Dozens of the fallen provocateur’s media friends gathered for a monthly party at an elegant home in Santa Monica Canyon last Friday. Contrary to posthumous attacks by adversaries who proclaimed him “a douche” and “a piece of scum,” they talked of a loving husband, an inspirational father to his four young children and an L.A. spirit who fought for the sheer fun of it.
I was there at the elegant home, and indeed, people spoke all night about the sharp contrast between the fun-loving guy who made us all laugh and the portrait painted by the left of an angry man who hated the left. I talked to leftists who said he had argued politics with them, passionately, and then would hug them afterwards.
And it wasn’t just friends. I talked to someone last night who said that he would work with people who talked about how they hated Breitbart. When this person told Andrew about these people, he would say: “Invite them to dinner!” And Andrew would go out and eat with the haters. And the haters would inevitably say, afterwards: “I wanted to hate him. I came prepared to hate him. But he’s a heck of a charming, funny guy.”
One iconic image of Breitbart was taken for Time in 2010 It showed him balancing his laptop above his bubble bath, SoCal sunlight streaming into his upstairs bathroom. Journalist Steve Oney wrote in the accompanying story of holding tight to Breitbart’s passenger seat as the rising star raced home “via the sort of shortcuts only native Angelenos know.” In that moment, Breitbart said to him, “I feel very alive.”
Looking back, Oney now says, “It was phenomenal to be with him as he drove in his Range Rover, zipping along, with the 405 in complete gridlock. It seems a metaphor for the way he lived. There was an improbable speed to Andrew’s rise, and to Andrew’s untimely death.”
I attended the funeral yesterday — and the reception, and a get-together afterwards (I didn’t get home until after 1 a.m.) — and I think I understood Andrew more fully, seeing the amazing group of people he surrounded himself with. I had met many of these people before, but met many of them for the first time: people like Adam Baldwin, Greg Gutfeld, Dana Loesch, Mike Flynn . . . the list goes on and on.
One of the people speaking at the reception talked about the way Andrew would often end a phone call. He would be talking on and on, and when it was time to go, he would say, suddenly: “Okay, bye!” Boom. And he’d be gone.
And whoever it was who pointed that out (I can’t remember who it was), they made the point that he died the same way.
And he was gone.