Today occasions the publication of James O’Keefe’s first foray into longform prose, with his semi-autobiographical fantasy novel Breakthrough: I Did Not Title This After Chapter 6 In Andrew Breitbart’s Memoir! Shut Up! Jesus! Shut the Hell Up!
Even though Mary McCue — James’ publicist at Threshold Editions (an embarrassing division of Simon & Shuster) — mysteriously never sent us the advanced copy she promised, we still managed to secure one for ourselves after a quick undercover sting. Having now read the damn thing, we are here to spare you the $16-to-$26 you might have spent ironically purchasing this book. (But yes, that is a purchase link. Can’t say we didn’t warn you.)
After the jump, prepare to enact O’Keefe’s “Veritas Rule” #24: Walk a mile in your enemy’s head. (Siqq, bro! These rules are INTENSE! We’re In Yo Heeeeeaaaaaaaaaaad!!!!!)
13. Veritas Rule #24
Oh, sure: You’ll laugh at this rule now, but wait until you’re in a Monster® energy drink-sponsored chess tournament and some John Galt-level libertarian genius is clomping his romper stompers all up in your nasty mind. Veritas! UHHHH!
There are somewhere around thirty nine of these rules in James’ book, in what is clearly a bid for equal footing with Saul Alinsky — the left-wing community organizer whose 1971 Rules for Radicals pretty much animates ever aspect of James O’Keefe’s sad, pathetic life. To a lesser extent, he might also be trying to position himself as the next Roger Stone, the flamboyant, bodybuilding GOP campaign strategist whose Stone’s Rules basically appeal to the same beta males who read The Game. (Sample Stone’s Rules: “Never complain, never explain,” and “Don’t order fish at a steakhouse.”) Too numerous and specific to be of much use to anyone, some of O’Keefe’s Veritas Rules aren’t even rules, like this one:
12. Veritas Rule #28
Please God, let this error in judgment make it into the final version of O’Keefe’s book. In general, a fun game to play with all of these Veritas Rules is to pretend that they’re from something like Sun Tzu’s The Fart of War: An Unauthorized Parody.
11. James O’Keefe vs. The Racist Meme
Just so we’re all clear, the word “meme” is 8 years older than James O’Keefe. It’s been recognized as a word by the Oxford English Dictionary for over a decade now. There’s a readily available Wikipedia entry — whatever a “Wikipedia” is — that James or his ghost writers Joe Dirt and Rudy Giuliani could have perused to better understand these “meme” things.
What’s especially great about this is that James is expecting his audience to laugh here, thinking, “Duh-huh, huh. Yeah.” And he’s probably right! He is catering to his readership better than we — or anyone save for the ghostwriting Dream Team of Joe Dirt and Rudy Giuliani — could ever dream of.
10. James O’Keefe vs. The Partisan “Anti-Journalists” at Talking Points Memo
Ad revenue. This took less than a minute to determine.
A whole separate list could have been made citing all the times James asks his reader to Google something to prove one of his own inane points; or crows with pride over his total ignorance on a subject, be it how to dress convincingly undercover as a gay man (page 260), or “what Halliburton was doing wrong other than being large, profitable and once run by Dick Cheney” (page 100). If you dwell on this for too long, it is actually profoundly upsetting, so let’s press forward.
9. James O’Keefe vs. True Hardship
BREAKING: Silver Spoon Found Up Butt. Pages upon pages of blue-collar humblebrags in this book are completely undone by these four short sentences. After calling Andrew Breitbart’s home in Brentwood “modest,” after describing the scrimping and saving he performed to buy his used sailboat, after harping on the credit card debt he took on to make the ACORN videos, after a full chapter describing the physical hard labor he would do renovating buildings with his father and grandfather as a ten-year-old — after all that rhetorical effort — James O’Keefe accidentally hits the reset button. Americans have a right to know how O’Keefe felt using single-ply, generic brand toilet paper for the first time. Would he be willing to eat a “hot dog” with the Roosevelts in Hyde Park, to save England?
8. James O’Keefe vs. The Press at His 12/21/2011 Court Appearance
Sure, James. We look forward to seeing which media outlet runs with the headline “James O’Keefe: ‘I was Lindsay Lohan’” first.
7. The Treadstone Mess Moves Sideways
Robert Ludlum was a master of suspense, but not even he could have imagined what it would feel like to have special ed. teacher Alissa Ploshnick pursue you on a New Jersey State Highway traveling 25 MPH over the speed limit. In 1997, Ploshnick had received a commendation letter from then-President Bill Clinton for risking her life to save students from a speeding van. She was a formidable opponent and looking for payback. O’Keefe had first gotten Ploshnick suspended and docked a pay raise with his “Teachers Gone Wild” videos, which targeted an NJEA teacher’s union event. Then, he repeatedly harassed her at home and her workplace with an unhidden camera. Inexplicably, Ploshnick reacted to one of these confrontations by following O’Keefe’s car. What a fucking insane bitch! If this all sounds familiar, that’s because it mirrors the plot of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. Vintage le Carré!
6. The Idyll in the Rue Plumet vs. the Epic in the Rue St. Denis
It was difficult selecting which of O’Keefe’s incredibly self-aggrandizing comparisons were worth presenting in this list. Over the course of Breakthrough, he also compares himself to Philippe Petit, the French tightrope walker who crossed between the twin towers of the World Trade Center in 1974, and also an undocumented migrant worker, because — get this — he reports the stories that professional journalists won’t! However, in terms of literal operatic scope and implied suffering relative to moral turpitude, absolutely nothing, nothing, comes close to comparing oneself to Jean Valjean in Les fucking Misérables. But credit where it’s due — he refrains from comparing himself to Oskar Schindler.
5. Rough Sex
Every time one of James O’Keefe’s liberal enemies comes along claiming he’s got a problem with women, our first thought is, “What are you people even talking about?”
4. Brett Kimberlin “has focused his demonic energy on conservative citizen journalists”
In 1996, New Yorker reporter Mark Singer published Citizen K: The Deeply Weird American Journey of Brett Kimberlin. Clocking in at 381 pages, it is a book.
3. Hot for Plaintiff
What kind of hussy let’s her braided hair cascade dramatically to her waist, in a court of law!?!?!?! What’s great is that the body of this chapter is meant to dispel the idea that James O’Keefe did anything untoward with respect to Nadia Naffe, the African American conservative activist who alleges that James drugged her in his parents’ converted barn before stealing her panties and wireless mouse. Following one of Stone’s Rules, O’Keefe then makes the baseless counter-accusation that (all along!) Nadia Naffe had been a left-wing agent provocateur. Nowhere in Stone’s Rules, however, does it say you should come across as physically aroused by someone accusing you of sexual assault. We don’t want to speak for Roger Stone, but our guess would be that he’d advise against it.
2. Project Veritas Defector Izzy Santa vs. Classic Rock
In 2010, Izzy Santa famously lost her job as executive director of Project Veritas for warning CNN reporter Abbie Boudreau of O’Keefe’s plan to stage a “comical faux seduction” on board his used Catalina sailboat. But did she need to? Did she not understand that it was all a hilarious joke? When she famously told Boudreau, “You’re about to be punk’d,” did she think “punk’d” meant “seduced”?
It’s fun imagining James O’Keefe donning a translucent raincoat over his suit, Patrick Bateman-style, and fetching a chainsaw as he tries to explain it all to a cowering, terrified Izzy Santa.
“It’s from ‘Dirty Laundry,’ Izzy! The second single off Don Henley’s 1982 album I Can’t Stand Still, Henley’s first solo album and a masterpiece melding then-fashionable new wave with the soft rock sensibility that Henley had mastered as frontman for The Eagles.” O’Keefe would then swallow an unidentified prescription medication, continuing, “The musicianship on I Can’t Stand Still has a real consummate professionalism sorely lacking in 1982’s other new wave hits, which often came from performers much younger than Henley!”
“Some artists perform better when forced to collaborate within an ensemble,” O’Keefe would explain, his voice shouting over the revving two-stroke motor. “Phil Collins in Genesis, FOR EXAMPLE, BUT NOT DON HENLEY! HE REALLY CAME INTO HIS OWN HERE!”
1. James O’Keefe vs. The Very First Sentence of the Whole Book
“And it’s not just the multi-platinum sixth studio album of hard rock juggernaut Van Halen — the last that the band would produce with their iconic frontman, David Lee Roth. No. Izzy, put the fuzzy handcuffs starboard, near the bowl of condoms. 1984 is much more than that.”
Breakthrough: Our Guerilla War to Expose Fraud and Save Democracy by James O’Keefe. Threshold Editions, 2013.