O’Keefe Looks Back

ACORN ACORN International

New Orleans    James O’Keefe, the notorious video-scammer and author of one fiasco after another in his career as a weird political peeping Tom, in a moment of desperation penned a piece on his own website to note the tenth anniversary of his attack on ACORN.  Despite extensive reporting after the fact of his selective and fake editing of the videos and his court ordered payments to victims of his fraudulent footage along with his decade worth of humiliation as he has engineered one ridiculous flop after another, including some that were blatantly illegal like his attempted break-in at former Senator Mary Landrieu’s district office in New Orleans, O’Keefe obliviously feels he has something to say.  Not that anyone would care.

One sure sign of the rising inequality in American society and the usurpation of so much of the nation’s wealth in the hands of the rich, is the fact that there are rich rightwing mouth breathers still willing to fund his amateur spy-boy stunts.  You figure?  Fools and their money.

Honestly, I’ve never watched the videos.  I certainly have never gone on the veritas website.  Four years of high school Latin and good judgment instructs that since veritas means truth in Latin, and O’Keefe hasn’t a clue what that might be if it bit him, the website is an obvious fake, and the name itself must be some kind of attempt at an ironic in-joke for O’Keefe and his comrades or a troll honey pot of some sort.  Nor have I ever watched any movie that interviewed his co-conspirator, Hannah Giles, for forty minutes or more, providing a forum for self-delusion.

O’Keefe is not totally dumb.   He was smart enough to truthfully paint himself as a neophyte and a rube and to deflect praise and responsibility over to Andrew Breitbart, the mad marketer behind dozens of rightwing clickbait websites.  There is some disingenuousness at work, since subsequent reports have been clear that Breitbart was the financier behind O’Keefe’s video scams.  O’Keefe credits Breitbart for the tactical rollout of his garbage truck from day to day.  It wasn’t an original strategy, but certainly an effective one.  Interestingly, it seems Breitbart was more interested in suckering in the New York Times and the media establishment than necessarily “getting” ACORN.  Breitbart was a prankster.  It adds up.  My one encounter with him was mild and almost respectful, when he asked a question from the floor at an event in DC.  A piece I have watched more than sixty times in “The Organizer” where Breitbart is talking about ACORN only expresses a grievance that the organization was successful in his actions against big companies.  He might have been envious?

O’Keefe has learned nothing in the intervening ten years.  His shtick has grown stale and irrelevant.  His fifteen minutes long expired.  “Candid Camera” was a huge early television hit that premiered a bit more than 70 years ago.  Who hasn’t watched it in one iteration or another?  It was pathbreaking.  O’Keefe should think about that as a future, once he gets over his past.  The problem is that Candid Camera was funny.  There was no malice.  People laughed at themselves.  Nonetheless it would be a better place for him to play sneaky-camera.  The other path is the creeps who put hidden cameras in bathroom stalls.  O’Keefe isn’t getting younger.  He needs to decide which way he’s going to go.  Right now, it looks like he’s headed for bus stations, but if he could buy a clue and trade it for a sense of humor and a bit of grace, maybe he could go Candid Camera.  I might even watch that.