Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Quote of the Day

What makes Milo Yiannopoulos [pictured at left] so vexing to the left and successful among young people on the right is the way he manages to utilize his “deviant” sexuality as a political asset rather than a liability. Milo’s rhetorical and aesthetic strategies are manifold: he adopts the argot of science and history in support of his claims about the supremacy of Western culture, but simultaneously asserts that we live in a “post-fact world.” He mocks the offended sensibilities of leftists who protest his campus appearances, yet uses the language of assault to characterize himself as an embattled champion. He effortlessly pivots from ridiculing his targets (fat people, Muslims, feminists) to asserting that his insults are in fact efforts to save these people from their brainwashing. If all else fails, he whips out a cock joke.

While there are parallels to be found between Milo and historical and contemporary fascist figures interested in homoeroticism, he remains singular: an ultra right-wing pundit with a high-femme persona who is nonetheless largely embraced by a political bloc synonymous with contempt for homosexuals and feminine men. Understanding the sources of his appeal is crucial to developing sophisticated insight into the way alt-right media – now the sanctioned news of the White House – uses spectacle and irony to persuade, bewitch, disrupt, and overwhelm the public.

. . . The problems of Milo’s paradoxical position – sex symbol to a political movement that alternately embraces and repudiates him – remains unresolved, and that is the way he likes it. Milo denies his membership within the alt-right, but is perhaps the movement’s most visible proponent. To maintain his celebrity, Milo has to stay outrageous, desirable, and singular. Though he sells a shirt on his web store with the line “Milo in Training,” for his magic to work there can be nobody else like him on the alt-right. Adopting an identity coherent with his political ideologies would spell the end of his career.

– Daniel Penny
Excerpted from "#Milosexual and the Aesthetics of Fascism"
Boston Review
January 24, 2017

Related Off-site Links:
Meet Milo Yiannopoulos, the Appealing Young Face of the Racist Alt-Right – Jack Hunter (The Daily Beast, May 5, 2016).
The Sad Story of Milo Yiannopoulos: The Trump Troll with Daddy Issues – James Kirchick (Tablet, June 1, 2016).
Milo Yiannopoulos and the Gay Fascist Sophisticate – Park MacDougald (New York Mag, July 21, 2016).
Openly Gay White Nationalist’s Midwest Tour Hits a Few Snags – Andy Birkey (The Column, December 5, 2016).
Everything You Need to Know About Milo and the Alt-Right in BerkeleyIt's Going Down, January 31, 2017).
A Yiannopoulos, Bannon, Trump Plot to Control American Universities? – Robert Reich (Common Dreams, February 5, 2017).
There Must Be Free Speech, Even for Milo Yiannopoulos – Matthew d'Ancona (The Guardian, February 6, 2017).

UPDATES: Larry Wilmore Schools Milo Yiannopoulos: “Go F*ck Yourself” – Marlow Stearn (The Daily Beast, February 18, 2017).
After Underage Sex Comments, Milo Yiannopoulos Loses CPAC Invite and Book Deal – Maquita Peters (NPR News, February 20, 2017).
Milo Yiannopoulos Resigns from Breitbart Amid Underage Sex Comments – Tom Kludt (CNN, February 21, 2017).
Conservatives Shocked to Discover That Milo Yiannopoulos is a Terrible Human Being – Pam Vogel (Media Matters, February 20, 2017).
Here’s What You Need to Know About the Milo Yiannopoulos-Michael Flynn Connection – Michelangelo Signorile (The Huffington Post, February 21, 2017).
Why Conservatives Fell for Milo Yiannopoulos – Matt Lewis (The Daily Beast, February 20, 2017).
The Rise and Fall of Milo Yiannopoulos – How a Shallow Actor Played the Bad Guy for Money – Dorian Lynskey (The Guardian, February 21, 2017).
The Milo Yiannopoulos Debacle Tells Us Some Terrible Truths About the Right – Kali Holloway (AlterNet, February 21, 2017).
The Sad Truth About Milo Yiannopoulos – Sam Kriss (VICE, February 22, 2017).

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
On International Human Rights Day, Saying "No" to Donald Trump and His Fascist Agenda
"Can the Klan!"
Reclaiming and Re-Queering Pride

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