July 22, 2017
Art, politics, angels, demons . . . and righteous dogs.

Andrew Breitbart on a roll with a smear

The recent death of Andrew Breitbart, hard Right polemicist, agent provocateur, reminded me of how I got a call one day from Chris Curry the great designer of the New Yorker. “You know that piece you did on Breitbart?” she asked.  “Well he’s put that up on his Twitter account as photo!”.  I didn’t think he would care about my claims of ownership of the art or anything else, but I sent him an email anyway. I was surprised to hear back.  He was very cooperative.  As you can tell by the exchange below, the personality seems slightly different from the public personae.  Perhaps he, like so many people in public life, was a media product.  He took the piece down and seemed to want me to know that he wasn’t the
“dick”  as he was “portrayed”.  In my answer I went a little into what (to me) are the ideas behind caricature and copyright. And also mentioning that satire should not contain bullshit. It should be just another way of telling the truth.

The much maligned Saul Alinsky was his model as well as for the equally scurrilous Michael O’Keefe.  But of course Alinsky was an organizer of the dispossessed.  Breitbart and others like him feel it’s fun to use those same tools for radicals against those who need a break in favor of the privileged, prejudiced and paranoid.  I hope there is reincarnation, so Andrew can come back as a kid in the South Bronx and not need to be told about the deck and how it gets stacked.

Just got your message. Have been out of the country for a few weeks.

I certainly didn’t “like” the artwork, as you surmised it. It seemed to be a fairly cruel attack on my physical appearance — and well beyond caricature. I’ll survive. I chose to embrace the H8 instead of ignoring it.

I think it’s a pretty interesting question as to whether it’s my obligation to take it down. And if it must be taken down, isn’t it a Twitter situation? The image is physically located on their servers. Either way, I will take it down based upon your wishes. I’m not the dick that my detractors, and assorted lefties, like to portray.

Best,
Andrew

Andrew:
I arrived in media when it was one world and now it’s another.  Actually many worlds. The strict rule always was: pay for use. Simple and easy. So now what happens when you have a blog and you want the maximum traffic? So now it’s a GOOD thing that people are taking your work and using it.  Okay, so like you and everyone else I am trying to figure out how to keep my work afloat as the MSM fades. I hope that people will use my work and link back to my site so the idea builds. But this can’t include treating the art as if it were a commissioned logo or caricature, like Hirschfeld would do for Jack Paar or Dick Cavett or whomever (you can tell my age).  For that kind of thing, corporate branding, I would still need to be compensated.
The art of you was an editorial thing, meant to be critical of what you do, not you personally.  Caricature of public figures is never personal, by the way. As you have a public face, that’s what we work on. I can do that (feeling that politics is about HOW we use government, not IF we should use it) and still wish you all good things personally.  Does that make sense.  In any case I understand that you wouldn’t find the art appealing. I am very grateful that you respected my request here.
Also, It’s okay to be a dick. American jornalists have always been dicks, from day one with Bennett, then Pulitzer and Hearst. But to be a good one is important, asking yourself if you’re being a pain in the ass for what you believe in while keeping the bullshit levels down.
Best,
SB