Andrew Breitbart has shot onto the media-and-politics scene in the last two years with several well-publicized stories and controversies. What many people may not realize is the extent to which Breitbart’s adversarial approach to the media was formulated out of his college education.
When Breitbart sat down with Peter Robinson for his show Uncommon Knowledge at www.nationalreview.com (full interview here), it is surprising how much of an impact Breitbart’s Tulane years stuck with him, even though he didn’t recognize it at the time.
Early in the interview, host Peter Robinson notes that Breitbart went into college a liberal and came out of it a conservative. How did this happen? Breitbart answers:
“I was an American Studies major, and I really did think that when I chose that [major] it would be reading about the Constitution and the Founding Fathers, Mark Twain and, sort of, a benign approach toward the American experience.”
It didn’t turn out that way, but Breitbart hardly noticed because he spent most of his out of class time not doing homework, but joining the New Orleans “bacchanalia” (his word). Only after he had graduated, a few years later, did he begin to think about what his undergraduate education meant. Tulane sent him a note in 1994 asking him to reflect on his education, to “assess his degree.” Breitbart recalls:
“I started to look through the books, wondering ‘What was that? What was that education?’ And what I remember was, to synthesize it, I’ve watched C-SPAN my entire life, and I’ve watched Noam Chomsky talk in this strange jargon that is not accessible to the average person, and I remember thinking to myself that there was a period there in my American Studies classes where I was hearing the words deconstruction and semiotics a bit too many times, and I thought ‘What’s going on here? What is this language? What are they trying to do?’ And I started to analyze the courses that I took, and I realized that this was cultural Marxist theory. I thought that it was strange. I thought American Studies was supposed to be American Studies, not German-Italian nihilistic theory.”
Peter Robinson comments, “Then it’s just as well that you were debauched for those years.” Breitbart concurs.