Righteous Indignation: Excuse Me While I Save the World, by Andrew Breitbart. New York: Grand Central Publishing, 2011. 272 pp. $27.99 (hardcover).
In Righteous Indignation, Andrew Breitbart (1969–2012) targets the political left’s death grip on American culture. Focusing on the arts and entertainment, on academia, and (most important to him) on the media, he critiques the ideas of intellectuals who fundamentally oppose America’s founding ideals, and he provides rational advice for liberty lovers who want to regain the culture.
Citing the cause of his righteous indignation, Breitbart writes:
If the political left weren’t so joyless, humorless, intrusive, overtaxing, anarchistic, controlling, unrealistic, hypocritical, angry, intolerant—and if the political left weren’t hell-bent on expansion of said unpleasantness into all aspects of my family’s life—the truth is, I would not be in your life.
If America’s pop-culture ambassadors like Alec Baldwin and Janeane Garofolo didn’t come back from foreign trips to tell us how much they hate us, if my pay cable didn’t highlight a comedy show every week that called me a racist for embracing constitutional principles and limited government, I wouldn’t be at Tea Parties screaming my love for this great, charitable, and benevolent country. The left made me do it! I swear! I am a reluctant cultural warrior. (pp. 10–11)
Righteous Indignation is part autobiography, part cultural history, and part manifesto.
Breitbart’s personal story begins in Southern California, where his hard-working, value-oriented parents saved enough money to send him away to college. Young Andrew, however, did not take his education seriously; he chose to attend Tulane University in New Orleans, in part because “you could go to a different bar every night during your time at Tulane, and never repeat” (p. 19). While there he chose the vague major of “American Studies,” in which he learned nothing about the Founding Fathers, except that they were slaveholders.
After Breitbart graduated, his future father-in-law, the actor Orson Bean, suggested that he listen to Rush Limbaugh. Breitbart expected to hear racist and misogynist tirades but instead heard about the glory of “American exceptionalism.” Thus he was already rethinking his left-leaning views when he discovered and ultimately met Matt Drudge, who used a new tool—the Internet—to chip away at the mainstream media’s virtual monopoly on cultural commentary. Drudge introduced Breitbart to Arianna Huffington, who hired him as director of research for her startup media outlet, where he integrated his passion for facts, ideas, and communication as he began his career in real-time, Web-based news aggregate services. . . .