Before reading my own thoughts, I strongly encourage you to read the piece by Out Magazine on Milo, which can be found here.
Who Is Milo Yiannopulous?
Milo Yiannopulous is a journalist who was raised in the United Kingdom, although he has Greek heritage. He got his start in writing with The Kernel and some other projects, before breaking into the mainstream for his role as a reporter of the Gamergate controversy. After rising to infamy (he does refer to himself as the Supervillain of the internet, after all!) he went on to join to team at Breitbart News as the tech editor, and also host his own Podcast, and now a traveling college campus speaking tour. In his own words:
I’ve never bought a knockoff bag.
After a controversy that the media threw at him, Milo left Breitbart to start his own media company. Milo is a provocateur who understands the art of trolling.
The difference between trolling and cruelty is that cruelty has no purpose except to hurt someone. Trolls may hurt the feelings of delicate wallflowers, but they do so because reasoned argument and polite entreaty have failed.
How Did I Discover Milo?
At first, I was hearing about Milo from one of his adversaries, Joe Jervis in Joe’s blog, JoeMyGod. Joe did a good job of painting Milo as a super villain, although Milo didn’t get much mention at first.
Being a gay man, I related to Milo in that respect at first. Milo is a controversial political figure, so many of his views took some time for me to swallow. Over the course of calendar year 2016, I did an “inquiry” into the mind of the political conservative, and found three key figures who were able to explain various points of the conservative persuasion that I was able to understand and relate to. On some level, I think having to work two jobs, 65+ hours a week to handle cost of living, pay off debts, and try to make something of myself had a subconscious impact on my politics as well.
I started hearing more references to Milo in 2015 as he rose to stardom and joined the team at Breitbart. The exact point where I started following him is a little fuzzy, but Milo, Paul Joseph Watson, and Steven Crowder have been the three figures guiding me in my exploration of the political right in the United States.
How Does Milo Inspire Me?
Unlike what his critics say about Milo, he’s an intelligent man with a warm heart, who wants to see the best in others. Being a controversial figure himself, he’s had many candid conversations with hot-button people on his old Podcast, including Phil Robertson and Martin Shkreli. Both of them, and several other guests on Milo’s show were “villains” in my mind, but since Milo had gotten me to listen to him, I gave the rest of them a chance. Milo was able to humanize these people in my mind, and I found myself agreeing with quite a few of them on various issues. This exact point gives a nod to what the queens on RuPaul’s Drag Race need to do to succeed – get people to love them as an individual and root for them to win. (See Magnolia Crawford for instance!) For Milo to get me to “root for” (and I use that phrase a bit loosely) Martin Shkreli or Phil Robinson is an accomplishment in and of itself. I’ve talked many times in the past about opening my mind and exploring new ideas, and I credit Milo with bridging my way into this sphere of politics.
“Most people aren’t political obsessives. They don’t care about your 14-point refutation of Obamacare. They want to hear things that relate to their own experiences.”
Politics isn’t won by commanding the facts, but by connecting with people’s experiences. That’s why it’s so important for conservatives to re-engage with culture and entertainment, which are the commanding heights of people’s experiences in the modern world.
That’s why this civil war has to end. Conservatism needs its great thinkers and its brilliant minds— the Debate Club brigade— to persuade voters who are already open-minded. But we also need provocateurs and clowns, to grab the attention and challenge the biases of those who don’t want to be challenged.
Milo is an excellent public speaker, who uses humor in his talks to get people to understand his message. Because of this, I see him as a Bianca Del Rio of the American Political world. His college campus tour is titled “The Dangerous Faggot Tour” and he has given talks on a multitude of subjects. I got the honor to meet him in person at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire for his talk, “In Defense Of Hazing.”
My ego is massive but I am not so far gone that I can’t admit when I’ve said something stupid.
Milo has reminded me about a lot of the things that were first taught to me by Brian Kinney when it comes to being a gay man.
I became a homo precisely because it is transgressive. And I want homosexuality to continue being transgressive, and even degenerate.
I’m ceaselessly amazed by the gay community’s myopic eagerness to sacrifice everything that has made our lifestyle unique, exciting, and dangerous, in exchange for heteronormative domesticity.
Smart gays who have been around the block, like celebrity drag queen RuPaul, understand this instinctively. RuPaul correctly tells gay men they should strive to stay outside “the matrix.”
I have struggled to reconcile being gay with trying to become more normalized and find my place in the world. Brian and now Milo have strong points about not trying to fit a mold that’s been set for me. Milo also has some very good points about why I crave luxury, particularly in my interest in hotels:
And if there’s one thing a good gay appreciates, it’s extravagance. We aren’t all divas who crave opulence and fame, but enough of us are for it to be considered one of our natural characteristics.
As Somerset Maugham— who once described himself as “a quarter normal and three-quarters queer”— admitted, the homosexual “Loves luxury and attaches peculiar value to elegance.”
I realized recently that another thing I like about Milo is that he’s the male version of Karen Walker.
Thank You Milo, for being an inspiration!
January 2019 UPDATE: I’ve fallen behind in my personal following of Milo. While I still remain a fan of his, I see more of the person, including his faults. What I continue to take from him is the backbone to push the boundaries and stand up for myself. That being said, I take a more nuanced approach to being a fan of his these days.
This thread on Reddit points out that Milo and a few of the other conservative voices I used to follow have since fallen by the wayside.