When I was in elementary school, there was a kid who would sit in the back of the classroom banging his head against a water fire extinguisher. This would continue until the teacher had to stop what she was doing, make this kid the center of attention, and toss him out. The kid didn’t seem to care, he was getting the attention he wanted – even if it was negative.
I had occasion to see this campus troublemaker , Milo Yiannopoulos – who calls himself the “Dangerous Faggot” – on Bill Maher last week and all I could think about while I was watching him was that kid from my elementary school. That kid was smart. So, it seems, is Mr. Yiannopoulos. (A tough spell…couldn’t be ‘Jones’, right?) The kid was personable. So is Milo. But that kid was…off, somehow, and so is Milo.
I’ve never really understood the “attention at any cost” attitude. The kid in school wasn’t working as the class clown. The class wasn’t laughing with him. He was just being obnoxious because it got him attention. It was the exact same feeling I got watching Yiannopoulos. He’s just an attention-seeking brat.
He doesn’t seem to have anything of value to add. His only interest is inspiring rancor. In the short performance I saw from him, he enjoyed baiting people and saying things calculated to irritate and anger people and when they responded, he smiled and seemed to be savoring his “victory”. “I win. Another person hates me!” Yeah, some victory.
Last I knew, my old classmate was sitting it out in San Quentin. He ended up using his intelligence and charisma to steal cars from dealerships and take them on interstate joy rides. Unfortunately, Milo managed to stay out of prison. Instead, he wrote a speech calling for withdrawal of federal money to colleges that don’t toe his far-right line and takes that speech to colleges. Then, all he has to do is sit back and watch the fireworks fly. (And if they don’t on their own, he’s got his agent provocateurs to initiate riots.) In the end, Yiannopoulos is happy and everyone else is upset.
He’s very good at being a petulant brat so it won’t be easy but the solution is straight-forward enough: ignore him. Don’t fight him. Don’t protest him. Don’t acknowledge him. Ignore him. Let him come to your campus, speak to the Young Republicans, and leave. (I confess, I could see tearing down the flyers announcing his shit-show but other than that, ignore him.) Unless I miss my guess, at first he’ll get MORE outrageous but, eventually, he’ll dry up and go away. He’s a pimple, not skin cancer. You don’t have to DO anything. You could pick at it, making it more visible, or you can ignore it and it will go away on its own.
I’ll tell you this: Between the Berkeley debacle and this piece, I’ve already written WAY too much about Milo Yiannopoulos. Now, it’s time to ignore him…