Andrew Breitbart died yesterday at age 43.
I’m no apologist for the guy. He was a conservative provocateur. He seemed to make a good living stirring up the leftist provocateur hornets nest using pretty much the same tactics they use. Except, in most cases, he didn’t have to follow the leftist doctrine of “don’t let the facts get in the way of a good story.” He usually relied on facts. Even when he was accused of stretching the truth, if you did your homework and didn’t have a slanted view, you’d probably find that Breitbart’s story had more merit than the other side wanted you to believe.
But, I didn’t follow his work much. I find agitating exhausting. Seems like a lot yelling with folks that are not inclined to reconsider their positions, no matter how much evidence they are provided.
But, he did have one influence in my life. Or, at least I think it was him. I believe he inspired the name of this blog, Our Dinner Table.
A few years ago he guest hosted the Dennis Miller Radio Show, in Miller’s absence. I downloaded a podcast of it. I was listening to it on my iPod while shoveling eight inches of snow off my driveway.
During the show, he mentioned Ronald Reagan’s quote:
All great change begins at the dinner table.
I had been writing a blog for a while. I used it to catalog some of the things I read and wanted to remember. It also helped me think through and figure out how to articulate and structure my own ideas and think out loud.
I found find it useful to be able to access my blog from anywhere with an internet connection and use the Search box in the upper right margin (if you’re looking for something, type in key words, I may have written something about it) to recall things when I needed them for a conversation, or to recommend to someone, to quote or just to help me think through something else.
I had horribly named the blog “Mind Changers”. I meant it to be a collection of ideas, phrases, arguments that made people reconsider their position –because I found them compelling and at one time made me stop and reconsider mine.
The description sounded better than the name. I had been trying to think of a better name.
When Breitbart said the Reagan dinner table quote through my iPod earphones, I dropped my snow shovel and went inside immediately to change the name on my blog. That quote captured perfectly what I wanted to accomplish here — have productive dinner table conversations that might change a few minds, even my own.
The names “Dinner Table” and “The Dinner Table” were already taken. “Our Dinner Table” was the next version of the name I checked. It was available. I liked it, because it captured the Reagan quote and it seemed inviting.
After I reviewed Russ Roberts’ book, The Price of Everything, in December 2010. Russ saw my blog and it inspired him to add a category to his and Don Boudreaux’s blog, Cafe Hayek, called “Dinner Table Economics“. Here’s all of the posts they’ve made in that category. All of Cafe Hayek is worth reading, but I especially recommend the posts in that category.
From Breitbart’s mouth, to my blog and then to Cafe Hayek. It’s funny how things work.
I thought if I ever happened to meet Breitbart, I’d thank him for helping name my blog. Looks like I won’t get that chance in person.
Andrew, If you’re out there, thanks man.