Friday night on “Overtime with Bill Maher,” Bill had Milo Yiannopoulos on the show. If you don’t know, Milo is the fellow who harassed Leslie Jones into deleting her account and is generally seen as a mouthpiece for the alt-right. I think. It’s hard to say what he does. Wikipedia has him listed as a “journalist” and I believe that’s what he did for Breitbart, journalisting. Some might say he’s a journalist, others might prefer provocateur, while many of us intellectual ruffians prefer the term “asshole.” He’s in that group of loudmouths with Ann Coulter and Tomi Lahren, who follow in the footsteps of their bloated junky godfather, Rush Limbaugh, in that they say things not to advance any cause (other than their own), but simply to attract viewers and controversy and, therefore, money. It has nothing to do with being patriotic or political or even doing good, but with getting rich.
But watch this clip with Bill, Milo, and the panel and you notice something pretty quick: Milo is scared. He can’t make eye contact with Larry Wilmore when Wilmore takes him down over Milo’s verbal attack on a transgender student. 1 When Milo does try to insult the other guests, by requesting Maher get smarter guests, he does so by ducking down behind the host. When Milo tries to lob a statistic about transgendered people committing a disproportionate number of crimes, he does so with his head turned.
Milo is scared. He’s the nerd that goes off on a rant in front of his nerd friends about the jocks but then shuts up as soon as a jock arrives. I would love to see him in a one-on-one debate with, well, just about anyone who opposes his rather slim world view. It wouldn’t last long, if it ever got off the ground.
And it’s for this reason that I believe Milo doesn’t deserve our anger or vitriol or protests, but our pity. It’s incredibly difficult for someone in Milo’s shoes, someone who’s just dying to hear you say, “Why, I never!” to keep up his fight when you’re smiling and nodding and saying, “I hear ya. We’re facing some real problems in this world!”
Of course, it’s at this point when folks like with their single-channel approaches just launch right into the personal attacks. “But you always invite such awful people on your show.”
So we’ve gotta be patient. And we have to resist the urge to fight fire with fire. When protests got heated at Berkeley before Milo’s speech or show or whatever the hell it is he does, pre-order sales of his book soared. (For more on Milo’s money making hate machine and what we can do to diminish its affect, listen to On the Media’s “See You in Court” podcast.)
Just remember, Milo isn’t a journalist or a pundit. He’s a capitalist and a coward.
Postscript: Something else that won’t float any more: Countering an anti-Trump concern with “You didn’t see me _______ when Obama _______” is the older person version of “I know you are but what am I.” It’s bullshit logic that’s irrelevant. And you didn’t see us _____ when George W _____, did you?
As we slog through this transition from one president to an aspiring despot, I’ve noticed there’s a tendency to blame “old white guys.” And for the most part, I agree: The majority of big problems are caused by old white guys. But not all old white guys are guilty. It’s just the old white guys with money. Donald What’s-His-Name, John Cornyn, Ted Cruz, Bitch McConnell, Steve Bunyon, Orrin Hatch, the list goes on and on.
In fact, I’d say it’s not just old white guys with money, but people with money. Betsy Devos is a miserable human being, but she’s hardly a guy. Ben Carson is as big a whore as any and he’s hardly a guy, either.
Sure, people like Bill Gates, Richard Branson, and Warren Buffett can do an enormous amount of good, but by and large the rich are merely concerned about one thing: themselves and their money.
Still, I can understand the temptation to just lump them all into one easy-to-label, Crisco-tinted group and say, “Blame the old rich guy.”
Which is why I want to convert.
See, I’m an old(ish) white guy and I don’t like belonging to the same group as Drumpf, Pence, Sessions, et al. I want to be with the cool kids. So, you two, what can I do to get out of this wretched category? What sort of conversion programs can I sign up for that un-aligns me with Pure Evil and puts me in with True Goodness?
Comment below, please.