My wife and I first moved to Los Angeles about a decade ago. We were overwhelmed. Neither one of us had ever lived in a city with a population over 600,000. It took a couple of years for us to actually feel like LA was a place we could live in and eventually raise children.
The transition in our psyches of Los Angeles as obstacle and Los Angeles as home is entirely due to the wonderful people we have met down here. The first person who really made the Southland feel like a small town -- with all the benefits of a small town -- was Cathy Seipp. I met her through the internet. I had been reading both her NRO columns and her personal blog "Cathy's World" for a little while and I decided to contact her to see if she would speak about her life as a journalist at an event I was sponsoring for some high school students. She agreed.
She was charming and gracious and she introduced me to a number of people who have made this megalopolis the most magical city in the world. Cathy's circle of friends included people with a wide variety of political beliefs, one of those people was Andrew Breitbart.
I remember when I first met Andrew. It was at a monthly gathering of journalists, screenwriters, and me. I am none of those things. I'm just the director of a small non-profit -- that I won't go into any further detail about -- who happened upon a vibrant and interesting community. Andrew and I instantly clicked. Breitbart's sense of humor, his charm, and his love of his family were infectious. We had similar tastes in music, comedy, and baseball.
God how I wish I had been able to attend a Dodger's game with Andrew.
While I wasn't a journalist or screenwriter, and this affected how some of the attendees would engage with me, Andrew always went out of his way to chat with me and to introduce me to the "interesting guests" he would bring to the events. He treated me like an equal and even once called me his "little historian" because of my tendency to bring up strange references from history while talking about modern pop culture and politics.
About two years ago my attendance at these monthly gathering faded. I had started an MBA program. With this added to the stress of working a full time job, trying to ensure my wife had time to write, and helping her raise twin daughters, I let my regular attendance at the event slide. I always intended to start back up. In fact, if it weren't for a horrible flu I was going to try to make it this month.
In those two years I had 24 opportunities to spend time with a truly charming and gracious man. I missed them all.
Andrew Breitbart was one of my heroes. Where I timidly hide my real name behind a pseudonym that references a document of political philosophy, Breitbart boldly challenged those on the left who were filled with venom and hate. Those who -- like me -- followed his twitter feed know that he regularly was the target of mean spirited comments on the internet. He was a target for the hypocritical intolerance of many on the Left. I could always judge who among my friend I considered reasonable about politics, even when I disagreed with them, by what they had to say about Andrew.
I am afraid to read my Facebook page today. I am afraid to read my "non-Nathaniel Wright" twitter feed today. I can tolerate reading venom spewed at Andrew by people I don't know, but I cannot stomach seeing it from anyone I do know.
I wish I were as brave as Andrew.