How To Deal With Milo Yiannopoulos: A Proposal
A quick note: I recommend checking out Milo’s most famous talk, The Triggering, with Steven Crowder and Christina Hoff-Sommers. It gives a pretty good rundown of all of his talking points, and since the YouTube channel that hosts this video is not affiliated with Breitbart or Milo, watching the video will not make him any money.
As I’m sure many college students across the country did, I spent this last Sunday chugging water and watching clips from Milo Yiannopoulos’s appearance on Real Time With Bill Maher. I spent a majority of my time watching these clips teetering between wondering if this was some elaborate prank or if I should be worried that this guy is considered to be some brilliant voice of the right.
Milo is no stranger to me. I first heard about him when The Drunken Peasants announced that he would be on their show. I was confused about why so many people were so excited, but decided I would watch the live broadcast, lest I miss some major cornerstone of this show’s existence. As I sat through the show, I concluded that Milo was just another gay edge lord who would fade into obscurity pretty soon.
I was wrong. A couple of months later, Milo was more or less a household name among college students. Everybody had an opinion about him. We all argued amongst ourselves: should be be allowed to speak on college campuses? Is it okay that he refers to himself as a “dangerous faggot?” Should he be given a platform?
I have a pretty complicated opinion on him: on the one hand, I think he’s a human dumpster fire and I find most of his views absolutely abhorrent (with the exception of his free speech stances, but it’s not like he’s really breaking new ground), on the other hand, he amuses me and I’m not sure if the best way to go about expressing my deep disgust with his opinions is by screaming over him at a talk and becoming an internet meme (looking at you, Trigglypuff).
Milo wants angry reactions. It’s all part of his brand: “Why are these people yelling over me? Why are they throwing trashcans and screaming? Why are they damaging their own university? I’m not a white nationalist! I’m just a pragmatist! Listen to how even my tone is!” While Milo’s views are controversial, their presentation is not. If you juxtapose his protests with his talks and you’re very on the fence about a lot of these issues, you’re more likely to side with Milo. I know this because I’ve seen it. He and his fans get something to point and laugh at, we’re portrayed as crazy and irrational. It’s a vicious cycle.
So, how do we take him on?
Well, outright banning him from campuses, protesting his events, writing think pieces like this that no Milo fan ever is going to read, et cetera, does not seem to be really working. It’s honestly just adding more fuel to the fire, and I can’t think of anything worse than pouring fuel on a human dumpster fire. Milo, like a lot of immature children, feeds off of attention and disgust. It helps him come up with anecdotes. It helps him make us look crazy.
But, what is he going to do when there is no one to listen to him?
Here’s what I propose: don’t go to his events.
I know what you’re thinking: “I wasn’t planning on going to his events.”
Most of Milo’s events require that you purchase tickets through the university in order to attend. This money does not go to Milo directly, but it does help to pay off his booking fees and possibly help raise any additional money/ garner interest in whatever club is sponsoring the event. So here’s what we do: we buy tickets to Milo’s events, we buy as many tickets as we can afford and as many we are allowed, and we do not go. We don’t tell people we’re doing this. Don’t go to a protest, don’t do anything. Just act like it’s just another day.
I think this will be effective for several reasons: firstly, there will be nothing for Milo to photograph or film and put on his Facebook page, where he will make money off of ad revenue. This will hurt him in the long run. Secondly, he can’t complain about it. Do you honestly think he’s going to admit that maybe a handful of people showed up to his event? He can’t prove that a bunch of people bought tickets to his event, knowing full well they had no intention of attending. What can he complain about? What’s crazy about people not showing up to his event? He’s a gay and slightly more politically qualified Donald Trump. This looks bad. He’s not going to admit to that shit!
What will he do when nobody is particularly angered by his presence? He won’t be relieved. He won’t come to the conclusion that finally, finally, he’s found a university where people are rational and won’t try to throw a trashcan at him. No, he’ll wonder why nobody cares that he’s on campus. To him, if people aren’t protesting, he’s not doing his job.
Doing this will force him into a corner. If he throws a hissy fit over the fact that not very many people are coming to his events, he’ll be seen as irrational. If he’s not garnering controversy, people will lose interest. And if people lose interest, he will lose his platform, all without any true attempt of censorship.