The Irony, Paradox and Contradiction of Milo Yiannopoulos

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Milo’s act is nothing new, part circus freak show combined with unemployed pantomime drag act. For his followers though he appears “cutting edge” and “risqué”.

So he’s back. The self proclaimed provocateur, troll queen, out of work pantomime drag act, Milo Yiannopoulos is back. Much like a turd that refuses to go quietly around the u-bend, Yiannopoulos resurfaced last week on NBC, announcing that he will undertake a new tour hell bent on attacking the sensitivities of the over sensitive.

We haven’t seen Milo since his resignation from Breitbart following widespread condemnation of his comments on the gay age of consent, even though this reaction came a year after he initially made the comments. Yes, the comments he made could be construed as inappropriate, but doesn’t the fact that the outrage took a year to be expressed call into question the degree of sincerity and authenticity behind the sentiment?

Now that the dust has settled, and if we’re all honest about it, what really happened was some of the people who find Yianopoulos to be an odious twit,  of which there is no shortage, became aware of some distasteful comments he made on a podcast called the Drunken Peasants. These people saw the opportunity to twist Yiannopoulos’ comments around into arguing that he sympathised with paedophilia. The fact that the outrage occurred over a year after he made the comments can be, perhaps cynically, attributed to Yianopoulos’ increasing fame and the impending release of his new book. Don’t get me wrong, I found Milo’s comments on child abuse to be crass and flippant, but let’s be honest, Yiannopoulos would fellate his own grandfather if he knew it would get him a minutes worth of media exposure.

I know that ­­­whenever anyone starts a sentence by saying, “I’m not homophobic, but…”, they tend to go on to say something extremely homophobic. So let’s see what happens when I give it a whirl. I’m not homophobic, but I get really annoyed when someone uses their sexuality as gimmick to support their argument, and that is precisely what Yiannopoulos does. Like some sort of failed pantomime drag act, Yiannopoulos openly admits to using an outrageously camp style to deliver his message. For people that have lived a sheltered life, this mincing polemicist appears to be avant-garde, the enigmatic paradox of a conservative homosexual is enough to fascinate people and keep them entertained. Add to this his supposed Catholic faith and Yiannopoulos provides us with an act, or character of contradictions, capable of causing considerable cognitive dissonance.

But when I look at this character objectively, I realise that he’s nothing more than a manufactured iconoclast,a giant zeitgeisty contradiction. He talks about basing arguments on facts while espousing a belief in an unprovable supernatural deity. He’s openly homosexual yet claims to be Catholic, despite the fact that homosexuality isn’t accepted by the Catholic church. But Yiannopoulos’ religious experience doesn’t end with him being a Catholic, rather it goes on to include that he was abused by a Catholic priest while he was a minor. This is a perpetual chain of contradictions, contradictions that have been contrived in order to generate interest.

I do find Mr. Yiannopoulos entertaining, in the same way that in the past I have found other drag acts to be. But Yiannopoulos confuses his audience, which doesn’t seem to be an especially difficult thing to do, as they fail to discern between the bawdy, drag entertainment that is paired with an essentially hateful rhetoric. In essence it would be like having Ronald McDonald present a plan for the reintroduction of slavery, it looks fun but hides a sinister message. Milo Yiannopoulos has created a  comical character to deliver a divisive message that people find intriguing. But, he’s a character filled with contradictions, and theses contradictions extend to his message.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about the whole Milo phenomena is how a gay Brit has become a champion for American rights? I mean the irony alone of a British person, whether gay or not, upholding the rights that a country granted themselves after becoming independent of Britain, should make Milo’s platform an impossibility. What’s next, a German lesbian Nazi giving speeches in Tel Aviv on the dangers of antisemitism? Or, what about an executive of a petrochemical company lecturing groups of native Americans on protecting the environment? It just seems to go against the grain, that a Brit is motivated to protect the liberties of a country that got its liberty from the country he is a citizen of.

Sometimes I start to suspect that Milo Yiannopoulos’ concern for the First Amendment might actually be disingenuous, and that he’s just stumbled upon a cause that feeds his insatiable appetite for infamy, and rewards him for expressing the same tired, old opinions ad nauseum, leaving him sounding like a satnav system going round a roundabout. Feminism, Islam, immigration,  freedom of speech, feminism, Islam, immigration, freedom of speech, and on, and on…There’s an election in his own country, doesn’t he feel compelled to weigh in with his polemic discourse, or is he only interested in America because that’s where his circus act, freak show makes the most money? It’s certainly a puzzle. I haven’t seen his desire for standing up for the freedom of speech for the people in say Zimbabwe,  as a former member of the British Commonwealth it would actually make more sense, with the one exception, it wouldn’t make Milo anywhere near as much money.

It’s also interesting to note that Yiannopoulos’ passion for our right to the freedom of speech fails to extend to his own website, which censors all comments before they appear on it. You see the freedom of speech only works for Milo and his supporters when it suits them. Is this hypocritical?

Milo – Why Today’s Troll is just Tomorrow’s Social Justice Warrior

Hasn’t anybody else realised the contradiction inherent in the whole Milo argument? Milo has identified so called Social Justice Warriors (SJW’s) as having been the catalyst behind the problems that have developed as a result of unenforced immigration practices, extreme feminism, political correctness,  and a failure to require Islam to adopt western values. And up to a point he’s absolutely right. Where I take issue with Yiannopoulos is with his identifying Social Justice Warriors as being the problem, and I take issue for two reasons.

Firstly, the people who riot, get angry, and generally act irrationally at the slightest provocation, on issues that don’t directly affect them aren’t SJW’s, they’re simply idiots. And as such idiots are everywhere, like Steve Miller once said, “clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right”. Idiocy permeates across the entirety of the political spectrum. Branding idiots as SJW’s is giving idiocy more credit than it deserves. These people are what they are, idiots. To me at least it appears ironic that today we’re calling idiots, Social Justice Warriors, it sounds like a politically correct way of just referring to idiocy.

Secondly, let’s look at a definition of Social Justice Warrior and compare that to what Milo Yiannopoulos himself does:

A pejorative term for an individual who repeatedly and vehemently engages in arguments on social justice on the Internet, often in a shallow or not well-thought-out way, for the purpose of raising their own personal reputation. A social justice warrior, or SJW, does not necessarily strongly believe all that they say, or even care about the groups they are fighting on behalf of. They typically repeat points from whoever is the most popular blogger or commenter of the moment, hoping that they will “get SJ points” and become popular in return. They are very sure to adopt stances that are “correct” in their social circle.

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=social%20justice%20warrior

  • The first sentence of the definition:

“…an individual who repeatedly and vehemently engages in arguments on social justice on the Internet, often in a shallow or not well-thought-out way, for the purpose of raising their own personal reputation.”

Milo fulfils this criteria thus:

Milo’s whole argument is centred around our right to the freedom of expression. Given that this is the protected by first amendment it isn’t unreasonable to infer that the freedom of speech is considered the most fundamental of our inalienable rights. Therefore, isn’t anyone who believes there is a need to campaign for it, to some degree campaigning for social justice, and QED must themselves be a Social Justice Warrior?

  • The second sentence of the definition states:

A social justice warrior, or SJW, does not necessarily strongly believe all that they say, or even care about the groups they are fighting on behalf of.

The fact that there is a British man arguing for American constitutional rights, would appear to me to be incongruous and therefore disingenuous. What’s next, a campaign against pig farming subsidies in Latvia?

  • The third sentence of the definition of a Social Justice Warrior reads:

They typically repeat points from whoever is the most popular blogger or commenter of the moment, hoping that they will “get SJ points” and become popular in return.

Ben Shapiro is the brainchild of the majority of Yiannopouolos’ opinions. Both were former employees at Breitbart, essentially their only difference is the proclivity one of them has for thinking that wearing a dress strengthens their message.

  • The final sentence of the defeinition states:

They are very sure to adopt stances that are “correct” in their social circle.

As a contrarian, a polemicist, an iconoclast and self professed troll, Yiannopoulos, like any good entertainer, plays to the expectations of his audience. To his credit Yiannopoulos has full awareness of what has garnered him so much interest, and he continues to feed it. This is largely why we’ve never seen any change in his act nor his message. Yiannopoulos sounds controversial, but in essence all he is saying is exactly what is audience hopes he will, a message that challenges the establishment and political correctness. A message that Milo Yiannopoulos appears willing to continue to repeat for as long as there are people willing to listen to him and give him their money.

Milo Yiannopoulos is little more than a carefully created character, part circus freak, part drag act. He’s made politics accessible to a generation that were raised by games consoles as opposed to parents. Yiannopoulos’ greatest appeal is that he makes his audience feel that they are more intelligent by feeding them with arguements that challenge the status quo. But at the end of the day it’s nothing more than an act, if P. T. Barnum were alive today Milo Yiannopoulos would be placed centre stage, because both of them believe in the following Barnum saying:

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Post Script

Only hours after I posted this article, Milo Yiannopoulos released tasteless and crass comments in the wake of the terrorist attack st the Manchester Arena. Yiannopoulos that suggested that Ariana Grande sympathises with Islamic extremism. For a man who apparently bases his reasoning on facts, we should ll be asking what proof he has for this outrageous suggestion.

Much of the hatred towards Grande stems from comments she made in a doughnut shop over 2 years ago. I find it ironic, hypocritical even, that conservatives can’t forget this while they have told us all to stop talking about a president and his pussy grabbing comments. I’m starting to suspect that this up surge of conservatism led by Mr. Yiannopoulos is just a hypocritical as the loony liberals who preceded them.

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Attempts to Understand the Alt Right #1 – The Birth

During a largely incoherent rant last week I stated my intention to write a series of posts that would attempt to report objectively on the alternative-right, with the purpose of encouraging more meaningful debate that is based on informed opinion, as opposed to the incomprehensible hysteria that has been the reaction of many of those who would consider themselves liberals, progressive liberals, or as the alt-right pejoratively refers to them Social Justice Warriors.

Liberals React to the Trump Presidency

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Colbert discovers the moisturizing benefits of adding face cream to your hands during a bout of hysteria.

 

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On Wall Street, in a vainglorious attempt at demonstration. A Social Justice Warrior sets fire to a BMW, and then seems to offer himself up as a sacraficial barbecue whilst being cheered on by a random Canadian flag waving agitator.
The idea of going from Obama to Trump had trapped Simone in a never ending reality of just 3 seconds.
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American madness continues.  After being confronted by a multitude of demonstrating breasts, one young police officer can only respond by running face first into a wall.
Every morning since the election had been the same. After watching just 5 minutes of CNN the employees of the gay and lesbian wedding emporium could never get back to work.

 

The Origins of the Alternative Right

A Not so Immaculate but Understandable Conception

An artist’s impression of the love child spawned out of an Obama/Clinton orgy. Subject matter so terrifying that the artist himself was last sighted dressed only in a long beard, clutching a crack pipe and shuffling his way around the Himalayas.

Like some sort of hideously deformed love child that could be expected in the aftermath of some Obama, Clinton orgy of Armageddon. Rising like a phoenix that’s struggled for it’s freedom after fighting its way out of the retentive anus of liberal political correctness. However you choose to look at it, the alt-right is an ideology that’s not going to just disappear. Historically speaking a new age of philosophy, art, or literature is always formed as a response to, as opposed to a continuation of, the central ideas and values of the age that preceded it. The alternative right is the ideological by product that follows two decades of ‘touchy feely,’ ‘wishy washy,’ liberal values. As a political movement it has gained enormous traction in what appears to be a very short amount of time. Whether you support it or find it to be an abomination, the alternative right looks like it’s set to form a part of the political landscape for a considerable time to come. Whatever becomes of the alt-right only time will tell, but I’m pretty sure that ignorance on the matter will in no way benefit the outcome.  

The start of the alt-right is attributed to a blogger and podcaster called Richard B. Spencer, I’m a little skeptical as to how much we can attribute the start of the movement to Spencer. It appears that Spencer was probably the person that first coined the phrase “alt-right”, but naming something and starting something must surely be different. It seems a little absurd to think that something fails to exist before it can be named, and as such I believe that the credit for starting the alt-right movement might have been been misappropriated.

Surprisingly, it’s not uncommon for Spencer to be called a white supremacist. When charged with such an accusation, the cerebrally adroit Spencer responds by informing us that he is in actual fact an “identitarian”. What that exactly means, or even if it is successful at side stepping the accusation, I can’t be sure. This is an issue that I find myself running up against continually as I try to work out exactly what the alt-right is, I am always left to feel like I’m knitting with fog, dealing with an amorphous society of shape shifters. Every time when I feel like I’m close to being able to definitively label them as a far right, fascist cult, they change. They re-brand themselves, they distort semantics in order to extricate themselves out of corners they have backed themselves into. Spencer is a case in point, upon Googling his name and looking at a number of articles my eye is quick  to see terms like, “white supremacist,”  being used with what appears to be a certain degree of ease and confidence when discussing Spencer and his creation the alt-right. But like I said, if you throw the label of white supremacist at Spencer, he effortlessly blocks it with identitarian and I inevitably just get more and more confused.

If this is the first time that you’ve heard the name Richard B. Spencer I’m pretty sure that you would have already seen him. It was Spencer, who while addressing the far right think tank the National Policy Institute, of which he is the president, referred to Trumps election victory by saying, “‘Hail Trump! Hail our people! Hail victory!” This was followed by a number of over zealous delegates who’d had one too many Starbucks, then giving Nazi style salutes.

While watching the video it occurred to me that not only does Spencer appear to be comfortable with displaying the sort of oratory skills one would expect of a 4th grader performing ‘show and tell’ without a prop, but he’s also capable of projecting the kind of stilted awkwardness that one would imagine from an acute sufferer of Asperger syndrome. In short it’s as if he has all the screen presence of the invisible man combined with the sex appeal of a fatal head wound. If he wasn’t spitting out such venomous verbiage no one would give him a second look. Despite suffering these setbacks, and perhaps all to predictably, Spencer’s speech gained a huge media response from people who were unable to fully comprehend Spencer’s level of benign, bland incompetence. Spencer defended the event with the following statement:

“There’s an ironic exuberance to it all, I think that’s … one of the things that makes the alt-right fun, is that we’re willing to do things that are a bit cheeky.”

Cyber trolls are the lifeblood of the alt-right. Fundamentally driven by a desire to offend anyone anywhere.

Again when backed into a corner by public outrage, Spencer deflects concerns by passing it off as a bit of a joke. The alt-right aren’t afraid of telling a joke, or for that matter making any statement, if it results in a public reaction that easily can be argued as being disproportionate to any level of offence they are accused of having caused. This mentality would appear to be a natural progression from the days when Spencer and his friends would be trolling the internet whilst masturbating into a sock. Links between the alt-right and the internet phenomena of trolling are incontrovertible. I’ve found it particularly helpful in my understanding of the alt-right to appreciate that they are just the physical and political manifestation of the cyber troll.

Less than two months later Spencer was back to his provocative best. While giving an interview on the Day of Trump’s inauguration, a masked man approaches Spencer from the left of the picture and punches him in the face. The already surreal  situation took a turn for the even more bizarre as Twitter, society’s recognized arbiter on such matters, wrestled with the question “Is it OK to punch a Nazi?” It didn’t take long for people to point out that denying a person the freedom of expression through physical violence, was in actual fact acting like a Nazi in order to deal with someone who might be talking like one. With the moral high ground having been completely lost, liberals retreated to think of equally more imaginative ways of shooting themselves in the foot.

From what I have told you about the bumbling idiot Richard B. Spencer, you would be forgiven for wondering how it is that the alt-right have found any legitimacy whosoever? There’s an easy explanation for this, and that’s because Spencer really has done little more to promote the alt-right other than giving it its name. The alt-right has the backing of some very high profile people in academia and the media.

The Breitbart Brotherhood

Breitbart is a partisan, multi-media, American news network, established by Andrew Breitbart in response to what he believed was a liberal biased media. Breitbart addresses this issue by unashamedly rejecting objectivity in favour of opinion and commentary to support a right wing point of view. It’s very easy to equate Breitbart’s role in relation to the alt-right with that of Joseph Goebbels and the Nazi’s, which is exactly why I’ve just gone and done it.

Liberal biased media, hate speech, safe spaces. The alt-right, social justice warrior paradigm has a vocabulary all of its own. In truth it’s a vocabulary that I’m having a hard time getting my head round. A vocabulary that appears to have been invented by a class of kindergarten children whilst being waterboarded with a potent mix of Coca Cola and caffeine energy drinks. What is the difference between a liberal biased media and a media that just prefers you not to call black people ‘niggers’? When does a different opinion become hate speech? And as for the term ‘safe space,’ to me that sounds like a it could be a grave. A place safe from criticism, safe from having your ideas challenged, and a place safe from confrontation, a grave fits all of these requirements.

As a platform from which to become a recognised political, or social commentator, Breitbart simply appears to be unstable. But I’m quickly going to look at three people who can prove this assertion to be spectacularly wrong.

Bannon’s perverse and disturbing macninations sees him performing bondage with Trump whilst he carries out feeble impersonations of Charlie Chaplin.

Steve Bannon: A recipient of a masters degrees from each of the Universities of Georgetown and Harvard. Bannon then served as an officer in the U.S Navy. During the 1990’s  Bannon started to produce movies that it would be fair to say upheld right wing values. In 2007, alongside Andrew Breitbart, Bannon became a founding member of Breitbart news, and following the death of Breitbart in 2012 he became the companies executive chair, complete with reclining and swivel functions. In 2017 President Trump named him as White House Chief Strategist, which I’m sure must have come as quite a relief to Mr. Bannon having spent the previous five years being sat
on by successful businessmen. Putting asinine jokes aside for a moment, Bannon’s position as Chief Strategist has many suggesting that Bannon is the President’s puppet master, a pretty powerful position to assume from the unstable platform of Breitbart.

 

Ben Shapiro and Milo Yiannopoulos

Breitbart’s top gun provocateurs. Shapiro and Milo might sound like the type of crappy comedy double act one might have to endure on a cruise ship as it makes its way slowly around the Greek islands, but they are undoubtedly the rock stars of the alternative right movement.

Ben Shapiro, the Jewish former editor whose employment at Breibart effectively shielded them from any accusations of antisemitism.

Ben Shapiro: Out of all the characters I’ve read and seen videos of who are related to the alt-right and/or Breitbart, Shapiro is by far the most impressive. Although still only 33 years old, I confidently predict that one day this guy will be the President of the United States. Shapiro came to the public’s attention when he effectively ended Piers Morgan’s career at CNN during a debate with Morgan on gun control. In a little under 15 minutes Shapiro made Morgan look like the stupid fool that he might well be. The Shapiro – Morgan Discussion can be seen here:

A graduate summa cum laude of UCLA in political science, Shapiro then went on to graduate cum laude from Harvard Law School, all by the age of 23. In 2012 Shapiro was appointed ‘editor-at-large’ for Breibart, a position that sounds more like a title given to a serial killer. Being Jewish Shapiro is a perfect foil for Breitbart enabling them to deflect any claims of antisemitism with ease. In March 2016, Shapiro resigned from Breitbart essentially because he’d outgrown them, and started his own conservative news website The Daily Wire. http://www.dailywire.com/

As I mentioned earlier, the internet, in particular YouTube, has proven the ideal environment for propagating right wing politics, a fact that hasn’t gone unnoticed by Shapiro.  Shapiro’s debate with Piers Morgan has received over 4 million views. Shapiro’s top 5 videos on YouTube total over a combined 9.7 million views, that’s the top 5 videos of the 660,000 that you can look at after entering ‘Ben Shapiro’ into the site’s search bar. Google ‘Ben Shapiro’ and you have access to over 11 million results, he’s got nearly half a million Twitter followers who could have read any, or all of the 80,000 comments that he’s made. From these figures it’s easy to understand why he’s been labeled ‘prime time propaganda’.

The presidency took its tole on Shapiro’s once youthful looks.

With his diminutive stature Shapiro might resemble an ambitious Hobbit whose determination has enabled him to leave the Shire and establish a successful law firm on Wall Street, but you ignore him at your peril. It’s easy for me to visualize Shapiro at some time in the future, malnourished, with pallid skin and thinning hair, stumbling through the post apocalyptic remains of some mid-west American city, repeating the same words over and over again to himself, “my precious” as he searches through a landscape of rubble for a copy of the constitution.

 

 

 

Yiannopoulos hasn’t let being a gay, albino badger addicted to smack, stop him from being one of the internet’s most infamous trolls.

Milo Yiannopoulos: Like Shapiro Yiannopoulos makes for a perfect spokesperson of the alt-right given the fact that he’s a half British, half Greek homosexual. How can the alt-right be racist or homophobic, even completely against immigration with a person like Milo appointed to its vanguard? Milo can be heard waxing lyrical on the three issues that really seem predominantly to concern the alt-right, Islam, feminism and the right to the freedom of speech. More often than not Milo addresses each of these sensitive issues in such a camp fashion that he resembles a sort of cheap pantomime drag artist. Having watched too many of Shapiro’s and Milo’s videos it does appear that most of his opinions on each of these three issues are shamefully stolen from Shapiro, but Milo’s very unlikely to care about that. There’s no doubt that Milo has the intellect to actually develop his own opinions, but why should he when he can command huge audiences by just repeating Shapiro’s material in the character of an eloquent drag queen?

Milo took his series of talks named “The Dangerous Faggot” on tour, causing riots on university campuses across the U.S.  The name of the tour itself implies that it’s not always what he says that is important, but it is the fact that he is a gay person saying it that somehow adds an extra cutting edge to it. It’s on this front that if I’m honest Milo pisses me off. If you have a strong, well researched argument then it shouldn’t really matter whatever mineral, animal or vegetable it is that you have a preference to enjoy sexual intercourse with. Sadly though, for Milo to deliver his message he seems to feel it necessary to couch it, at every available opportunity in an unnaturally exagerated homosexual context. Obviously Milo has recently made the news for his comments regarding the age of sexual consent, my thoughts on this were covered a couple of weeks ago and can be read here:

https://jimdroberts.wordpress.com/2017/02/25/donald-trump-milo-yiannopoulos-and-cultural-libertarianism/?iframe=true&theme_preview=true

Don’t get me wrong, Milo Yiannopoulos is a brilliant polemicist, he’s acted as a catalyst in getting people, certainly myself, to challenge the basis of their long held values. What I’m less than convinced about is whether Milo’s contributions will benefit the gay community, but to be honest I doubt Milo cares about that, so long as he can continue capitalise from peddling his sexuality like it’s some curiosity in a Victorian circus freak show purveyed by an audience of overly sensitive, easily offended liberals. I have attached the link below, An Establishment Conseratives Guide to the Alt-Right, as it is co-authored by Yiannopoulos and is an excellently written piece that does an outstanding job of giving an insight into just what the alt-right is. Of all the videos I’ve watched and articles that I’ve read, this is by far the most enlightening:

http://www.breitbart.com/tech/2016/03/29/an-establishment-conservatives-guide-to-the-alt-right/

As I approach the end of this thrilling installment of what is essentially my vain attempt at trying to understand the rationale that defines two groups of polarised arse-holes, I start to wonder whether I’m taking this all a little too seriously. I mean so what if some boorish fool who lacks the common sense to sit the right way round on a toilet has become president of the United States. Hasn’t my whole life up to this point been little more than one long voyage that’s required me to navigate myself around these icebergs of idiocy? From what I can recall of the rapidly diminishing memories of my time at university this was all I did for those three years. Admittedly, none of those idiots were the leader of the free world, nor did any of them I assume have the wherewithal to launch a nuclear Armageddon, the second time I’ve managed to use the word Armageddon so far, or does that now count as three? I guess my point is, and it’s only a very weak and vague one at best, that when we get down to the bare bones, the brass tacks, the crux of the issue, is that even if Trump wasn’t the President it would in all likelihood only be someone else of equal arse-holery, all be it probably more adept at hiding the fact. And, whether it’s the alt-right, fascists, neo-cons, neo-Nazis or just groups of old fashioned sentimental, nostalgic Nazi’s that like to meet up at the weekend and chase Jews through the streets, Is it reasonable for any of us to think that these people are likely to be persuaded to consider any alternative ideologies if they are being presented to them by groups of people that choose to use rioting and violence before debate?

That’s it for this week. I’m now going to try and do something slightly less futile and nail some jello to the wall.

If you find that too hard to visualise here’s a video.

 

Is the Alternative Right Still Equally Wrong?

ap370x41016x121f8f8f8t-pad420x460f8f8f8-u13Conservative, ultra-conservative, right wing, far right, extreme right, fascist, and neo-Nazi. The inevitable path down which anyone that, dares to to have a thought to the right of centre. It’s like the argument of the gateway drug, the slippery slope that leads every thirteen year old who starts smoking pot to be destined to become a rent boy in order to facilitate a crack addiction that spiraled rapidly out of control. From the moment you start to ask yourself “Do I understand the complexities of immigration?’ elements in society will make you feel as if you’ve only got somewhere between 12-18 months left before you’ll be goose stepping up and down the street, knocking on doors to ask if they are hiding any  Muslims, Mexicans. or the ultimate spawn of Satan himself, Mexican Muslims.

The current sociopolitical atmosphere in the United States of America is unprecedented. Even going back to the dynamic and divisive times that surrounded the civil rights movement during the 1960’s, there has been no other political movement that has so rapidly established a footing in mainstream political discourse as the alt right has managed to do. The burden of history makes it understandable that whenever a branch of new right wing politics emerges, re-branding itself and appealing to the mainstream, people become alarmed. While there are elements of the alt right agenda that I do find it difficult to identify myself with, I find the visceral, mindless, and the hysterical response of the so called progressive liberals to be equally difficult to relate to. This new political paradigm seems to be one that suggests all of our problems can be solved through making the most simple binary choices, Trump or Hilary, pro-immigration or racist, pro LGBTQ rights or homophobia, feminist or sexist. A person who risks to voice an opinion that suggests an alternative view, no matter how mild, to a liberal agenda will often leave that person, pejoratively branded, like Hilary said as “deplorable”. But, these issues are far too complex to entertain the notion that they can be solved with simple, ‘either or’ reasoning. The all or nothing, black and white, binary approach to reason and debate has only has resulted in a political landscape in which the two  sets of opinions have been polarized to the outer fringes of reason. To resolve such complex social challenges the level of debate needs to be more informed than ever

160907_milo_yiannopolis_d_0248prt
After resigning from his job of senior editor at Breitbart following his comments on the age of consent. Milo’s decision to become a children’s entertainer seems somewhat ill advised.

Last week I wrote about the alt-right poster boy, agent provocateur, polemicist and troll Milo Yiannopoulos following comments he’d made, over a year ago, on the age of consent. This involved watching a large number of videos and reading a number of articles that I had hitherto never been interested in being exposed to. It did however, become obvious to me rather quickly that the alt-right movement cites facts, and asks questions that deserve considered discussion as opposed to being shut down by large groups of emotional people throwing childlike tantrums. It also became obvious to me that the response following that blog strongly suggests this is an issue engaging an incredibly large number of people.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Disgruntled Hilary Clinton supporters engage in the democratic process.

By now, it should also have become obvious to all of us that many of the issues that the alt-right are attempting to bring to people’s attention, some might even claim baiting the public with, are often multi faceted constructs which extend far beyond political ideology. To attempt to deal with this issue in a single blog would have all the superficial symbolism, of burning a bra or hurling a trashcan through a shop window. It is for this reason that during the month of March I intend to produce a series of four posts that will endeavor to objectively consider the arguments put forward by the alt-right, what they mean and whether they are worthy of the hysterical reactions so many of us have seen on the news. I hope to remain impartial at all times, which should mean that anyone twho reads this series of blogs will feel at one time or another, uncomfortable or offended. If your method of debate only extends as far as pulling out clumps of your own hair whilst shouting incomprehensible obscenities at the television, then what I’m going to write about over the coming month will not be to your taste. If however, you have a genuine interest in trying to understand this argument, no matter how perverse it might become, then I encourage that you come along for the ride, to make comments, and to start dealing with this issue like 21st century adults, not like two troops of opposing monkeys hurling their faeces at one another.

Before even really getting into this properly, following on the back of only the couple of weeks of research that I’ve already done, I’m pretty sure that I’m going to conclude that there are concerns and opinions on both sides of the argument that are valid. It is equally likely that there will be examples of opinions and reactions, of both sides, that to me will appear to demonstrate a deficiency of any informed reasoning. In essence, what I hope to be able to do is approach both sides of the argument with an equal degree of despair.

Over the course of the next four weeks I intend to address the following:

  1. define exactly what the alt-right is, the personalities that support the movement, and who they claim to be representing.
  2. Try to understand how the alt-right have made so much progress in such a short amount of time and just how powerful the alt-right has the potential to become, before looking at the values and topics that are at the core of their ideology.
  3. The alt rights views on Islam, immigration, sovereignty, feminism, freedom of speech and political correctness. While considering the opinions of the alt right on such issues it will be equally as important to consider the arguments that have been expressed challenging these opinions.
  4. A conclusion and n answer to the initial question: Is the Alternative Right Still Equally Wrong?

While writing these four posts I intend to challenge my own values by considering opinions that for my whole life I have always cast aside without giving them any thought. Failure to reason through the fallacies contained within a simple idea or a complex ideology, failure to engage in conversation with people that hold a different opinion is what has got us into the mess that we currently find ourselves in. If you are unable to challenge your own beliefs, if you are uncomfortable to defend them by answering questions, then what you have can’t be called a belief, nor would it be right to call it a value. All you might actually be clinging onto is nothing more a half understood idea.

 

 

 

Donald Trump, Milo Yiannopoulos and Cultural Libertarianism?

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Trump finally gets to show us all what big hands he’s got.

It’s pointless to even write about Trump, it only feeds the beast. Whatever you say is inevitably subjected to, and twisted by a perverse sense of logic, spun in a way so as to support  a new ideology that resembles something dreamt up by the mind of a prepubescent delinquent in the throes of an elaborate meth binge. I say ideology but at the centre of an ideology there must be some sort of coherent idea, and as yet I’m not sure that Trump has ever had one of those. Trump simply thrives off of attention, whether it’s good or bad. Like Oscar Wilde once said,

There is only one thing worse than being talked about, and that’s not being talked about.

Since Trump’s inauguration, I have on a couple of occasions been in conversation with people who expressed opinions along the lines of how certain past writers would be reacting to this current state of affairs. Writers and social commentators like George Orwell, Christiopher Hitchens, Tom wolfe, Norman Mailer and Hunter S. Thompson, each of whom possessed the ability to express their observations with a well honed laser like focus and precision that enabled them to clinically dissect their way to the heart of any situation. While I agree that they were all exceptional writers, I disagree that they would have found Trump to be a muse worthy of any great journalistic endeavour. This opinion might surprise you, I’m not saying that Trump wouldn’t have shocked them like he has nearly everyone else, but as a subject of skillful and considered pieces of journalism Trump is severely lacking. The reason for this is that Trump is too easy a target, about as big a challenge as shooting fish in a barrel. Writing about Trump is like trying to get your voice heard amongst a crowd of drunken, vociferous football supporters, whatever it is you have to say, no matter how enlightening, will inevitably be drowned out by chants that imply the referee is addicted to masturbation.

Trump is the tip of the iceberg, a clown at the head of a vanguard, beating a drum heralding in the dawn of a new era. A post-truth age, the epoch of the alternative fact. Every literary or artistic movement is a rebellion to that which preceded it. For what has seemed like an eternity, the catch-all, inescapable terms that have been used to define postmodernism have shackled the potential for artistic creativity and expression. Political correctness has been perhaps the most pervasive and pernicious progeny of the fetid fertility of postmodernism. Recently people have asked the question what would Obama’s legacy will be? And the answer is simple, Obama was a part of the system that produced an audience willing to listen to Trump’s perverse rhetoric. The ambiguity and lack of identity that has resulted out of the centrist, middle ground politics of presidents Jimmy Carter through to Barrack Obama, helped spawn this love child that we now see kicking and screaming before us, the brat that we are labeling the Alt-Right. But, as they say hindsight is 20/20, it’s fairly straightforward to see how we now find ourselves in a Bunyanesque slough of despond.

I’ve seen the healthy cynicism of a generation of our youth trying to satisfy its intellectual needs by feeding off of the vast, barren plains of the internet. Somewhat like an all you can eat buffet at McDonald’s,  while appealing to the palates of the masses and satisfying the hunger of only a few, its nutritional deficiencies leave the consumer inevitably suffering long term health issues as well as preventing them from ever gaining the experience of, and sustenance from, a more wholesome diet. It is impossible to understate the role that the internet has played in facilitating the rapid and alarming rise of the alt right.

Milo Yiannopoulos

milo-yiannopoulos-nimble-america
Perhaps the most universally hated in America is half British half Greek, 100% gay Milo Yiannopoulos.

A polemicist, an agent provocateur, or what the digital age reduces to calling pejoratively, a troll. Right now Milo is the voice of the Alt Right, and a self proclaimed cultural libertarian. Yiannopoulos is an advocate for the freedom of speech, thought and expression. As a half Greek half British, 100% gay pseudo-celebrity aggressively defending America’s first amendment, one might quickly disregard this most improbable of characters. Initially demonized to me by the headlines of articles, that until this week I’d never even bothered to read as he appeared to me to be nothing more than a celebrity whose agenda was just to put make the Opinions of the new president look moderate, even warm and fuzzy. He uses his sexuality as a weapon in a carefree and blatantly offensive way, often making casual references to how he has a penchant for fellating black men,  to intimidate his listeners and put them immediately on the back foot. Leading a rainbow colored crusade up to the heavily fortified citadel of political correctness. Adopting a siege warfare mentality,  loading his verbal trebuchets with payloads of acerbic vitriol and charging at the doors of decency with an enormous battering ram shaped like phallus. Yiannopoulos has declared war against what most people would consider common decency.

Milo Yiannopoulos’ The Dangerous Faggot Tour has provoked a firestorm of criticism as it makes its way across the universities of the United States, and that’s nothing less than what has always been his intention. Only 32 years old and a senior editor of the alt right American news website Breitbart, he has been responsible for producing articles with the titles Would You Rather Your Child Had Feminism or Cancer, and Birth Control Makes Women Ugly and Crazy. He shot to infamy after having been banned from Twitter for branding one of the female stars, Leslie Jones, of the unwatchable Ghost Busters reboot, a dude and a man.

This was a far as I’d got with this blog article before the enigmatic Milo’s already volatile career took a rather dramatic turn as a result of comments he made during a show streamed live on YouTube over a year ago, coming back to haunt him. The opinions that Milo expressed were  quite easily interpreted as being that of an apologist towards paedophilia. These comments have resulted in him losing a book deal which had record pre-sales, and having to resign from his post at Breitbart, but given the publicity they have gotten him I’d be very surprised if lost any sleep over the public condemnation he’s recieved. It is from this point on that continuing to write about Milo has felt like jumping down a rabbit hole into a world of nebulous, vague and fallacious reasoning. The comments that Yiannopoulos’ made during the Drunken Peasants show streamed live on YouTube in January 2016. The video is attached below. If you only wish to listen to Milo’s most inflammatory comments, (which I advise as the show itself reminds me of one of those conversations that you’d get into at a bar at two in the morning, in some small town, jerky chewing backwater that the United States has been so adept at nurturing) then they start at around 56 minutes. That’s not to say that the opinions he expresses prior to this are in any way reasonable, it’s just that they tend to become less memorable once he starts to discuss the issue of paedophilia and the age of consent.

Milo went on to express a similar set of opinions When he appeared on Joe Rogan’s radio show some six months later. Watching the video below left me with the same uncomfortable feelings I  experienced while reading Nabakov’s Lolita. What makes Yiannopolous’ comments that much more disturbing is that he relates the stories in the first person, a trick that has been in the armory of story tellers since the dawn of time and one that didn’t escape Nabakov.

 

Paedophilia is always a highly dangerous topic for humour. Myself, I only know one paedophile joke and I take into very careful consideration the company that I’m in before I venture to tell it. If I’m honest the joke itself is pretty weak and really just trades off of the shock value that the joke teller has decided to tell it. I’m no comedian, in fact when I told people I intended to be a comedian they all laughed at me, well they’re not laughing now. But even to me, the subject of  paedophilia appears to be somewhat anaemic at best in its opportunities for humour. It’s considered the fifth worst topic to make a joke about by the website http://www.ranker (a website whose name alone is enough to make me smirk like a mischievous school boy who’s just been caught staring at his teacher’s breasts). They list the top 5 inappropriate topics of humour as follows:

  1. Rape
  2. Miscarriage
  3. Burn victims
  4. Animal cruelty
  5. Paedophilia

http://www.ranker.com/list/worst-things-to-make-jokes-about/robert-wabash

quote-they-all-laughed-when-i-said-i-wanted-to-be-a-comedian-well-they-re-not-laughing-now-bob-monkhouse-71-2-0233

 

Milo’s interview with Joe Rogan is disturbing and there should be little doubt that it was ever intended to be anything else, but a person doesn’t have to spend much time or effort to find people saying things that can be reasonably argued as being equally inappropriate. The jokes made by the comedians in the video compilation below make reference to the real life cases of the murders and abductions of children, people jumping to their deaths on September 11th, and the practice of necrophilia with victims of the holocaust, but none of these were capable of courting the controversy that Milo has achieved recently.

 

 

Is Milo Yiannopolous just a new type of celebrity spawned out of the moral vacuum that is the internet? A direct descendant of the genealogy of shock humour? The inevitable progeny that had to follow on from Lenny Bruce, Andy Kaufman, Bill Hicks, Dennis Pennis , and Frankie Boyle? My own personal opinion is that Yiannopolous is just a pioneer for the next generation of media whore. I’m not even sure that Yiannopoulos even exists or whether he’s just a character that has been skillfully constructed just to annoy the masses. The combination of far right, flamboyantly gay Catholic, and Breitbart editor, is a volatile mixture that will raise the hackles of anyone who considers themselves to be “reasonable”. But, I very much doubt that these ingredients were something that have randomly coalesced to form society’s most toxic cocktail, instead they have been skillfully blended together in order to serve us with the most indigestible aperitif possible. Essentially Milo is a new Sacha Baron Cohen character with the exception that we don’t know the person who is playing Milo, and it is this that makes his character so entertaining. Milo is shock art in the genre of social media for the 21st century and as such he’s about as original as a Star Wars reboot.

Anyone older that forty will remember that back in the late eighties through the turn of the millennia Madonna produced a number of music videos that were quickly banned by MTV and therefore immediately garnering them more attention and ensuring that they would be immortalised in pop folk lore. Entertainment has always found room to accommodate the shock artist and it always will. It would be wrong to consider shock art as a necessary evil, it’s an essential part of the fabric in the tapestry of entertainment.

maurizio-cattelan-la-nona-ora-1999
A tongue in cheek piece of art work by Maurizio Cattelan showing the Pope at that time Pope John Paul II after being struck down by a meteorite.

What can, and can’t be said? What is and isn’t acceptable? Who decides what is decent? Is there anyone decent enough out there to be empowered with deciding upon decency? Isn’t it always the case that if somebody doesn’t like what they are watching or listening to always has the right to reply or walk away?

Shock artists have pervaded every medium of society and entertainment, from comedy, through to politics, from sport through to art. Polemics have been offending their way to making a living since the time of ancient Greece. The word itself deriving from the Greek Polemikos, meaning warlike or confrontational.

andres-serrano-piss-christ-vandalized
Going one step further Andres Serrano’s Piss Christ. A photo of a crucifix submerged in the artist’s own urine. This proved too much for a group of French Catholic Fundamentalists who destroyed a print of the photograph that was on display.

I had intended to finish this piece with the following quote by Volataire:

‘What a fuss about an omelette!’ he had exclaimed when he heard of the burning. How abominably unjust to persecute a man for such an airy trifle as that!

 

It is from this that we hear the somewhat tired and overused saying, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it”. This is commonly misattributed to Voltaire, instead, these are the words of a biographer of Voltaire Evelyn Hall, whose aim it was to summarise Voltaire’s ideas on the freedom of speech.

One thing that we probably can’t deny is that this week Milo Yiannopoulos dropped the cultural libertarian version of the atomic bomb. It’s difficult to find any meaning in the destruction he’s left behind if we are to allow a person’s right to the freedom of speech to include the right to make the comments that Mr. Yiannopoulos decided to make. Despite the grotesque nature of some of his comments, I do still stand by every human’s right to be able to say whatever they wish, no matter how gratuitous, inappropriate or disgusting it might be. Ultimately the audience must be responsible and exercise their right to respond, not to listen, or marginalise people that express views that promote the suffering of others.

So for today at least, I can still say that I disagree with what Milo says, but will defend to the death his right to say it.