“Hey Joan just to let you know they bumped me from the speakers circle at Cali(fornia). 3 thousand miles for nothing . . . I didn’t realize it was to knock me out of the picture and then because I left Cali(fornia). To go back to NY to deal with Rauf Christian Action Network fired me.”
Andy Sullivan, Founder 911 Hard Hat Pledge
Once called the bellwether of the art market by the Economist, American painter, printer and filmmaker Andy Warhol coined the phrase 15 minutes of fame, in describing the ephemeral nature of the public’s recognition of an individual who, like a flash of a match after being struck, quickly extinguishes back into anonymity and irrelevance.
After a string of high profile media appearances including on Fox News, such a fate seems to be unfolding for 911 Hard Hat Pledge Founder Andy Sullivan, who’s recent guest turn on the 49th Parallel Forum and ill-advised exchanges in a Facebook comment stream revealed a prejudicial undertone of intolerance.
In much the same manner that a woefully under-qualified Wyclef Jean became a punchline for opportunistic endeavors when he announced his candidacy for the Haitian Presidency, Sullivan’s rhetoric of misquotes and overly dramatic imagery of rolling heads appears to have run its course, making him a liability to the cause. At least this would appear to be the case given his being ignominiously bumped as a speaker for a California conference, and his subsequent dismissal from the Christian Action Network.
To be fair to Sullivan however, and prior to his becoming enamored with his albeit temporary place in the celebrity spotlight, I always believed that he was originally a simple, down to earth guy with honest intentions. Similar to the Fredo character in The Godfather movies, Sullivan now appears to be the unknowingly convenient pawn in a much larger game where the 9/11 tragedy created a platform for open extremist intolerance that had long before the twin towers fell, been simmering beneath the surface.
Reminiscent of the former President of a publicly traded company who, during the dot com boom of the early millennium indicated to me that he really did not know how his company’s stock price increased 100-fold, but was intent on keeping it there, Sullivan did not embark on his journey with an eye to becoming famous. However having felt the warm glow of public interest, he is doing everything to maintain his tenuous hold on a dimming celebrity. He truly believes that the Ground Zero Mosque is an anathema to the memory of those whose lives were lost in the reprehensible terrorist attacks nearly 10 years ago. While this Joe The Plumber integrity of purpose is still part of the equation, it has largely been drowned out by questionable comments and dubious associations as demonstrated by Sullivan standing by a follower who’s derisive railings had more to do with ignorant hatred than a true understanding of the issues at hand. It is of course these most recent distracting and detracting missteps that have undermined the honest validity of Sullivan’s movement, making him a liability by drawing into question the true intent of those who stand against the Mosque being built.
Even though there will never likely be an open declaration by any of the parties involved acknowledging that the above referenced observations are true – in fact commentaries such as these have usually led to a public vote of confidence and praise, if history has taught us anything, it is that when someone departs from their natural environment it is usually a sign of the beginning of the end. Make no mistake, and like the proverbial fish out of water, the more Andy Sullivan attempts to navigate the fishbowl that is the public limelight, the further away he moves from his natural environment, and the core principles of his cause.