In less than a week, professional provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos went from rising star to exiled disgrace. Yiannopoulos’ story is truly tragic, but one with an inevitable conclusion.
Milo was invited to keynote this week’s Conservative Political Action Committee Conference (CPAC), only to be disinvited after comments he made about pederasty surfaced. Reportedly, CPAC board members were kept in the dark about Milo’s invite.
Shortly thereafter, Milo lost a cushy book deal with Simon and Shuster.
Tuesday, Yiannopoulos announced his resignation from Breitbart Tech.
“It would be wrong to allow my poor choice of words to detract from my colleagues’ important reporting, so today I am resigning from Breitbart, effectively immediately. This decision is mine alone,” wrote Yiannopoulos in a written statement. “Breitbart News has stood by me when others caved.”
Milo is officially out at Breitbart pic.twitter.com/7dE1ggovJi
— Kyle Foley (@KFoleyFL) February 21, 2017
According to AdWeek, “PodcastOne, which hosts the Breitbart podcasts, is ending its partnership with the publication.”
Milo was long touted as a free speech advocate who had an almost uncanny way of ruffling progressive feathers.
But, when your entire schtick consists of riling up campus progressive groups, what exactly are you proving? And when you call your opponents things like dumb and stupid, how, exactly, are you advancing free speech or conservatism for that matter?
Author of Trust Me, I’m Lying, pegged Milo’s strategy:
You’re worried about “normalizing” their behavior when in fact, that’s the one thing they don’t want to happen. The key tactic of alternative or provocative figures is to leverage the size and platform of their “not-audience” (i.e. their haters in the mainstream) to attract attention and build an actual audience. Let’s say 9 out of 10 people who hear something Milo says will find it repulsive and juvenile. Because of that response rate, it’s going to be hard for someone like Milo to market himself through traditional channels. His potential audience is too spread out, and doesn’t have that much in common. He can’t advertise, he can’t find them one by one. It’s just not going to scale.
But let’s say he can acquire massive amounts of negative publicity by pissing off people in the media? Well now all of a sudden someone is absorbing the cost of this inefficient form of marketing for him. If a CNN story reaches 100,000 people, that’s 90,000 people all patting themselves on the back for how smart and decent they are. They’re just missing the fact that the 10,000 new people that just heard about Milo for the first time. The same goes for when you angrily share on Facebook some godawful thing one of these people has said. The vast majority of your friends rush to agree, but your younger cousin has a dark switch in his brain go on for the first time.
This is what creates the incentives for trolls to be more and more provocative and to care less and less about what normal, middle of the group people think. With Tucker, we knew that feminists were never, ever going to like his stuff. So we wanted to leverage that anger and outrage as that incredible force that it can be. When we tried to pay to name a Planned Parenthood clinic after him, the point wasn’t to greenwash his name through charitable donations. That never would have worked. The point was that “HOW DARE YOU?!” coverage from sites like Jezebel would naturally reach a number of people who thought the whole thing was funny and absurd. It would reach the people who hate-read Jezebel. It’d also be fuel for Jezebel’s critics.
This approach requires a certain shamelessness but it is effective because it puts the dominant group into the horns of a dilemma: Ignore them and let them do something offensive or object and give them the attention they need to survive and thrive? It’s why for Milo, there is no such thing as bad publicity right now. He’s maneuvered his brand with ruthless, bulletproof perfection.
Milo’s use of media manipulation to propel himself into the national spotlight is only part of the story.
As Robert Oscar Lopez wrote at The Stream, Yiannopoulos’ pederasty comments highlight a contradiction the LGBTQ movement likes to ignore.
I take seriously his joke about being sexually abused, which certainly fits in with his overall pattern of behavior. Many boys abused by older gay men are told this litany of rationalizations: This is who you are, you must be true to yourself, keep breathing and it will stop hurting, you will learn to like this, why fight this, it was you who wanted this, don’t you remember, you asked me to show you, nobody will believe you now that you’ve done it already so just settle in with the gay community for the long haul. Once the molester has conquered you he will likely throw you away, but the gay community will protect its own at all costs, and will crush you ruthlessly if you tell the truth to the world at large.
In a society soaked in porn where sexual orientation is discussed openly in front of small children, there will certainly be 12- and 13-year-olds who think they want sex and think they are ready for it. When we discuss “gay identity” with 6th graders, which is very common, what are we discussing? We are talking about sexual acts. Perhaps people need to stand up and resist the Human Rights Campaign’s recent push to force such curricula on elementary and middle schools.
The gay adults who often oversee such youth clubs like to project their own highly edited memories of growing up on young people (remember the “It Gets Better” series?). It is naive to think that you can encourage a 7th grader to identify as gay and then be shocked when he has sex with a man. Given the shortage of gay-identified boys within his age range, he will probably be initiated by an older man and then fall in with increasingly older men until he’s now 15 and sleeping with 45-year-olds.
And then the implosion was complete.
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