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Thursday, December 28, 2017

Milo wrote a book

Milo Yiannopoulos wrote a book. Not a very good book, it seems. His editors sent back the manuscript with many requests for changes, citing racism, weak jokes, bad arguments and so forth. The whole thing is now the centerpiece of a $10 million lawsuit, although I'm not sure where that figure comes from, since Milo received an advance of $255,000.

That's right. If you act like an asshole blowhard and you attract a sufficient amount of attention, someone somewhere is going to toss a quarter-million at you.

Fascinatingly, the court case means that the entire manuscript, including editorial notes, is now online. (If that link doesn't work, just hit the link in the first sentence of this post.)

His chapter titles follow a pattern: "Why the Progressive Left Hates Me," "Why the Alt-Right Hates Me," "Why Gamers Don't Hate Me," "Why My College Tour Is So Awesome" and so forth. Many readers won't realize that these titles resemble the chapter titles in Friedrich Nietzsche's Ecce Homo (the autobiographical work he wrote after the crazy kicked in): "Why I am so wise," "Why I write such excellent books," "Why I am a destiny" and so forth. This bit was funnier when Freddy did it.

Here's a sample from Milo's book, Dangerous:
Trolling is far more complicated and joyous than that. It is an art, beyond the grasp of most mere mortals. It is one part trickery and one part viciousness -- the ideal troll baits his target into a trap, from which there is no escape without public embarrassment.

The young memester faction of the alt-right accomplished this flawlessly by getting a popular cartoon internet frog called Pepe branded a "hate symbol." Now, left-wing activists, journalists, and "anti-hate" organizations will descend in a firestorm of fury on anyone who shares the frog picture, no matter how innocent the context, invariable making themselves look ridiculous in the process.
No they don't. Or rather, they look ridiculous only to the small, unlovable creatures in Milo's world, who (like their counterparts on the left) routinely delude themselves into thinking that their world is THE world.

Educated people understand that anything can be a hate symbol if enough haters use it as a symbol. The obvious example would be the swastika, which once had a benevolent meaning and which is now indisputably a symbol of hate. But anything will do. The three elves who decorate each box of Rice Krispies can become a hate symbol if enough of Milo's nazified compatriots were to fasten onto that imagery.

This process isn't clever or artful: All it requires is mindless repetition and groupthink. It's a game won by mere numbers. The troll is, in a real sense, a sheep -- a born follower, a face in a mob. But he fools himself: He thinks that he can think. Each Alt Right troll considers himself a bold and brilliant individualist, even though he's just another nameless sac of protoplasm shopping for a brown shirt to match his beige skin.

(I'm the first to admit that a somewhat similar "groupthink" dynamic often occurs on liberal websites.)

I haven't read the rest of Milo's book, but I suggest that you get hold of the thing. If all publishers understand that this kind of dreck-y "insight" is available for free, Milo will not only be forced to return the advance, he'll never receive such a deal again. Download away!
Really interesting post, Joseph. Great call on Ecce Homo, which I'm sure Milo thought perfectly clever.

The corrupting power of money has often been observed.

In Milo's case, as in Trump's, we see how it can be more corrosive, the character-destroying power of money and celebrity. If he had any character to begin with
One editorial note says "Careful that the egotistical boasting (...) doesn’t make you seem juvenile." Yiannopoulos? Who'd have thought it? The editor was clearly having a bit of a laugh. Yiannopoulos's brand is as superficial as fuck and he wouldn't be able to stop what is little more than public masturbation for long enough to develop a style that lends him substance.

I'm still wondering how this dickhead got into Cambridge after messing up his A Level exams and then dropping out of Manchester. A high-society catamite? This kind of thing can happen when "colleges" - halls of residence similar to boarding schools for young adults - run the admissions to the university.

While I'm here, I'll recommend a piece in The Atlantic by Jean Twenge, in which she plugs her book iGen: Why Today’s Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy—and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood—and What That Means for the Rest of Us:

"Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?"

There are many things she leaves out (of the article - I don't know about the book, which I've ordered but hasn't arrived yet), such as growing unrecognised illiteracy and a growing and very widespread lack of understanding about social and political matters, but she names a major part of the problem as it appears and this is a must read. She is absolutely right that a major mental health catastrophe is underway.
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