The Sudden Fall Of Milo Yiannopoulos: An Ethics Cautionary Tale

milo-y

Wow.

Frank Sinatra would have recognized this tale…

That’s life (that’s life) that’s what people say
You’re riding high in April
Shot down in May

But will Milo Yiannopoulos, the deliberately offensive Breitbart editor,  alt-right cheer-leader, misogynist and professional  troll be able to emulate Ol’ Blue Eyes and be back on top, back on top in June?

Uh, no.

Good.

In case you missed it, Milo had this very month soared higher than any vile, bigoted, uncivil loudmouth without any talent other than being vile, bigoted, and uncivil—are those really talents?—had soared before. Thanks to the fact that his threatened presence as an invited campus speaker had exposed the deep, anti-speech, totalitarian strain in U.S. higher education, and that the currently super-charged Leftist hypocrites who were already playing Brown shirts in response to the Presidential election smoothly transitioned to rioting at Berkeley because of the alleged threat posed by this silly, self-important jerk, Milo had become a genuine celebrity, thus ruining the name of Milo, maybe forever, which had previously evoked…

milo-oshea

…late Irish character actor Milo O’Shea

milo-m

…”Catch 22″ con man Milo Minderbinder (Jon Voight played him in the film), and…

milo-and-otis

…nauseating Japanese puppy and kitten-pal flick “Milo and Otis” (that’s Milo on the right).

But I digress.

Milo’s infamy  had snagged a book deal that would guarantee him millions. He scored a high profile interview on HBO with fellow troll, misogynist and jerk-in-arms Bill Maher, who is as much of an asshole as Milo but never gets shouted down when he appears on college campuses because he aims his vile words at conservative values, icons and figures, and most conservatives believe in free speech. Best of all, CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Conference, debased itself by inviting him to speak, on the theory that the enemy of their enemies is their friend, or something like that.

Milo had hit the celebrity jackpot! Rich! Famous! Influential!

…Shunned.

Last week a tape surfaced of his  appearance on The Joe Rogan show in 2016, in which Milo  talked about having given oral sex to an older priest when he was 14. He joked about it (he is gay), and on a second tape, talked about younger “boys” frequently having  sex with older gay men, thus appearing to endorse and make light of pederasty. On Monday,CPAC disinvited him. Simon & Schuster killed his self-promoting book “Dangerous,”and even Breitbart itself was reported to be considering letting him go. Yiannopoulos took to his Facebook page to issue an explanation and defense, saying in part,

I am a gay man, and a child abuse victim. I would like to restate my utter disgust at adults who sexually abuse minors. I am horrified by pedophilia and I have devoted large portions of my career as a journalist to exposing child abusers. I’ve outed three of them, in fact — three more than most of my critics. And I’ve repeatedly expressed disgust at pedophilia in my feature and opinion writing. My professional record is very clear. But I do understand that these videos, even though some of them are edited deceptively, paint a different picture….

Ethics observations:

1. Milo had intentionally deadened his ethics alarms. In his pursuit of political incorrectness and to become a poster boy for the freedom of utterly vile and obnoxious speech,  he pulled out the batteries, and this is the result. You see, civility and manners aren’t  just a vestige of archaic values and times gone by. They force you to think before speaking, and to consider  gratuitous and unnecessary harm that your choice of words and subjects might inflict. There are  are not only ethical  reasons but practical reasons for developing the habit of civility. One is to protect yourself. by having sufficient fail-safe systems in place to block statements that will make you a pariah.

2. This is the risk that all “fearless,” “tell it like it is,” free speech rebels and iconoclasts take. Eventually, it gets almost all of them, usually when they feel most popular, powerful and invulnerable. (Hubris, you know.)

Don Imus was riding high as a suddenly respectable shock jock, hobnobbing on the air with celebrities and politicians, promoting his camp for  kids with cancer, even MCing the Washington Radio and Washington Correspondent’s Dinner. Imus abused his production team, sometimes on the air, made disparaging jokes about gays and women, called public figures “weasels”  and  worse, and prospered. Imus was named one of the “25 Most Influential People in America” by Time magazine. He was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame. Then, on April 4, 2007, riffing on the NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship, Imus mocked the mostly black Rutgers University women’s basketball team players  as “rough girls” and “nappy-headed hos.”

That was the end. He had punched down for no reason, and attacked innocent female college athletes with a demeaning racial slur. There were apologies, explanations, meetings with civil right leaders…none of it helped. Imus was poison, and still is.

The most vivid example is the fate of Doug Tracht, aka The Greaseman, once the highest paid disc jockey in Washington D.C. Tracht was a genuinely talented performer with a quick wit and improvisational skills, but his trademark was outrageous, politically incorrect and often cruel humor. Cruising at the peak of his popularity, he said, regarding the just declared new  federal holiday, Martin Luther King Day,  “Why don’t we plug four more and get the whole week off?”  It is a measure of his popularity and talent—Tracht  was  more talented  than Howard Stern, Don Imus, Bill Maher and Milo put together—that Tracht survived this, though he was suspended and funded a scholarship at Howard University to atone. His  next gaffe destroyed him.  Thirteen years later, a day after a Texas jury had convicted John William King  of the horrific dragging death of African American James Byrd by three white supremacists, Tracht played  a sound bite of singer Lauryn Hill ,who had ten nominations at the 41st Grammy Awards, and said, “No wonder people drag them behind trucks.”

And that effectively ended his career. The lesson is that when you live by defying society’s conventions and values, you will eventually defy one that society won’t tolerate being ignored, because you have erased all the lines and no longer remember where they were. Those lines, however, were there as guides and also warnings. We need them. Even shock-jocks need them

3. Conservative blogger/essayist Ace of Spades wrote a long post about Milo’s fall yesterday. In many ways it’s an ethics post,a  very thoughtful one, and I recommend it highly. His main theme is the speed with which a career and a life can be destroyed through social media and the news cycle. Excerpts, with my comments in bold..

“CPAC is now in the strange position of having invited someone precisely because he was not permitted to speak on college campuses due to his controversial statements, and yet now having banned him from speaking there due to his controversial statements.”

It is in that strange position because it never should have invited Yiannopoulos in the first place. This is the ugly side of U.S. conservatism. Milo had a right to his cruel and bigoted views, but for a major conservative confab to embrace his hatefulness confirmed every negative stereotype the Left and the news media promote about the Right.

“The way this works is that the Outrage Mob gins up its hatred quickly, giving no one a chance to actually think slowly and carefully about these things — and they should be thought slowly and carefully about, because what’s being engineered here is possibly an irrevocable negative hit on someone — and then people feel pressure to react instantly precisely the way the mob wants because God Forbid we stand up to the mob and say, “Stop your baying, and give adult men and women of rational mind and good spirit a chance to actually think,” then maybe they’ll turn on us next. Proud anger travels twice around the world before cool reflection has even slipped on its first sock.”

This is an important observation, but I don’t think it applies to Milo, who should have been shunned long, long ago.

“I just think that when the whole world sets its sights on one lonely target, it’s not really terribly useful or moral of me to join in the collective attack. I don’t think the world will end if a couple of voices here or there caution, “Maybe we shouldn’t rush to extirpate him from the face of the earth with just these three seconds of contemplation.”

That’s my least favorite rationalization on the list, #22. The Comparative Virtue Excuse: “There are worse things.” No, the world won’t end, but nobody should have to think very hard about the absurdity of someone like Milo being celebrated, awarded huge book contracts, and having a forum for his despicable views, or to recognize the disturbing implications of the fact that so many conservatives cheered him, or to arrive at the conclusion it is troubling that saying and writing things to deliberately upset women and minorities can be a lucrative occupation in this country.

“But I do think Milo has done some good work in exposing the increasing intolerance and hateful mob mentality of our twitterfied, outrage-addicted society. Whether that outweighs the sins he is said to have committed, I don’t know.”

I do. That good work didn’t outweigh the harm he did before trivializing child rape.

Is it my scalp they’ll be coming for next week?Who knows — maybe this very post you’re reading right now will be cited as the reason Ace Must Now Be Purged to Maintain the Purity of the Body of the Church of Twitter….One can dispute his claims and criticize the callowness and the occasional meanness and casual offensiveness of his statements without taking the next step of deciding that we’re going to mob up together to destroy his life just because we’re kinda bored and not doin’ much else on a slow news day.

Or can we? I don’t know that we can any longer. This is where we are; this is what we are. Perhaps this is what we’ve always been — perhaps we just needed a technological innovation of social media to enable us to focus and purify our hatred into a polarized speck of white-hot dissolving heat. Maybe we just needed this one stupid little tool so that we could take this week’s pleasure in inflicting cruelty on strangers, like a sadistic kid just needs a magnifying glass to focus the sun’s rays on a random ant.

Again, an interesting point, wasted on Milo. Applied to him, this is Silly Slippery Slopism. There are already many examples of the Cyber Mob setting out to destroy someone that should alarm us, but fearing the mob because it turned on Milo is like fearing the military because it shot Osama bin Laden.

6. Society and political discourse will be better off and more ethical without Milo’s hateful bile polluting them. That is a good thing.

7. Oh–I almost forgot:

There is someone else who is currently at great risk of meeting the same fate as the I-Man, The Greaseman, and Milo.

The President of the United States of America

 

57 Comments

Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Education, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Etiquette and manners, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, Humor and Satire, language, Popular Culture, Race, U.S. Society

57 responses to “The Sudden Fall Of Milo Yiannopoulos: An Ethics Cautionary Tale

  1. Well, I’m speechless, just like the Left wants me. So I’ll lash out instead.

  2. “It is in that strange position because it never should have invited Yiannopoulos in the first place. This is the ugly side of U.S. conservatism. Milo had a right to his cruel and bigoted views, but for a major conservative confab to embrace his hatefulness confirmed every negative stereotype the Left and the news media promote about the Right.”

    The problem is that too many conservatives have forgotten what their own values are and have merely internalized the spite and hate they’ve received and now define their own conservatism, not as something they are pushing from a set of values but as whatever spites the Left.

    Or as @blackrepublican said on twitter: “When your conservatism is wholly defined by antagonizing liberals, a philosophically bankrupt libertine can be your new “thought leader”.

    (followed by an image of Milo)

    • Do you think “philosophically bankrupt libertine” is too fancy a description for a basic asshole?

      • I think “philosophically bankrupt” is a great adjective for a ton of people. Perfect for our tendency as a society to elevate people to pedestals of intellect they don’t deserve because, they really aren’t all that profound. They just do things or say things that seem like they ought be profound.

        But they are still philosophically bankrupt.

        • But this statement seems to me to beg questions: If you use the term ‘philosophically bankrupt’ it clearly implies that there is such a thing as ‘philosophically wealthy’ and idea-rich, etc etc. But as far as I am aware, and in respect to this blog and many other forums in Cyberspace, I do not get the sense of an ‘philsophy’ being discussed. In fact, and this happens here more often than not, there is a contempt for attempted articulation of philosophical values, or references to philosophers.

          If we now elevate noise-machines and narcissist-entertainers, because we cannot bear ideas and articulation of them, what sort of philosophically-rich person would you recommend? I mean, in the best of all possible words? An interesting aside, and because I listen to some French broadcasts, is that in France there are very serious forums for the debate of ideas and people really do engage in thinking. It has a sense like a national sport to some degree.

          But my question to you is what exact philosophy would you recommend as the one that should be talked about in the public sphere today? What exactly the base of ideas that should be considered? And who would you refer to today who is not philosophically bankrupt?

    • Rich in CT

      With the case of Milo, I think his meteoric rise in the public sphere caught everyone off guard. I had literally heard of him only days before UC Davidson erupted into literal flames over his appearance at the university.

      I doubt the Young Republicans even really vetted him before inviting him. He was simply known as a controversial conservative speaker, and they recklessly invited him. Their only feedback was anger and vile, which they would have received had they invited Barbara Bush to campus.

      There is no useful dialog or feedback. Just blind rage. Suddenly this obscure fool is thrust into the public light with a sympathetic bent; chased out of California with pitchforks and torches. Nobody heard of him or knew anything about him, so the ignorantly and recklessly started throwing money at him. The left responded with more rage, which only served as confirmation bias as to why Milo was suddenly famous, and so they threw more money at him.

      Did the Left even know why he was a vile figure to be condemned? Ignorance, Ignorance, Ignorance Everywhere!

      • charlesgreen

        One person knew of him – Steven Bannon, who hired him into Breitbart in the first place.

        • And he’s like that Nazi guy who guiding Trump towards a 4th Reich right?

          • Chris

            I think “guy who hired Milo Yiannopolous to write words on his website” is a damning enough indictment. (Though Bannon does identify as a Leninist, not a Nazi.)

            • I think “guy who hired Milo Yiannopolous to write words on his website” is a damning enough indictment.

              Touche!

              • Have you ever devoted a series of blog posts to Steve Bannon? It would seem like a good place for some substantial criticism. I have just been reading up on him and he is just as intimately connected in the top financial circles as any seemingly corrupted political figure.

                I am curious how you would describe this sort of figure within Americanism and American history? Is he really so different when one examines him closely? When you see a figure like Bannon do you see him as just a continuation of a long line of similar figured (who insinuate themselves into American politics and economics) or do you, like some journalists and periodicals, see him as ‘the most dangerous man in America’

                There was a Bloomberg article with that title, here is a bit of it where the author speaks about Breitbart:

                “Breitbart’s genius was that he grasped better than anyone else what the early 20th century press barons understood—that most readers don’t approach the news as a clinical exercise in absorbing facts, but experience it viscerally as an ongoing drama, with distinct story lines, heroes, and villains. Breitbart excelled at creating these narratives, an editorial approach that’s lived on. “When we do an editorial call, I don’t even bring anything I feel like is only a one-off story, even if it’d be the best story on the site,” says Alex Marlow, the site’s editor in chief. “Our whole mindset is looking for these rolling narratives.” He rattles off the most popular ones, which Breitbart News covers intensively from a posture of aggrieved persecution. “The big ones won’t surprise you,” he says. “Immigration, ISIS, race riots, and what we call ‘the collapse of traditional values.’ But I’d say Hillary Clinton is tops.”

                Is there anything of real substantial importance in this sort of material?

    • I wondered why CPAC invited him to speak. A quick youtube search would have caused them to take a step back and say, “Whoa, there, Nelly. Let’s put you back in the barn.” Then, I got to thinking about it. Conservatives have a hard time attracting young minds into the fold. It is probably the Churchill thing about being young. So, the powers-that-be must have thought, “Hey. This Milo guy just got kicked to the curb in Berkeley. You know we don’t like progressive think tanks at colleges and universities brainwashing our youngsters’ minds and stifling free speech. This Milo guy (by the way, how do you pronounce his last name?) must be pretty great if he is making college progressives mad. He must be conservative. Let’s invite to speak.” Then, after a quick unanimous vote, the invitation went out to him and he gladly accepted, probably laughing himself silly. Later that night, things went sideways. One of the board members was talking to his/her college-age child and declared,

      CPAC Board Person: “You won’t believe who will be giving the keynote address at this year’s CPAC convention: None other than Milo Unpronounceadopoulus! Isn’t that great?”

      CPAC Board Person’s Progeny: “Do you mean Milo ‘ Yiannopoulos’?”

      Board Person: “Yeah. That guy.” Pregnant pause. “Erm . . . Why would ask that?”

      Board Progeny: “Well, parental unit, have you heard him speak?”

      Board Parent: “Uh . . . No. . . ”

      Board Progeny (after pulling up YouTube on the cell phone): “Watch this.”

      (Board Parent watches 3:40 video of Yiannopoulos seemingly saying awful things)

      Board Parent: “Oh my.” (Closes YouTube and dials Co-CPAC Board Member Parent Person, who answers on the third ring)

      Board Parent: “Hey. How’s it going? We’re fine. You know, I just had a conversation with my progeny about Yiannopoulos. We might have made a mistake. I will send you a Youtuberthingy that you should probably watch.”

      Co-CPAC Board “OK. . . . but my child just showed me a tuberyouthingamawhatiscalled by him. Whoa. That’s some . . . um . . . strange stuff right there. We might need to reconsider the invite.”

      Board Parent: “Um, . . . Yeah. . . but we’re gonna look bad.”

      And so it went.

      jvb

  3. Markus LaPierre

    I’m not here to defend Milo as his writing style makes him, for me, an unsympathetic character. Still, free speech and all. The ethical problem with these twitter explosions is it all seems to be “who whom” based, a deeply unethical concept. Off the top of my head I can’t think of any left wing icon who’s been destroyed for verbal diarrhea. Hell, Roman Polanski is a convicted rapist and Hollywood still loves him.

    • All true, but that fact that Deserving Jerk X hasn’t net met his just desserts isn’t an argument that Deserving Jerk Y shouldn’t. This is the “if we can’t keep all steroid users out of the Hall of Fame, we should let them all in” fallacy.

      Instapundit did the same thing when he wrote, “Lena Dunham writes a book where she reminisces about abusing her baby sister and it’s no big deal. Milo talks about being abused, says it wasn’t that bad, and Simon & Schuster cancels his contract. Double standards indeed.”

      • Markus LaPierre

        Perhaps I phrased poorly. I agree with you Jack. Milo is an asshole and his assholery got him into trouble. Good. Should Polanski be in prison? Yes. I was trying to make the case that the “who whom” argument is unethical and should never be deployed, by the political left or right.
        I also agree, no steroid cheaters in the hall of fame.

      • Andrew V

        True, but if the only steroid users that were excluded from the Hall all happened to be from the National League, you’d expect some uproar.

  4. “…nauseating Japanese puppy and kitten-pal flick “Milo and Otis” (that’s Milo on the right).”

    Which Milo is that one?

    Rumors are that of the 30 or so cats they started with for use in the various scenes that by the completion of the film, there weren’t 30 or so cats…

  5. Warren

    People like Milo have little to offer other than their own shamelessness. There are other examples. Ann Coulter comes to mind. It’s hard to tell if these vulgar provocateurs even really believe half the the things they’re saying. They’ve figured out that they can get a certain amount of airtime simply by occupying a position of vulgarity/contrarianism which is up for grabs because the rest of the population has a modicum of compunction when it comes to certain taboos. I’m sure any one on this thread who was really determined to could manage to get on TV by making a faux-articulate and speciously witty argument that it’s ok for priests to bugger children. I could also probably get on the local news in the next hour by walking down Lexington Avenue naked.

    • Paul Compton

      Warren says: “It’s hard to tell if these vulgar provocateurs even really believe half the the things they’re saying. They’ve figured out that they can get a certain amount of airtime simply by occupying a position of vulgarity/contrarianism which is up for grabs because the rest of the population has a modicum of compunction when it comes to certain taboos.”

      As far as I can make out Warren, you have just described about ninety percent of stand up, so called, comedians; most of whom push their political agendas. I had, in my limited experience of him, placed Milo amongst this group, all be it twisted away from the left and possibly with a faster, sharper whit.

  6. By the by, what does this say about the popularity of the Joe Rogan show when it’s only been discovered that Milo said this on his show…from *last year*…?

    *video surfaced of Obama’s State of the Union Speech from 2016, viewers shocked by what they found*

  7. Steve-O-in-NJ

    The guy deserved to take the fall he took. There is no defending what he said. That said, I don’t see why other vicious jerks like Larry Flynt or Dan Savage or Howard Stern shouldn’t also fall just as far, nor why those who hire these idiots shouldn’t also share part of the blame. When you hire or promote a jerk, specifically to be a jerk, you shouldn’t be surprised when he acts like a jerk.

    I also proudly claim to “tell it like it is” free of political correctness, and I have told some folks they couldn’t handle the truth, particularly when it comes to certain areas of history. That said, there’s a reason I keep my social media pages fairly private and err on the side of caution when it comes to being too blunt. There’s also a reason I decided to kill the out-and-out gay hatred, and part of it was self-interest. There is no value in spewing hate to the point it becomes self-harm and takes away from the actual message you are trying to communicate. I use trash-talking as spice, but this guy was all trash talk, and there’s no value in all trash talk.

    • Spartan

      I think the difference is that none of the jerks you mentioned are the heads of what are purported to be legitimate agencies. The ones you mentioned are all on the fringes, and you have to pay extra money to have access to them.

      • Steve-O-in-NJ

        Howard Stern is considered pretty mainstream, I think. Dan Savage’s stuff runs in legit publications, although often alongside ads for gay escort services, and he’s been sacked from a few after he’s gone too far, like getting dropped from a Utah paper after he insulted the state openly. As for Larry, well, he’s Larry Flynt, who’s always appealed to the low rather than the high end of things, but is lauded as a First Amendment hero for pornography-based litigation including referring to the SCOTUS as “eight assholes and a token cunt.”

        The unfortunate side of it, which ties in with Jack’s “nation of assholes” series of posts, is that there’s a bigger market out there for anger and jerkassery than most of us would like to admit. It’s a jerkass move to print cruel parodies or outrageous accusations, yet how many people laughed at Larry’s slimy columns about Jerry Falwell? It’s a jerkass move to write columns that are nothing but insult and invective, with a 1:5 f-bomb: everything else ratio, yet Dan is hailed as a hero for doing it, often shaming other folks by name. Howard Stern is Howard Stern, whose every move is a jerkass move, and he still maintains a HUGE following.

        The fact is that a bigger portion of the American people than will admit it, on both sides of the aisle, is terminally angry and frustrated about the way things are going and displeased with the fundamentally unfair nature of life. However, much of that same portion is wise enough to keep it quiet once they’re out of college, because they know openly saying what they really think could endanger their jobs, their family peace, or their monthly sex night. So they snigger and laugh at those who have made it an entertainment form to curse and insult and tear others down, and yell “right on, tell it like it is!” at the radio as Rush is giving it to them straight or chuckle “Damn right” as they read another one of Savage’s cluster f-bomb attacks.

        It should come as no surprise that Milo took things the next step, but none of these are steps for the better. We’ve reached the point where a good mainstream writer can’t capture headlines or get on the best-seller list with a truthful, balanced account of recent history, but someone who writes an original-sounding insult directed at a major figure gets plenty of column inches and Ann Coulter can be #1 on the NY Times best seller list with a polemic. Milo’s a particularly bad symptom, but he’s not the disease.

        • Spartan

          Howard Stern is not remotely mainstream. That’s why he’s on Sirius. Perhaps he seems bigger to you given that you are closer to NYC?

          • Steve-O-in-NJ

            That could well be the case. From high school to grad school he was yuuuuge here. Used to listen to him all the time in the morning, but never went so far as to buy any of his videos. Of course I thought he was a lot funnier when I was a newly minted adult whose sense of humor was all about how hateful or how gross could you be, and who wasn’t that far from passing pornographic magazines around the back of the bus on the sly at 16 or staggering back to the dorm at 2 AM from an off-campus beer blast yelling out into the deserted street about how I wanted to take a big, thick, fat, wet, greasy shit right in my pants at 19.

          • charlesgreen

            Wasn’t Howard Stern one of the four panelists on America’s Got Talent on NBC for like four seasons? That’s pretty mainstream, isn’t it?

  8. Other Bill

    This Milo situation is a little distressing to me, probably on a tangential front.

    For quite a while now I’ve wondered whether pedophilia and pederasty are the third rail of gay culture. I’m not gay so I’m on the outside looking in. Of course, there are the Man/Boy Love advocates holding down one end of the bell curve and there are the “homosexuality is a sin” forces holding down the other end. But my puzzlement on this issue derives from a number of anecdotal experiences. First is Thomas Mann. I read “Death in Venice,” among other Mann works in high school. I assumed, and was taught (wasn’t I? in the ‘60s?) that “Death in Venice” was about the decline of Western Culture. Turns out, it was a love story featuring Mann as the older man and a young Polish prince. This from a relatively recent biography of Mann, “Eros and Literature.” Also, Mann was infatuated with his son Klaus. Klaus was gay and committed suicide at a relatively young age. Mann kept a painting of young boys skinny dipping hug on the wall of his study for most of his life. Next anecdote. A high school classmate was molested at age nine by his urologist. My classmate has struggled with all sorts of problems his entire life as a result. Next anecdote. One of my cousin’s sons is gay. My cousin spoke approvingly of “an older man” who helped her son come to terms with his homosexuality. The son, now in his late forties, has been happily married to his husband and living in Denmark for at least twenty years.

    In his attempted clarification/apology, Milo tried to differentiate between pedophilia and gay sexuality and love. He spoke of the benefits of older guys helping younger guys get comfortable with their homosexuality. I assume heterosexuals are able to explore their sexuality at a young age with more freedom and less guilt because heterosexuality is deemed normal. Homosexual young people don’t have that freedom and may need help in figuring things out.

    In any event, I think this is an issue that could use some discussion. Maybe serious people, academics and psychologists out there discuss it. But I’m not aware of them or any discussion and it’s certainly not occurring in popular culture. I think this issue was glossed over during the gay marriage debate to the point where it seemed at times we were all simply supposed to believe that gay people were not only equal, they were vastly superior to anyone else in almost every respect. But perhaps the concern conservatives have about predatory Boy Scout leaders has some basis in fact? Maybe Milo was despised by the gay community because he was willing to speak openly about this issue? Maybe there are legitimate benefits to older men having relationships with younger men, even boys? Maybe older gay guys can identify and help younger gay kids? Beats the hell out of me. I think it’s just a shame Milo was obliterated for touching this apparent third rail. Maybe we all could have benefited from some discussion on this topic. Or maybe not.

  9. Wayne

    I think your last statement drawing a parallel between Milo and Trump is a bit strained. Milo is the Howard Stern of the right who went way too far in his statements about child sexual abuse. Trump of course remains a demagogue and a problematic president at best and totally lacks any of Reagan’s charm. However, I can’t see him at this point in public saying something anything as vile as Milo’s recent statements.

    • The point is, he lacks any restraints on his speech, and has no ethics alarms at all. He ALREADY has said things that would have sunk any other politician. Many things.

      I think the chances are high that he will cross one of those lines you can’t cross.

  10. For better or for worse, Imus actually made a nice comeback.

    • Well, it was a comeback. He’s not on C-Span any more. Few politicians will come on his show. Nobody pays attention to him, I don’t hear him quoted.

      • Steve-O-in-NJ

        On the other hand, old Howard appears to be made of Teflon. Nothing sticks to him. Opie and Anthony on the other hand…

        • Other Bill

          I think Howard Stern gets the Lenny Bruce pass. Much like Sarah Silverman and Amy Schumer.

          • Howard has only slipped up a couple of times…like Rush, he’s remarkably adept at walking the tightrope.
            Lenny Bruce didn’t get a pass, so how can there be a Lenny Bruce Pass?

            • Other Bill

              I think some comedians get the pass Lenny didn’t get and probably deserved. Jeeze, he was prosecuted.

            • Greg

              I had some business dealings with Howard Stern many years ago. His private persona was nothing like his public one. He was polite, respectful, all business, chose his words carefully, expressed himself with precision. He asked cordially about my client’s family and spoke affectionately about his own. My dealings with him were brief, so maybe he was on unusually good behavior that day. But I suspect that he is shrewder than the other shock jocks, has a sharper sense of where the bounds of proper conduct lie, and is more calculating about how far he can get away with crossing them (which is way farther than a healthy society would allow), and that’s the reason he has survived and prospered.

            • Eternal Optometrist

              Howard and Rush get a pass for inventing an industry, and then dominating that industry for decades. Maybe they shouldn’t get a pass and maybe it’s an industry we wish we didn’t have – but that’s damn impressive.

            • I got excite about the Rush reference but then I realized you were referring to the talk show host and not the Canadian Triumvirate. Hopes dashed once again.

              jvb

            • Pennagain

              Lenny got a pass, though. He just had to wait until he was dead.

          • Pennagain

            Silverman and Shumer get a Vocal Vagina Pass.

        • Maher had to wander in the Wilderness after he lost his first show by calling the 9/11 terrorists “courageous.” Coulter has been up and down. Stern has had some close calls…

          In 1992 when he said on his radio show, “The closest I came to making love to a black woman was I masturbated to a picture of Aunt Jemima on a pancake box.” The FCC fined Stern and Infinity Broadcasting $600,000. In March 1995, after Selena was shot to death,and the day before her funeral, Stern played gunshots over Selena’s music and mocked Selena’s fans with a fake Hispanic accent, saying “Spanish people have the worst taste in music. … This music does absolutely nothing for me. Alvin and the Chipmunks have more soul.” Stern apologized on air in Spanish, saying his comments were made in satire and not intended to hurt Selena’s fans, family, and friends. The day after the Columbine High School shooting, Stern mused about the “really good-looking girls” who ran for their lives away from the gunmen. “There were some really good-looking girls running with their hands over their heads,” he said. “Did those kids try to have sex with any of those good-looking girls? They didn’t even do that? At least if you’re going to kill yourself and kill the kids, why wouldn’t you have some sex? If I was going to kill some people, I’d take them out with sex.” Colorado stations dropped him.
          The Ban That Drove Him to Satellite.

          Then in 2004, Clear Channel Radio dropped him after they were hit with another $495,000 fine from the FCC after his interview with Rick Salomon, the co-star of Paris Hilton’s sex tape, in which Stern and Salomon talked graphically about anal sex and a caller used the N-word. That drove him to
          Sirius Satellite Radio, free from FCC regulations.

          • Warren

            Yeah, I find most of those comments repugnant, mainly because they combine racial offensiveness with not being funny — which just leaves you with the racial component and makes you wonder about the speaker’s motivations. It’s good to know that as a society we still have some third-rails, child sexual abuse being perhaps foremost among them. None of Stern’s repulsive “jokes” comes close to the perverse contention that priest molestation is a positive good for abuse victims because of the fellatio skills thereby imparted. Again, who knows if Milo really believes this — and who cares? After all, if he thinks he’s just being funny, what does that say about his sense of humor?

          • Greg

            Stern’s satellite deal reportedly made him a minimum of $80 million per year for a three-day-a-week and was recently renewed. I don’t think anything drove him there. He was lured with buckets of money.

  11. Milo…. Flew too close to the sun and his wings melted.

    I remember him just after he sold The Kernel, and spent a lot of time on the British producer “Sky News”. He… Impressed me. Fast, smooth talking, willing and able to say Truths that I thought, and still think, needed to be said. This was a time before he because the bombastic, Trump cheer-leading, vitriol spewing, drag wearing, outrage chasing, frosted tipped cretin that he morphed into… When he still had facts and numbers and reminded me of a less effeminate Ben Shapiro.

    But then he got famous, and he started chasing the Dragon that is the Edge of Edgyness. He started to work out, developed some sex appeal, hired a stylist, started really milking the flaming fag stereotype, all the while spewing ever more extreme pieces of crap alongside the facts and figures that I *still* think need more daylight, if perhaps at this point a better spokesperson. Who would have thought that with all the things he’s said, this would be the thing that sunk him? I’m not even sure that these are views that he actually holds, But I digress.

    What I find most…. troubling and interesting about this situation is that the first time he made a comment about his relationship with “Father Michael” was actually more than two years ago, on The Drunken Peasants Podcast. This is, if you watch the clips, the actual footage used as evidence of Milo’s defence of underage gay relationships. This means that for two years Milo existed in a state walking while dead. His career was effectively done, because all the evidence needed to sink him was there, but he still got mileage. Perhaps the cautionary tale here is similar to that of Icarus, being that Milo’s fame evaporated in the mainstream.

    • Pennagain

      HT, all fame evaporates in the mainstream today thanks to the Internet. As soon as something valuable (“value” can accrue from name recognition alone) is exposed beyond its fan base to the general web-waiting public, it becomes a target of random, ruthless and anonymous attack. It may be the world’s most popular addiction. . . . That makes blogs like this one only a temporary refuge.

      “blogs like this one” ???

  12. Isaac

    It seems so arbitrary though, as to whether or not the public shaming occurs when one of these types’ nature is exposed. Howard Stern, the day after the Columbine murders, said this on the radio:

    “There were some really good-looking girls running with their hands over their heads. Did those kids try to have sex with any of those good-looking girls? They didn’t even do that? At least if you’re going to kill yourself and kill the kids, why wouldn’t you have some sex? If I was going to kill some people, I’d take them out with sex.” It hurt his career exactly not at all.

    Sean Penn managed to somehow sexually assault, beat, stalk and harass a feminist celebrity icon and still be the darling of just about everyone. Ted Kennedy was the proud inventor of the “waitress sandwich.” There just don’t seem to be any clear-cut rules on how this is supposed to work.

  13. My understanding goes something like this: We live in times where, bit by bit, week by week, and year by year we observe around us, and might also notice occurring inside us, a gradual weakening of ‘core values’. A month ago there was a line: ‘Here, but no further!’ ‘This I can bear, but beyond this, no!’ As culture generally descends away from rigorous and defended values, ones that everyone agrees on and understands as necessary, everyone is sucked into the seduction of descent.

    If the process is understood as what will happen within a person’s ‘political body’ as well as in the larger social body when they begin to become unmoored from any value system at all, then it seems to me that a great many things makde sense.

    The difficult part, from my perspective, is to notice how ‘conservatives’ are sucked into the descent as they gradually are forced, by social pressure, to buckle under to the value-definitions defined by the ‘progressives’ who dominate culture. I say, with conscious provocation (which I sort of regret because it does reveal an unbecoming hautiness) that I observe no conservatism here but rather the conservative branch of a liberal ideology. And the definition for that is ‘cuckservative’. What is the cure for cuckservatism: defintion and redefinition of value and the philosophical power to articulate it.

    So, that is why I say that it seems to me that even the ‘conservative’ is caught in the downward current. It makes me think that the only way to have an emblem of the present politics is through parody: a Ship of Fools. Just look at the poor fellows in the little boat with their funny hats and trumpets. It is cruel and hauty, I admit it, but even that sardonic angle is a symptom of awareness of being caught, also, in the downward current. And this is always the point I come to when I try to get a grasp on ‘Ethics’, and the sort of ethics that is talked about here. What is the base of it? What is the philosophical and yes the *metaphysical* base? Because there does not seem to be a strong, defined and rigorous one, but rather a romantic one: Americanism combined with polite manners.

    Curiously, and I can only bear to watch about 2-3 minutes of any Milo appearance, I think I see him for what he is. He comes across as a narcissist, a boyish, overtly and deliberately provocatively homosexual braggart who tests just how far he can insinuate himself while he deliberately ‘triggers’ a cultural set of mindless goods who cannot think straight, who are caught in the flow of a cultural machine which uses Maoist social pressure to get confomity. And Milo jams their systems when he comes out in drag and accuses them of over-piousness while defending an alt-lite position that is no position at all. The same image is the best one: a Ship of Fools in The whirlpool to cultural destruction. And there is no one to stop it because no one can stop it inside their own self (I suspect).

    Did Milo ‘sink’? He certainly did not sink! He got a million dollars of advertising, his book deal will jump from a $250,000.00 advance to half a mil, and he will become that much more embedded as a figure on the landscape of absurd culture. But that is somewhat fine because, in truth, Milo has very little platform at all. It is mostly ‘noise’. The Alt-Right — the hated and feared Alt-Right which the ‘conservatives’ and certainly the cucks fear and detest — sees Milo as part of the diversionary Alt-Lite. If everyone can be made to hate Milo and the Alt-Lite and to isolate the Alt-Right as an idea-based and value-striving and philosophically-based movement, well then, all is good.

    The whole purpose, and in a sense the bargain between ‘conservative’ America and ‘progressive’ America is to keep things in a middle-of the-road situation. Essentially, the same as it is now. It is true, or it seems to me true, that without a renaissance in values, a redefinition of value, which is in the first and final analysis a personal and inner shift, that nothing will change at all.

    As I come to understand things better what I begin to conclude is that the ‘soul’ of a person (some inner part of the person) can and likely does understand that things are really in an increasingly downward trend. How could one not? This leads to pessimism and apathy. It is a kind of defeatism, the depression of defeat and loss. This leads to desperation and a grasping after quick cures, easy solutions, but these amount to empty and hollow solutions when they only amount to ‘triggering’ some pathetic brainless liberal who sees him/herself as an actor in a SJW melodrama. That itself is a form of loss!

    Radical problems require radical medications. Hyper-liberalism, which has also and is also capturing and ‘sinking’ conservatives, subsuming them into the folds of anchorless progressivism, can only be arrested through a radical redefinition of solid values. But there are incredibly solid and patrolled *walls* that keep one from venturing into the dangerous territory of philosophical definition of value, that is to say what the Alt-Right in its real manifestation, which no one knows about nor reads, is on about.

    Well, there you have my take. People walk around in a daze and no one seems to know what really is going on and no one has any idea at all what the cure is or might be.

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