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Greg Critser

I was at a wake for a Cathy Seipp, a friend who died of cancer a few years ago, and Andrew Breitbart was there. Most of us were talking about the deceased, as her daughter was present and we all had a humorous or comforting story to tell.

Breitbart, however, was going on and on about his next idea to create a show for Fox. We all stared at him.

"It's a great idea," he proclaimed. "I would call it 'Are You Lying?' and it would feature a panel of kids being presented with some liberal's speech, and then ask the kids to spot the lie in their statement and then yell 'Are you lying!?' It would be amazing! They would eat it up.'"

Besides showing the insensitivity of this alleged mammal, I think it illustrates three things about the mentality of LA's self-proclaimed "thinkers."

One is that they are desperate for attention. They can't stand being left out of the national conversation, so they have to invent ever-desperate ways to get on TV. Brietbart once even mined the agonizing death of a friend for a Fox media "exclusive."

Two is that they are desperate to be taken seriously. They can't stand that most Angelenos don't know who they are, and that, even if they did, they would not care. In this town Big Punditry takes a back seat to everything except big journalism and big government, those even lower down the scale. It is so not fair that no one cares about their monthly "salon" at the (befittingly) decaying hilltop restaurant Yamashiro.

Three: they really want girls to like them. Or to be perceived as someone girls would like. Ask any female who has attended their soirees. You tend to get one over-arching reaction: "we hate them" one told me recently.

All of which suggests to me that, if L.A.'s real thinkers--the ones that actually write, report, create and care about the country--should now do one thing: take heart.

Father Coughlin, the Breitbartian demagogue of the 1930s, died alone, in disgrace, and consigned to the garbage can of great lie-tellers.

Greg Critser is the author of "Fat Land: How Americans Became the Fattest People in the World" (Houghton Mifflin 2003), "Generation Rx: How Prescription Drugs are Altering American Minds, Lives and Bodies" (Houghton 2005) and most recently "Eternity Soup: Inside the Quest to End Aging" (Random House 2010.)

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