottom of Watergate.
This pseudo-investigation quickly devolved into something else. I'm not sure that I know the right word for what that "something" was. Is. Whatever it was and is, it's something
Let's put it this way: At some point, Neal -- who views himself as a cyber-sleuth par excellence, and who brags about his pals in the Justice Department -- began to interact with Breitbart and his allies. This "dialogue" soon devolved into a wild melange of weird accusations and counter-accusations, involving hacking and sock-puppetry and online impersonations and god-only-knows-what.
As I wrote on an earlier occasion
I could send you links to their various microblogs -- but why bother? Right, left, and in-between, what we are dealing with here is a bunch of paranoid drama queens, endlessly bitching about who tweeted what to whom under their numerous fake identities. JD participated in those covert wars using various disguises, most of which were pretty easy to see through.
Neal (a.k.a. John Dean) assured me that the FBI was going to indict Breitbart any day now
. Meanwhile, Breitbart's cronies were saying the exact same crap
It was all nonsense. I'm sure that the FBI never gave even half a damn about any of the participants in this dubious cyber-battle.
Neal was tweet-tweaking the nose of Andy Breitbart right up until the moment AB collapsed on a sidewalk in Brentwood. Perhaps Neal now considers himself the man who tweeted Breitbart to death. Perhaps that is how cyber-duels will be fought in the future: iPhones at twenty paces. Smile when you tweet that.
Moral of the story? Dunno if there is one, beyond the obvious: If you tweet, you're a twit.
And now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to look up that wonderful YouTube video of Anna Netrebko singing at the Proms
. God, she's gorgeous.