Not only that, she wades right into the muck to get a story. She’s been traveling with the Odious Yiannopoulos for the last few weeks, and has written up an account of what it’s like to hang out with the Lost Boys during his fall from grace.
It is horribly ironic that of all the disgusting nonsense Yiannopoulos has said — about women, about Muslims, about transgender people, about immigrants — it is only now that the moderate right appears to have reached the limits of what it will tolerate in the name of free speech. The hypocrisy is clarion-clear: This was never, in fact, about free speech at all. It was about making it OK to say racist, sexist, transphobic, and xenophobic things, about tolerating the public expression of those views right up to the point where it becomes financially unwise to do so. Those suddenly dropping Yiannopoulos are making a business decision, not a moral one — and yes, even in Donald Trump’s America, there’s still a difference. If that difference devours Yiannopoulos and his minions, they will find few mourners.
Those damned SJWs have been saying this for quite a long time. We’ve also noticed the extreme projection these guys exhibit.
It turns out that some words do hurt. You may have noticed that, in this piece, I have not explicitly described Yiannopoulos or the movement that has made him famous as white supremacist, Neo-Nazi, fascist, or racist. The main reason for that is that it has been made explicitly clear to me that, were I to write such a thing, a libel suit the size of Mar-A-Lago would drop on me, and Yiannopoulos would use every trick in his surprisingly defensive playbook to prize out an apology, because that’s what friends are for. He’s done it to other reporters. He’s not the only one. In fact, a defining feature of the new-right populists is their ability to build a reputation as rhino-hided truth-sayers while flailing their hands in panic if anyone uses whatever words happen to hit them where it hurts. So, for legal reasons, I must state that Milo Yiannopolous, possibly alone of all the smug white people in the world, is not a racist. For moral reasons, however, I must state that Yiannopoulos’ personal beliefs are irrelevant given that he’s built a career off peddling bigotry in public. What about sexism? “Sexism I don’t have the energy to wrestle with you over,” says Yiannopoulos, who, I can personally confirm, is the maple-cured bacon of misogynist piggery — oily and sweet and crass and, on a gut level, dreadful for your health.
Read the whole thing.
Well of course she does – she went to the best college of the best university in the world!
(Quite why it had no effect on me, and I ended up stringing words together like a butcher makes sausages is anybody’s guess. I suppose they must teach them something in the English faculty after all).
I think that the focus on the American far right in general, rather than solely on the odious little toad himself, is important though. Morbidly fascinating though it may be to dissect the motives and contradictions of an attention-seeking jester like Milo, another one will come along shortly when he’s no longer in the spotlight. He’s a symptom of what the political culture of the American right allows to happen.
That was an excellent article, thanks for posting it!
she went to the best college of the best university in the world!
She’s a graduate of Paris-Sorbonne?
Not a fan of Penny’s piece. I’m more in agreement with Alexandra Erin, who is more elequent than I.
From Erin’s Twitter:
I agree with kellym, and Alexandra Erin. Yiannopoulos is fascist scum, and so are the “lost boys” Laurie Penny is so sorry for. Whether they “really believe” in the hate-filled filth Yiannopoulos spews is as irrelevant as Erin says in kellym’s quote.
“Fundamentally decent kids” do not do “fundamentally despicable things” for a laugh (well, one such thing might possibly be allowed, depending on just how despicable, but then any “fundamentally decent kid” would think “WTF did I just do?”, feel utterly sickened by themselves, and never do anything similar again), let alone as a career move.
And whatever she says, Penny clearly was Yiannopoulos’s friend.
From the article:
That is one of the most fantastic sentences I have read in a long time. Sum up the brat better than anything else I’ve seen.
A very good article, though I certainly am not inclined to be as empathetic to these so-called “Lost Boys.”
As Ken White at Popehat likes to say, if you fuck goats ironically, you’re still a goatfucker.
But-but I love maple cured bacon ;_;
If you read that article and think Laurie Penny has more empathy for the sycophants surrounding Milo than she does for the victims of Milo’s hate speech and violence, go away and learn how to think. Horde gonna horde.
Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk- says
I agree that Penny is spending too much time empathising the “Lost Boys”, but I don’t think the criticism gets to the bottom of her writing.
I don’t think that’s a fair thing to say as she details exactly how they’re treating her, the things they say when she’s out of sight but within earshot.
I think this is a really bad phrase and her desire to keep the parallel structure simply destroyed it. Replace the first “decent” with “normal” and you get to what I think her point is:
Those people are not “monsters”. We’ve spent ages discussing “monster theory” and how it just displaces guilt and responsibility. It think the quintessence of the article is what Hannah Arendt called “the banality of evil.”: It doesn’t take monsters to commit the Holocaust. It just takes ordinary people.
I understand that people are upset about how sympathetically she writes about those young people, but I also understand where she’s coming from. There are difficult discourses about how race and gender influence on who gets seen and treated as an adult (and she acknowledges them right away). Yet you cannot spend a lot of time around young white people and not realise how much they are still children. That is privilege. It is also true.
And as you so clearly demonstrate, numpty gonna numpty. Have you noticed that commenters here, members of the “horde”, are disagreeing with each other?
Way to stereotype. Since I have a son of around the age of Yiannopoulos’s fanbois, know some of his friends, and also know other young white people through my political activities, I can say that those I know are nothing like Yiannopoulos’s fanbois.
Are you American? If so you may not have appreciated what she was saying.
Penny’s piece was devastating if you were a reader from the Commonwealth. And a rather nasty indictment of American culture and childrearing practices at the same time.
Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk- says
Your reading comprehension is better than that. I never claimed that all white 18 year olds are like MY’s fanbois. I said they’re still very much children. I never said or indicated that there aren’t great 18 year olds around. But their brains haven’t finished developing, their personalities haven’t had a lot of a chance to settle. The more privileged they are, the less need they had to “grow up”.
BTW, has it occurred to you that your sample may be the one that is not very representative?
An interesting take on Penny’s piece is from BoingBoing:
It’s a little tricky getting at the distinction between empathy and sympathy, here. I think that what Doctorow is describing as being empathetic is Penny’s portrayal of her subjects as being real people with real emotional lives; she highlights their fears, desires, and need for social connection and approval. But she does not sympathize; she does not share their bigoted feelings, or the entitled defensiveness of those bigoted feelings. She does not condone their behaviors, or suggest that their behaviors should be excused. She might seem to pity them, a bit, but it’s a pity that is fully aware that their bigotry and defensiveness has lead to cruelty in the past, and will probably lead to cruelty in the future.
Here’s another way of putting things, from a different BoingBoing article that references Penny:
[Here Doctorow quotes Belle Waring at Crooked Timber]
I am very empathetic to Milo. In many ways I was somewhat like him when I was younger; I was willing to say lots of stuff as long as it would get me attention. I also understand that things happened to him and his followers to cause them to act the way they do.
On the other hand, though, I chose a different path, even when I had similar ideas to Milo. Everyone chooses their own path, and, as sad of an individual as Milo may be, he’s still a ratfucker who only looks for validation in the form of attention and money, and does nothing because it’s the right thing to do in any way.