I might as well come out swinging with my first proper (ish) post on this blog. So here goes.
Milo Yiannopoulos. What a twatwaffle, eh?
Now that I have dispensed with the unpleasantries, I’ll move on to what I actually wanted to say. Much ink and pixels have been spent going over the minutiae of Milo’s career, mapping out in disgusting detail the resume of an utterly amoral, cynical and ruthless opportunist. He has shilled sexism, racism, transphobia and homophobia (yes, really), among others, for money over a period of several years, blithely ignorant of the very real injury his words and actions have on people who are being targeted merely for being who they are, and by necessity have done nothing to deserve such vitriol.
As we all know, his end (as of now, at least) came when statements he had made condoning the sexual abuse of minors came to light, finally going one bridge too far even for many (though sadly not all) of his supporters. I don’t particularly feel like congratulating institutions like CPAC or Breitbart or Simon & Schuster (with whom Milo had a book deal) for cutting their ties with him over this, as I consider not giving a platform to child abuse apologists near the very minimum of required human decency.
What I want to know is why did this not happen sooner? It’s not like it was particularly hard to find evidence of Milo being a reprehensible scumbag after all, perpetuating pretty much every facet of bigotry you could imagine. Why did a number of universities invite a known racist to give speeches at their campuses? Why did Simon and Schuster give a quarter-million dollar book deal to a verified homophobe? Why did Bill Maher not only feel the need to have a virulent transphobe on his show, but let him spout his falsehoods entirely unchallenged – hell, even appear to validate them at times? Why did CPAC invite an unapologetic sexist to… Actually, that totally sounds like something they would do. Fuck those guys.
As YouTuber Steve Shives pointed out in a recent video (which is totes cool and you should all go watch that instead of reading this unoriginal tripe); minorities and the LGBTQ+ community will remember what they saw during the arc of Milo’s career. They saw a society and a media who didn’t care when Milo was targeting them. They saw a media who ate up Milo’s libertine act, pretending as if his hateful rantings somehow held discerning truth. They saw a society who laughed along as the trained monkey of the alt-right capered and danced and told its fascist jokes, and when they themselves tried to speak up in protest they were told that they should just get over it, that it’s only jokes and that words can’t hurt you. For some, who live this reality on a daily basis, this was merely another reminder of how the world they live in works. For others, who have a more privileged position, it should be an awakening and a call to take a stand sooner, whenever the next personification of a YouTube comment section shambles onto the public arena.
And as for you Milobots out there (Milonnials? Can I coin that term? Too late, just did!):
No, I am not calling Milo a racist, sexist, transphobe and homophobe because I disagree with him. It’s the other way around, I disagree with him because he is a racist, sexist, transphobe and a homophobe. Those are vile positions to hold, and I don’t want to associate with people who hold them – and neither should you. Further, I don’t care how harmful you might think ascribing these labels to Milo might be. They are an accurate description of who he is, and I am not going to restrain myself from calling hateful bigots for what they are, for fear of hurting their fee-fees.
Milo wanted to create an image of himself as the man who tells the uncomfortable, dirty truth to the world. Involuntarily, he may have played a part in doing precisely that. What’s on display now, in the wake of his downfall, just isn’t the truth he was trying to peddle.