I started my freshman year at Berkeley as the school kicked off the 50th anniversary of the Free Speech Movement. Each student starting their time at Cal that year received a copy of Freedom’s Orator, a biography on FSM leader Mario Savio. As incoming students, we were motivated to follow in Savio’s footsteps: to not be afraid to make our voices heard — and to speak out against injustice. Three years later, as a bleach-blonde bullshit merchant looks to build his brand by co-opting Savio’s legacy and promoting injustice on the campus I call home, now’s as good a time to speak out as any.
February 1, 2017 was the first time that far-right provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos came to Berkeley. Many of my peers had just attended the Women’s March, or had protested the travel ban at to San Francisco International Airport. The anti-Trump #Resistance movement was just beginning to pick up steam. Yiannopoulos was also hitting a fever pitch in his career; with a $250,000 book deal in the works, a Senior Editor position at
influential pseudo- journalistic hate cesspool Breitbart, and a controversial college tour, “Dangerous Faggot” that kept him steadily in the headlines. Leading up to the event, I did weeks of research into Yiannopoulos. If there was a perspective I wasn’t hearing or information I wasn’t being told, I wanted it. Why had this person become a hero on the alt-right?
After concluding my research, it hit me: Yiannopoulos doesn’t truthfully believe in freedom of speech for the sake of ideological diversity — he’s just using it as a ruse to antagonize the left to in order to score alt-right brownie points. There are two reasons why I know this: Firstly, his takes on climate change being a hoax, queerness being a mental illness, and sexual assaults on college campuses being overblown have been repeatedly debunked, yet he still peddles them and attacks people for not taking him seriously. Secondly, because here is a clip of Milo himself confirming he does exactly that.
The right wing has a new playbook, and it’s important we all know the basic steps of it:
Saturate the media with with dozens upon dozens of empty, one-sided, bombastic #hottakes. (Check out how much time the Ben Shapiro-managed Daily Wire devotes to college campuses, and even Milo’s own site has a special section for this obsession.)
Say comically outrageous things to bait mainstream outlets into gawking at you. Attack the media for attacking you. Dismiss their counterpoints as victimhood and political correctness.
Paint yourselves as a victim of attack, unironically. Cite studies that fit your message, and when that doesn’t work, simply mislead your audience. Use your corporate network to start expanding and solidifying your realm of business.
All of this to train a voluntarily captive audience — one that has been trained to not question their leaders, for doing so would get you labelled as a traitor. Or a cuck.
That’s how Gamergate got started and how Yiannopoulos got his fame: by using his platform at Breitbart to launch a harassment campaign against several journalists and feminist activists, all under the guise of “whistleblowing to maintain journalistic ethics.” (For more about Gamergate, I highly recommend this article). I observed this first hand: I posted a video to YouTube the night of the cancelled talk on February, detailing what I knew about Milo at that time and giving my opinions on it. The same demographic that is usually found yelling racial epithets in video game chatrooms flooded the comments.
Their best trick is to make you think that in order to be tolerant, you must tolerate intolerance. They want you believe that freedom of speech means treating seriously the opinions of assclowns like Ann “Immigration-Is-Genocide” Coulter, or Steve ”I-Don’t-Want-My-Kids-To-Go-To-School-With-Jews” Bannon. To be “tolerant,” they say we must tolerate David Horowitz, whose organization labelled several Berkeley faculty members by name and face as “terrorist supporters” and threw posters all over campus just last week, subjecting them to online harassment. To be “tolerant,” they say that we must tolerate Milo himself ridiculing an outspoken trans student activist, leading to his beta-male fanboys harassing her and other students. (I can already hear the comments section on this: “lol, it’s called diversity of opinion, cuck.”)
Even after the Milo and the Berkeley Patriot (a new student group that has grown largely by riding Yiannopoulos’ coattails) repeatedly alleged foul-play by the campus administration, the University was willing to shell over $1 million to secure their hastily planned circus from the inevitable wrath that they sewed the seeds for, and Milo couldn’t have hoped for any better publicity. Don’t believe these provocateurs when they say “freedom of speech.” They only want freedom from the consequences of their own actions. To receive unprecedented leniency and campus resources is the ultimate definition of the same privilege that these speakers choose to downplay, all while Yiannopoulos continues to laugh his way to the bank, having received at least $12 million to make this his business.
For the record: the same
orange orangutan president that “authentic first-amendment warrior™” Milo Yiannopoulos calls “daddy” traveled to the deep south and spent much of the weekend berating people of color for practicing their first amendment rights. FSM activist Mario Savio traveled to the deep south to directly protest and resist the big injustice of that time: segregation. Social justice warriors and anti-fascists own the Free Speech Movement. And free speech protects citizens from their government, not “dangerous faggots” from their consequences. By the way Milo, count me in as one of the many Black men who would never spend a night with you because A: you’re human scum and B: unlike you, I’m not into older men.
Of course anyone can say whatever they want to in America, that’s not the issue. The issue is whether or not California taxpayers and the Berkeley community are going to subsidize and tolerate your brand-building stunt. The answer from me and many others is a hard no. So to Milo Yiannopoulos and any other alt-right halfwit who chooses to co-opt legitimate discourse on college campuses for their own purposes, this message is for you: stay the fuck off my campus.