An Aborted Apologia for Milo Yiannopoulos

Milo YiannopoulosThere is nothing I like so much as a victim. I love defending them. And I will turn on a dime. I will denounce a man one day and defend him the next if I feel he’s become a victim. And for a short period of time, I felt that way about Milo Yiannopoulos. I’ll sketch out the argument that I was going to make and then I’ll discuss why I changed my mind.

The Case for Milo Yiannopoulos

There are various things that are wrong in the downfall of Milo Yiannopoulos. Let’s start with the fact that the man has been extremely vile for years regarding pretty much anything you can think of. But mostly he was sexist, racist, and transphobic. And he did it all in a manner to make it seem “cool.” Watching a 2 minute video of him is equivalent to receiving a doctorate in Hating With Style. Yet despite this, Simon & Schuster gave him a quarter million dollar advance on a book. CPAC made him its keynote speaker. (Good move, actually: Trump won white millennial voters.)

But then a known tape from 8 months ago shows up where Milo Yiannopoulos talks about the complexities of sexuality in young people and defines pedophilia as being attracted only to pre-pubescent children. Now, I have some sympathy for that view. When I see the outrage when some female teacher sleeps with her 16-year-old male student, I think it’s a bit much. I certainly think it’s wrong and I think the woman has obvious problems. But to pretend that this is in the same category of anally raping a seven-year-old is ridiculous. These matters are complicated, and Americans really don’t like complicated.

What probably got Milo Yiannopoulos in trouble, however, was this line, “I’m grateful to Father Michael; I wouldn’t give nearly as good head if it wasn’t[1] for him.” And that’s so clearly his shtick that it’s hard for me to take any more offense than hundreds of other things he said that were not over the line for the Good People™ at Simon & Schuster and CPAN and eventually even Breitbart.

The Better Case Against Milo Yiannopoulos

So I was willing to defend a man who has been very effective in making the world a worse place. But then I saw this headline at BuzzFeed, Milo Yiannopoulos Said He Was Sexually Abused as a Child and Resigned From Breitbart News. It was about his press conference yesterday. He said, “I am a gay man, and a child abuse victim. Between the ages of 13 and 16, two men touched me in ways they should not have.” He followed that up with, “My experiences as a victim led me to believe I could say almost anything on the subject, no matter how outrageous.”

Uh, no. You don’t get to do that.

As I said, the pedophilia remarks were his shtick. Now it would have been fine if he wanted to embrace his victimhood and say, “I was raped as a child and that no doubt is what has turned me into the vile person you have all come to know.” But he can’t say, “On this one issue (the only one you all seem to care about), I was wrong but the rest of what I said was right on!” Indeed, this was literally his apology at the press conference, “I don’t believe that sex with 13-years-olds is OK. I’m certainly guilty of imprecise language, which I regret… For those statements I made where I misspoke, I apologize.”

As Larry Wilmore said, “Go fuck yourself.”

He’s Not a Victim — Not for Long, Anyway

And note: I don’t think this is anything but a low point for Milo Yiannopoulos. For one thing, he’ll get to keep some if not all of the $250,000 advance. But for another, he’s done the fake apology. We won’t hear much for him for a while. But in two years at the absolute maximum, he’ll be back as a major player in the alt-right. Maybe he’ll go back to Breitbart. Regardless, time will heal his wounds. Because there is always a big audience for someone who can Hate With Style.

[1] Look, I’m not even going to explain it. Let’s just say that when you go around shaming people for being illiterate, you really better have your subjunctive mood down.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

3 thoughts on “An Aborted Apologia for Milo Yiannopoulos

  1. I have trouble trying to decide if I should be glad this took him down or worried that the next time it won’t be.

    Once upon a time a Senate Majority Leader was forced from office for saying an in retrospect mild racist thing. Now? I doubt even the use of the worst of the vulgar terms for non-whites will cause the right to expel anyone. In fact I expect it to return any day now on Fox.

    So I worry that this will be something that happens to abuse victims-that it won’t be enough to force CPAC to stop cheering on such vile hate.

    • That’s the thing with these people — they keep moving the bar. And if you tell them “you’re acting like a jerk” they get outraged. “Free Speech!” Well, it’s my free speech to call them jerks.

      One funny thing about all this? I got to explain to the better half what a troll is. She doesn’t do much internet stuff, so she’d never seen one before. Milo was a perfect example to illustrate the type.

  2. We’ll see. He could certainly find other places to write under a pseudonym. But his ego might be too big for that. He likes the college crowds and outraged responses; they make him feel smart.

    I suspect that turning turtle with his self-defense cost him a lot of troll fans. Trolls want to live vicariously through mean folks. They don’t want a whiny apologist as a hero.

    There’s another thing. I’d never seen this jerk before a few days ago, but he immediately reminded me of a certain type. An athlete who gets super successful, super fast, and lets it go to their head. Always bragging how great they are, how other players are intimidated by their awesomeness, etc. And if they stay successful, teammates will grudgingly tolerate the act.

    But once that player’s skills slip just a little bit, teams will unload that player like hot garbage.

    These are often the ones who blow all their salaries on cars, houses, entourages, etc. So when the fall comes, it comes hard. If Mr. Milo has been living that lifestyle, $250K can disappear mighty fast.

    And while I never wish physical suffering on anyone, it doesn’t break my heart if a jerk becomes poor.

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