The Boy Who Flew Too Close To The Sun

After Underage Sex Comments, Milo Yiannopoulos Loses CPAC Invite, Book Deal (NPR)

Breitbart News editor Milo Yiannopoulos lost both a speaking gig at a prominent conservative event and a book deal in less than 24 hours.

First, Monday afternoon the American Conservative Union rescinded its invitation to the right-wing provocateur — noted for his political posts on the Internet — to speak at its annual Conservative Political Action Conference this upcoming weekend. Then, a few hours later, Simon & Schuster announced that it was canceling the publication of Yiannopoulos’ upcoming book, Dangerous.

These actions come in the wake of a social media backlash against Yiannopoulos after the conservative news outlet The Reagan Battalion tweeted videos on Sunday in which Yiannopoulos appears to condone statutory rape and sexual relationships between boys and men.

Milo Yiannopoulos Resigns From Breitbart News (NBC)

Right-wing provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos resigned as an editor from Breitbart News amid backlash from fellow conservatives over controversial comments he made on sexual relationships between boys and older men.

Speaking to reporters Tuesday, Yiannopoulos said he did not want his “poor choice of words” to take away from the “important job” of his colleagues, adding that the decision to step down was “mine alone.”

“Breitbart News has stood by me when others caved. They have allowed me to carry conservative and libertarian ideas to communities that would otherwise never have heard them. They have been a significant factor in my success. I’m grateful for that freedom and for the friendships I forged there,” Yiannopoulos wrote.

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Will Truman is a former professional gearhead who is presently a stay-at-home father in the Mountain East. He has moved around frequently, having lived in six places since 2003, ranging from rural outposts to major metropolitan areas. He also writes fiction, when he finds the time. ...more →

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156 thoughts on “The Boy Who Flew Too Close To The Sun

    • If the Deep State is controlling our politics by drawing attention to things that were already available on Youtube, it’s time to stop worrying about the Deep State.

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      • So you’re saying that all those that think Trump is going to usher in an era of Nazi like oppression, concentration camps for gays and feminists, and expel all the “browns” from the country leaving a crystal white Nordic country is something to stop worrying about also?

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        • No, I’m saying that insofar as the US has a Deep State, those people didn’t have anything to do with CPAC suddenly realizing that Milo has said a bunch of awful things on camera that are publicly available.

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        • “So you’re saying that all those that think Trump is going to usher in an era of Nazi like oppression, concentration camps for gays and feminists, and expel all the “browns” from the country leaving a crystal white Nordic country is something to stop worrying about also?”

          Yes, you can stop worrying, none of those tropes will come to pass.

          Instead, what you will have is more banal, but no less worrisome. An erosion of the trust and social glue that ties this country together. It will be more difficult to do things, to tackle problems. Everyone will be, at best, a stranger.

          Of course, some, perhaps even you, will cheer “yay, less social glue!!” But i remind people that the libertarian dream (I, know, you are not a libertarian) requires a high trust (what do you call a society when you don’t want to use the word society?). Without one, you cannot trust that the agreements you freely made will be honored by the counterparts,

          Some years ago, there was a lot of ink devoted to the análisis of high trust and low trust societies (the Anglo world and Japan as examples of Hong trust societies, the Latin world and China as low trust ones) and the impact it has in progress and wealth creation. Eroding trust won’t be cost free for us.

          And this doesn’t include the effect on the US place in the world if our allies can no longer trust us, nor we do trust them.

          So, don’t despair, you still have a lot to worry about

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    • The Deep State is a deeply stupid concept. The state like the market isn’t a unified anthropomorphic entity. Both consists of many individual actors with their own thoughts and desires. Sometime they work in concert and sometime there is conflict.

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      • I don’t think it’s a stupid concept. It’s a term used for the vast bureaucracy that often has “institutional momentum” different from what our elected leaders direct. That’s one reason why the “ship of state” doesn’t turn on a dime.

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        • While government bureaucrats are employed by the Executive branch, their job descriptions are laid out by statutes, rules, regulations, precedent, and annual appropriations. Political appointees can change agency priorities. But the act of undoing old rules and regulations is itself an agency action that requires compliance with both substantive and procedural laws.

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          • Yep. And people somehow thing that’s bureaucrats fighting back, when it’s actually….Congress. Congress of decades past, in fact, which often escapes people when the Executive and Congress are held by the same party. (“How can Congress be stopping it? They agree with the President!” Maybe they do, but they haven’t repealed all those laws dealing with regulation and rule making).

            And goodness, people can be very stubborn about it. They’ll absolutely refuse to believe the Executive branch is often bound by law to do things in a slow, very formal, way when it comes to creating, altering, or repealing regulations. (And the fact that there’s generally a bit of an escape hatch for recent regulations that allows easy repeal doesn’t help).

            I suppose calling it the “deep state” seems powerful and conspiratorial and brings meaning and motive, but the truth is often very simple: Congress doesn’t create regulations, but authorizes the creation of such in accordance with duly passed laws. As such, they made sure to dictate a process for rules and regulation that gives both Congress and the public plenty of time to weigh in, as a check to Executive overreach.

            And given those laws are rather foundational to the modern Executive branch, Congress doesn’t like to tinker with them for short term gain. What goes around comes around, and it’s not like Congress gets the blame for the lengthy regulatory processes.

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  1. I’m surprised it took a year for this to surface.

    This is why I never get worked up over people like Milo. The sensationalists, the provocateurs, the bomb throwers, because bomb throwers are in it for the throwing much more than for the bombs, or the targets. They always manage to hit a highly sympathetic target, or they toss out a random nuke among all the firecrackers & Molotovs, because they aren’t really paying attention.

    ETA: Milo nailed a Trifecta. He hit children, he tossed sex, and he got a good radiation plume from the subtle fear (especially among some socons) that gay people, particularly gay men, are all pedophiles targeting our young boys).

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  2. The left wing view on the fall of Milo

    https://www.currentaffairs.org/2017/02/what-well-tolerate-and-what-we-wont

    But just as interesting as what didn’t make Yiannopoulos toxic is what did. Ironically, the remarks that finally got him expelled from the mainstream were among his less indefensible. He has been condemned by almost everybody for “defending pedophilia.” But this is not quite fair. In fact, while his comments are shocking, the arguments he is making are not unfamiliar in LGBT discourse. As Current Affairs editor Yasmin Nair explained in a thoughtful and provocative essay in 2005, the intensity of feelings around child abuse often prevent people from appreciating nuanced arguments. Nair was writing about a publisher’s decision to exclude an article on pederasty from a book on the history of same-sex relationships, after right-wing complaints that it would condone “rampant child molestation.” As she writes, there is a long tradition of the right using fears about pedophilia “to condemn all queers, particularly gay men, as predators of children.” It is often impossible to have a discussion about the reality of queer people’s lives, because anyone who speaks of their neutral or positive experiences with older people as a youth is perceived as endorsing pedophilia.

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    • I find it weird that adult/ teen sexual contact is so inflammatory a topic when it comes to gays, but “barely legal” porn is the most popular kind for straight folks.

      Or maybe that’s why.
      Adults, both straight and gay, want to distance themselves from their own complex desires and shame by embracing 18+ desire, while holding that 18- is unfathomably freakish.

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        • Sexuality is a complex thing, since there is this gap between biological desire which begins at the onset of puberty, and cultural gateway to sexuality, which is usually set at a few years beyond that, from 16 to 18 generally.

          Most cultures grasp this and evolve ways to handle it with various ceremonies like and practices that set boundaries.

          The resetting of boundaries during the Sexual Revolution left Western culture without the tools to address the complexity of desire, since stifling desire was seen as unhealthy.

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          • What I’ve noticed about myself over the past few weeks is that at 36, I am really aging out of finding teenagers to be attractive.

            There is a Korean TV series called Reply which is basically the Korean version of the Wonder Years. You see the characters in their teenage years during the flashback sections (which is most of the action). One thing I’ve noticed in the Reply 1988 season is that I find the 45 year old version of the female protagonist significantly more attractive than the 18 year old version.

            When I watched the first series with my girlfriend (Reply 1997), I noted that I found the mom (played by an actress in her early 40s) to be much more attractive than the teenager daughter protagonist. My girlfriend found this a bit funny for some reason.

            This weekend I had dinner with a woman in her early 20s. She was very smart in an academic sense of being able to get a tough degree from a top grad program but for some reason she still spoke like a teenager and I found that off-putting.

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        • “Which might be why American TV shows frequently cast actors in their 20s to play teenagers and actors in their 30s to play 20 somethings.”

          I think that has more to do with the fact that actual teenagers often have legal restrictions or commitments like school that limit the time they can spend working, and they also do this thing where they grow up and change their physical appearance which makes it hard for showrunners to pretend that time isn’t passing.

          I’m gonna need more of a cite for “actors in their 30s playing 20-somethings”.

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          • I would like to think they cast actors in their twenties in teen roles because acting is a learned skill, and the older actors have had more time to learn it. Sadly, I don’t actually believe this.

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          • Child labor laws. The original Malcolm in the Middle idea had him in the middle, the second of three brothers. They added Francis, the oldest brother at the military school, in order to cut down the set time for the younger three.

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          • and they also do this thing where they grow up and change their physical appearance which makes it hard for showrunners to pretend that time isn’t passing.

            This.

            Aging is weird.

            People’s appearance change in odd ways, especially during puberty (Because duh.), and then again around 20-ish. (Because their metabolism changes.)

            So if you want an actor to look the same age years later (Or intend to do flashbacks.), it often makes sense to cast the oldest person who looks that age, because they *already went through* the age transition, and came out looking young.

            I.e., someone who is 15, and looks 15, might suddenly change appearances from year to year thanks to puberty. So you pick someone who is 18…plus, the laws favor that, and people are less icked out if you sexualize them even *if* their character is supposed to be younger.

            Everyone sorta gets that.

            But what people don’t realize is that someone who look ~20 at 20 might suddenly look ~28 at 22, because their body is still changing. Whereas someone who looks ~20 at *25* is going to look 20 for the next decade or two, because their body probably already did the early-20 change and the next thing to happen to people at 30 is, basically, gaining wrinkles. (Well, and gaining weight and hair changes, but *those* can be fought or covered up.)

            This is all, of course, wild rules of thumbs. There are plenty of people who age differently. But casting agents do not have a way to see the future.

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    • “while his comments are shocking, the arguments he is making are not unfamiliar in LGBT discourse…”

      The troll that provokes only flames in response is not the true troll.

      Perhaps the point here is that someone can roll out the same things that LGBT advocates say all along which we’re just supposed to accept as inherently valid but somehow, this time, it’s disgusting garbage that no sane human being should accept in their mind even to refute it.

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    • I like Laurie Penny’s take on the whole thing: https://psmag.com/on-the-milo-bus-with-the-lost-boys-of-americas-new-right-629a77e87986#.v2d2caady

      It’s really more about his followers. Some highlights:

      It seems perfunctory to point out the hypocrisy of building a movement and a career on the back of insulting people?—?Muslims, migrants, women, people of color?—?while nursing a hair-trigger sensitivity to any personal attack you haven’t pre-approved. That hypocrisy, though, does not appear self-evident to anyone within this movement, because a fundamental tenet of far-right pro-trolling is that it’s only other people’s feelings that are frivolous. Their own feelings, by contrast, including the capacity to feel shame when they’re held accountable for their actions, are so momentous that infringing them is tantamount to censure, practically fascism in and of itself. These are men, in short, who have founded an entire movement on the basis of refusing to handle their emotions like adults.

      […]

      If Yiannopoulos is as screwed as he seems, the left has little to celebrate in the manner of the defeat; he has been brought down, after all, by the one weapon we don’t want to give power to. He has been brought down not by reasoned liberal argument, nor by moral victory over his cod theories, nor by anti-fascist agitation. He has been brought down by conservative moral outrage. Specifically, by conservative moral outrage over gay male sexuality. I can think of nobody on Earth who more richly deserves to be humbled and held accountable. I just wanted my team to be the ones to do it.

      Delicious as you might find it to see karma come for Yiannopoulos, what he actually said about gay relationships and child molestation was less offensive than a great many bigoted things he has come out with?—?in part because, for once, it seemed just a little bit true to his experience. When he spoke about consenting relationships between adult men where there’s a large age gap, he was talking about something that is a real and meaningful part of romantic experience for a lot of gay men?—?and something that American conservatives seem to have no problem with when the participants are heterosexual or, indeed, presidential candidates. His mangled age-of-consent comments and crass priest jokes are a bridge too far, especially for the conservative mainstream, which has so far held performative racism, transphobia, sexism, and xenophobia as well within the bounds of free speech. Today, absolutely nobody, from his publishers to his former tour promoter, is defending Yiannopoulos’ right to consequence-free speech. This is not liberalism winning the day. This is the victorious far right purging the brownshirts.

      On a related note, the rise of “Trumpism” among the -chan crowd: https://medium.com/@DaleBeran/4chan-the-skeleton-key-to-the-rise-of-trump-624e7cb798cb#.g9hwituk9

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      • “while nursing a hair-trigger sensitivity to any personal attack you haven’t pre-approved.”

        If you’re gonna tell me that insults are bad and the worst thing, then what does it say about you when you insult people?

        ” the rise of “Trumpism” among the -chan crowd”

        If grown-ups flip out every time someone says a Bad Word then kids are gonna start saying Bad Words just because it’s funny to watch grown-ups flip out. This is not a new or radical concept that popped into existence when 4chan went online.

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      • It is a terrific article, well worth everyone’s time to read the whole thing.

        Her point about whose team took milo down is spot on.
        It wasn’t the liberals- we’ve been yelling about him forever.

        It was the rump conservative faction, Nevertrumpers, that finally swayed CPAC and Brietbart to dump him.

        But as we’ve pointed out, the mass of Milos/ Trumps are still there, holding the whip hand of the modern GOP.

        And the Never Trumps have no ammunition really, because they themselves aren’t popular with the base.

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        • Isn’t that just a basic fact about political strategy? That a figure only goes down in flames when their based of support cracks, not due to the outrage of people expected to be their opponents?

          Milo was a vehicle to induce outrage in left-wing America, because people who don’t like left-wng America find that funny. He was pretty much by definition not going down by anything a left-winger said about him.

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        • Let’s be frank, CPAC dumped him because he was an embarrassment to the current Republican administration that is attending and speaking. If this happened in 2015, it likely would have blown over. However, making the pederast = conservative = Trump view too obvious was too much.

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          • I don’t think this is entirely accurate. The ACU board itself wasn’t comfortable with the decision, made without their consultation. The only question is whether Brannon/Breitbart would have had enough juice to prevent it from being rescinded. Which I don’t think he would have, because he wasn’t a Power Behind The Throne yet.

            The tougher question is what would things look like if Trump had lost. Bannon would have less juice, but more than he had in 2015, and without Trump in the White House, Breitbart might not be making the pivot I (now believe) they are trying to make.

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            • The fact that Trump was announced as an attendee shortly after the invitation was rescinded seems far to pat to be a coincidence. Without heavy administration attendance, they could weather and say, “We are willing to have speakers we disagree with on stage, unlike you liberals,” but with Trump there you have, “Republicans tacitly approve of pederasty. Exhibit A: Milo, Exhibit B: A barrage of Trump tapes.” Putting the two close together is uncomfortable to say the least.

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              • Members of the ACU board was making it clear that they were not consulted pretty immediately. Before the video revelation, even. And when knives come out this fast, they were already within reach. His support outside his fan club was not especially deep. The main variable is Bannon/Breitbart and their level of pull.

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      • v,
        Alright, this guy’s incompetent (and wrong about more than I’m going to bitch about now). I didnt see the n-word anywhere appropriate.

        It is FAR FAR more interesting to look at 4chan’s support of Obama than of Donald Fucking Trump.

        Also, 4chan is basically dead.

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        • 4chan is dead now, just as Something Awful is dead. But the place was thriving not so long ago, and gamergate happened, and /pol was a thing, and “anime nazis” were a thing, and those chucklefucks are still out there, lonely broken white boys trying to figure out how to be a hero in a world that doesn’t really need them.

          So yeah. The fact that some whatever-dot-com is no longer thriving misses the point.

          If you want to talk about the -chans and Obama, go ahead.

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      • [Milo] has been brought down, after all, by the one weapon we don’t want to give power to. He has been brought down not by reasoned liberal argument, nor by moral victory over his cod theories, nor by anti-fascist agitation. He has been brought down by conservative moral outrage. Specifically, by conservative moral outrage over gay male sexuality. I can think of nobody on Earth who more richly deserves to be humbled and held accountable. I just wanted my team to be the ones to do it.

        I’m confused. Is the “one weapon we don’t want to give power to” really “conservative moral outrage”? Conservatives are the ones who achieved what liberals didn’t, and given the current political dynamic could not have: taking down Milo. Doesn’t this point to a logical problem regarding not only the efficacy of liberals’ tactics but the coherence of the objectives and conceptual schemes being employed?

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        • The distress, I believe, is that it was ONLY the squick over man/boy sex that was the red line.
          A grown man ogling half naked 15 yo girls was enthusiastically elected President; Milo’s neo Nazi sympathies, Muslim hatred and misogyny were all safely within acceptable boundaries.

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          • Hence the criticism that conservatives didn’t take Milo down for the “right” reasons. So we’ll use their bullshit arguments to reinforce our own moral outrage to make sure we don’t give power to their moral outrage? (WTF?)

            Hell, they took down Milo. Seems to me we (some of us!!) should be celebrating that and giving credit where it’s due. It’s not like liberal outrage was ever gonna achieve that end. The opposite, in fact.

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              • But there’s no celebration. The whole article amounts to a criticism of conservative’s for the grounds upon which they kicked Milo to the curb. The implied conclusion is that we’d be better off if conservatives’ didn’t reject Milo and instead continued to embrace him so that we could be the ones to finally take him down. For the right reasons.

                Tactically that makes no fucking sense.

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                • “The implied conclusion is that we’d be better off if conservatives’ didn’t reject Milo and instead continued to embrace him”

                  There’s no implied conclusion, there’s a stated conclusion that they didn’t reject Milo enough. Like, maybe Hitler was a vegetarian but that doesn’t mean he was a nice guy.

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                • I find myself thinking, if Watergate were to happen today, there’d be a lot of tut-tutting that Republicans can’t turn against Nixon now, for this, when they didn’t oppose him when he did X, Y, and Z.

                  (“Oh, sure, he engage in illegal wars and supports this policy and that policy, but it’s a break-in that’s the final straw? Puh-leaze.”)

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                  • Or on the flip side, if Dems/liberals were to say, “well, sure he broke into the DNC headquarters to bug the office and so on, but we’re not going to get behind dismissing him for that reason. He’s a cynical lunatic who used the FBI as a personal security force and carpet-bombed Cambodia! We need to impeach him for the RIGHT reasons!”

                    {{Rereading, we’re actually saying the same thing. It’s so crazy I can’t keep the logic straight even with people I agree with!}}

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          • It’s worth noting that the last straw is rarely the biggest. This probably wouldn’t have happened but for the fact that there was blowback to the invitation immediately, before the revelation. Milo defenders saying the revelation was only pretense are not right (absent the revelation, Milo probably speaks), but not entirely wrong.

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            • Many liberals are missing the fact that there is in fact a civil war among conservatives, between the Never Trump and Trump factions.

              However, the battle at this moment has turned “not necessarily to our favor”, since the Trump faction is in charge pretty much across the board. Milo’s fall doesn’t change that one bit.

              The weakness of the Never Trump faction is that the things they stand FOR are unpopular; Nobody really gives two farts about fiscal conservatism or deregulation.

              But the things the Trump faction is for- Hatred of Muslims, Mexicans, feminism are wildly popular. Milo’s fall doesn’t change this one bit, either.

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  3. It also clarified the rabid madness of the conservative movement, so desperate to hurt women, gays, transgender and Muslims they embraced him (and many still furiously do).

    Had the videos not surfaced, Milo would still be their hero.

    He may be gone, but the forces are still there, desperately hoping for another champion to pick up the banner. And they will find one.

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  4. The problem with Miloism is not Milo.

    The people who were willing to buy his book are still looking for books just like the one that they were willing to buy.

    I see the cheerfulness about Milo and see nothing more than people shouting “HURRAY! WE CUT ANOTHER HEAD OFF OF THE HYDRA!”

    Yeah, you sure cut the hell off of that head.

    If we’re lucky, the amount of charisma Milo was able to generate was an outlier. The next person to attempt what he (almost) pulled off isn’t likely to have as much charisma.

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    • There is a history of fringe movements being brought down, or at least significantly stalled, by big public flameouts like this. Buckley and the Birchers comes to mind, where a truly dangerous movement was cut off from political power and fizzled out. Superman and the KKK is probably the ideal, though. In that case, a movement got discredited both in it’s tropes and it’s meaning simply by demonstrating it’s stated goals. CPAC is definitely rejecting the tropes of the MILO movement and thus limiting some of it’s political power, but we’ll have to see how much of the meaning remains.

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        • A big trope of his is “I cannot be a racist because I love black cocks“. Which is the idea that his identity – who he’s attracted to, who he’s friends with, etc. – implies that his statements cannot be offensive or contribute to real harm. It’s “I have plenty of minority friends” taken to it’s extreme. Another trope is that offending our enemies is sufficient evidence that he deserves a platform. I think he tried to lean on both of these in his various apologies and especially in his press conference and was unsuccessful. It will be interesting to see how the right reacts next time college protestors cite CPAC against an inflammatory speaker.

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          • My guess is this will have my effect on the front-end than the backend. There’s a good chance Milo gets less invitations. Maybe a college admin does try to use this to bar it, but the analogy to this is faulty (though that may or may not matter).

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            • “A big trope of his is “I cannot be a racist because I love black cocks“. ”

              “My guess is this will have [more] effect on the front-end than the backend.”

              okay this is just getting silly you guys

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      • There is a history of fringe movements being brought down, or at least significantly stalled, by big public flameouts like this.

        This doesn’t feel like a repudiation of anything ideological at all.

        Milo was brought down. Not the alt-right. Not gamergate. Maybe CPAC… but I’m not sure that wasn’t obsolete anyway.

        Your example of Buckley was an example of a guy bringing down a movement.

        This is an example of a movement losing a speaker.

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    • My response is that charisma was why Milo was able to do what he did. If he’d been some ugly nerd then nobody would care that he was saying awful things right there in public and refusing to apologize.

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  5. One thing I would say about this story is that, while there maybe isn’t cause for a coast-to-coast party with all of this, Milo will actually be kind of difficult for the bad guys to replace. There is a reason that there aren’t would-be clones in the wings. Of particular note was that he had a young following that’s not easy for such provocateurs to accomplish.

    Since I (wrongly) thought Trump would lose, my main concern was that the next one would be better than him, and would win. With Milo it’s kind of the opposite. Milo was (no pun intended) dangerous precisely because of who he was, and him being off the board (or a little further off to the side, anyway) is quite a good thing.

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  6. I hadn’t yet caught up with who the f**k this Milo person was or why anyone cared enough about him and what he had to say to try to get him banned from venues or to invite him to them in the first place. Now I won’t have to, but just out of curiosity, who the f**k was he and why did anyone care?

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    • He was a provocateur for the right. A gay Brit whose bread and butter was saying things everybody but the In-Group considered absolutely terrible. Then he’d feed off the outrage and get bigger. Wash, rinse, repeat. The things he would say tended to be racist of misogynistic, an he encouraged (usually implicitly) mob behavior. He was one of the early people behind memes where Jewish conservative writers (and others) were photoshopped into images of ovens. He was kicked off Twitter for riling people up against an African-American actress.

      (In a parallel with right now, a lot of Jewish conservative writers were kind of pissed off that putting them in ovens was okay but the thing that got him kicked off wasn’t.)

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  7. I think said it on Twitter, but who is going to come along to replace Milo as King of the Trolls? Lord knows there are a lot of right wing folks who would love to take what’s left of his 15 minutes.

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  8. Milo will come back as a critic of the right. He will return to his old boring personality and flatter the left by saying, “I was a racist, sexist hedonist and conservatives loved me because it made the right people mad. They don’t have principles, now read my tell all.” And then, because Americans love a comeback story, he will be redeemed and become a thorn in the paw of the right.

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