Maher is, of course, taking full credit for Milo's stunning downfall.
I suspect that Maher would much rather book an inflammatory right-winger than a boring right-winger, because outrage sells. The more that you can profit off divisiveness, the more that you can encourage hatred, the better it is for ratings and audience share and corporate profits. You have to supplement those standard and obligatory Moments of Hate with countering Moments of Outrage and Sanctimony. It's the duopolistic American way. It distracts the audience of consumers who used to be quaintly known as citizens. You are hereby divided between the Deplorables and the Enlightenees.But following the show, Mr. Maher came under attack for the chummy and conciliatory vibe of his conversation with Mr. Yiannopoulos and for a panel segment, broadcast online, in which his guest made more inflammatory remarks that seemed to go unchallenged.Speaking on Tuesday night, Mr. Maher, who counts himself as a liberal, did not sound particularly chastened by these assessments. He said he knew his interview with Mr. Yiannopoulos would never be satisfactory to some viewers. “No matter what I did,” he said, “it was never going to be enough for that slice of liberalism that would much rather judge a friend than engage an enemy, because it’s easier.”
I have to admit that I'd never heard of Milo, except for vaguely remembering the name from something I'd skimmed in Salon about some two-bit provocateur getting disinvited from a Berkeley speech and inspiring a small riot. But there is no avoiding him now. Today, he is all the outrageous mainstream rage. He is the distraction du jour.
Just quickly glancing at today's New York Times homepage, I counted four prominent articles (including the one quoting Maher above) about this provocative little creep of a guy. Unlike the Kardashians, though, he is not famous for just being a famous attention addict. He is famous because he is vaguely associated with Donald J. Trump.
And since the Powers That Be desperately want to get rid of Trump by any means possible, they will smear him with all the means at their disposal. If the tape about assaulting women didn't bring him down, then maybe his vague association with a guy who thinks pedophilia is O.K. will at least speed up the process. You see, the Deep State campaign is to gin up the liberal outrage to such a sustained fever pitch that Donald Trump will be history sooner rather than later. And then finally, the world can again be made safe for American hegemony and global capitalism on crack.
"Milo is the Mini-Donald!" dutifully shrills the ever-reliable Frank Bruni:
The currency of celebrity wouldn't be half as valuable without the likes of Frank Bruni to keep it center-stage in his bi-weekly columns, which only pretend to be offended at such titillating outrageousness. (No, I didn't submit a comment to this crap. The liberal choir was dutifully outraged, with one of the most popular and prolific respondents lifting his own outrage directly from the Wikipedia entry on Narcissism.)If you halved Donald Trump’s age, changed his sexual orientation, gave him a British accent and fussed with his hair only a little, you’d end up with a creature much like Milo Yiannopoulos.He could be Trump’s lost gay child. In fact, Yiannopoulos, 33, has a habit of referring to Trump, 70, as “Daddy.”Trump the father and Yiannopoulos the son are both provocateurs who realize that in this day and age especially, the currency of celebrity isn’t demeaned by the outrageousness and offensiveness through which a person achieves it.
Meanwhile, resident Catholic conservative young fogey Ross Douthat not only couldn't help being titillated by the Milo distraction, he dutifully and artificially deepened the shallow discourse by purporting to ponder "The Meaning of Milo."
Douthat's lede is pure offended boilerplate topped off with a generous dollop of his trademark bigotry (not to be confused with the more lowbrow Trumpian xenophobia), describing Milo as
...a gay cross-dressing Catholic part-Jewish Brit who likes to boast about his sexual appetite, favors “ironic” racial and misogynist humor, and not occasionally describes the president of the United States as “Daddy.”The only reason I still read the New York Times is because it's kind of amusing to see what kind of creative anti-Trump propaganda they'll cook up next. How many anonymous Deep State sources can be crammed into any one story? Which supposedly unrelated stories actually are part of the same predigested narrative?
Last week, for example, Andrew Ross Sorkin had a piece about plutocrat Steve Schwarzman's excessive birthday bash no longer being such a big deal now that we have a wealth of Trumpian excesses to sneer at. And lo and behold, this week the Times is running a special "wealth section" on the plight of the poor billionaires. The gist of these stories is that there really are a lot of virtuous tycoons out there who are not Trumpian grifters, but who "pledge" to give some of their money away to good causes, such as one another's charities. Or at the very least they park it in a tax shelter or hedge fund so that it has the potential to do a little good one of these centuries.
Better to be one of the eight benevolent billionaires now owning as much wealth as the bottom half of the whole global population than to be creeps like Malevolent Milo or Daddy Donald. The Times is only too happy to pick out your enemies for you.
The paper now as much as admits that it has an agenda to maintain the pre-Trump ruling order and to get rid of Trump in the bargain. One blurb on the homepage asks the moneyed class to "support a student subscription and inspire the future generation of readers." Suggested amounts in the click-boxes go up to $1,000, but larger donations are more than welcome.
"Supporting The Times is my way of fighting back against fake news and alternative facts. I wanted to give till it hurt," one alleged benefactor liberally gushed in the promo.
Another front page message which has begun appearing daily blatantly invites anonymous disgruntled anti-Trump whistle-blowers to write in and dish some dirt. Maybe this is where they got that big scoop about Trump hanging around the White House in his old bathrobe and how he can't even find the light switches as he roams the premises in all his demented ignominy.
In order to anonymously tip off the Times, though, you are ironically required to relinquish some of your privacy through the use a Facebook app:
WhatsApp is a free messaging app owned by Facebook that allows full end-to-end encryption for its service. Only the sender and recipient can read messages, photos, videos, voice messages, documents and calls. Though you can limit some account information shared to Facebook, WhatsApp still keeps records of the phone numbers involved in the exchange and the users’ metadata, including timestamps on messages.
He recently wrote a "manifesto" to his
The plutocratic manifesto is a paradoxical feel-good study in innocuousness. It even has echoes of a more polite version of Bill Maher. For example,
Research shows that some of the most obvious ideas, like showing people an article from the opposite perspective, actually deepen polarization by framing other perspectives as foreign. A more effective approach is to show a range of perspectives, let people see where their views are on a spectrum and come to a conclusion on what they think is right. Over time, our community will identify which sources provide a complete range of perspectives so that content will naturally surface more.If it reads like a political campaign document, it's a political campaign document. He's all "for keeping us safe, for informing us, for civic engagement, and for inclusion of all.”
And you thought Donald Trump was a scary dude? Mark Zuckerberg doesn't just want to be president, it sounds like he wants to be dictator of the whole world. He wants to Make the Globe Great Again.
Not only must we learn to love Big Brother, we must learn to love the worldwide neoliberalism designed to keep us numb as it extracts our dwindling money and directs the bulk of our wrath toward cartoon villains like Malevolent Milo.