Milo Yiannopoulos: Commentator, Firebrand, Con Artist

In this Feb. 1, 2017 file photo, a fire set by demonstrators protesting a scheduled speaking appearance by Breitbart News editor Milo Yiannopoulos burns on Sproul Plaza on the University of California, Berkeley campus.

On a nationwide tour through American college campuses, Milo Yiannopoulos compelled a bevy of far-left students to act like clowns and bullies. During his on-stage appearances, activists screamed, wiped fake blood on their faces and, in one case, stormed the stage to steal his microphone through use of physical intimidation. Most of the time though, the activists were shutting down the presentations entirely through legal or illegal means.

It seems sensible to assume that Yiannopoulos continues to provoke out of a genuine desire to get university officials and people in general to make a staunch commitment to upholding a right to universal freedom of expression. But Milo’s behavior and “Dangerous,” his first book, demonstrate this assumption to be incorrect, and suggest instead that Yiannopoulos is an insubstantial and phony firebrand.

One wonders why Milo wrote “Dangerous” at all when so much of it is a reiteration of the views he has already publicly expressed. Anyone can find out what Milo thinks about GamerGate, Black Lives Matter, and feminism with a simple Google search, which makes this book feel more like a last-inning cash grab than a work of substance.

Milo only finds the time to discuss politics when he is not self-congratulating. I am not the first to point out that the frequency and absurdity of Milo’s boasting makes completing his book a feat of endurance. Again and again, the reader is reminded of Milo’s commitment to the truth, his charisma, his wit and, yes, even his physical attractiveness. At various points, Yiannopoulos refers to himself as “the Zsa Zsa Gabor of political discourse,” “the Ken doll from the Underworld,” and “a gay Rosa Parks or a Jewish Martin Luther King Jr.”

We’re the only ones telling the truth
— Milo Yiannopoulos

Though the previous remarks are outrageous to the point of being entertaining, most of the self-complimenting is mundane and repeated word-for-word at a later point in the book. Milo says, “I tell the truth, always,” “But I tell the truth,” and “We’re the only ones telling the truth.” Pres. Donald Trump’s success demonstrates that Americans will tolerate political thinkers whose mendacity is only surpassed by their egoism. If Pres. Donald Trump or Milo Yiannopoulos were as honest, intelligent and original as they claimed, they would not need to inform anyone of their virtues once, let alone one hundred times. Never hath ladies protested this much.

It is a shame that Milo’s work must be soaked with the most disconcerting parts of his personality, as some of his argumentation is well-presented. When he slakes his need to personalize and his addiction to shoddy, invidious debate tactics, Yiannopoulos grows into an adequate political writer. Nevertheless, he spends far too much time doing Conservative dirty work, like defending prohibition of abortion by declaring that men who find themselves with unwanted children ought to be thankful, as unexpected parenthood is “an important test of a man’s virtue.” Testing a man’s virtue is not nearly as important as preserving the health and wellbeing of pregnant women who should have the right to choose whether they will be mothers.

In this photo of Milo Yiannopoulos, he is seen giving one of his numerous political speeches (@Kmeron/Flickr, Creative Commons)

In this photo of Milo Yiannopoulos, he is seen giving one of his numerous political speeches (@Kmeron/Flickr, Creative Commons)

Yiannopoulos co-founded a tech blog, called the “Kernel,” in his younger years. It has been alleged that he failed to pay some of the blog’s contributors, and that he once replied to a complaint by an employee over lack of payment by threatening to release a picture of her in a state of inebriation or undress. More ironic, perhaps, is that Milo once advocated far-left views on the “Kernel,” and once wrote that trolls ought to be banned from the internet. While I disagree with almost everything I have heard her say, political commentator Laurie Penny was probably correct in saying that Milo “believes in almost nothing concrete” and is “unencumbered by any conviction apart from … personal entitlement to raw power and stacks of cash."

Anyone with a discerning eye could have deduced that Milo admires the ethos of political thugs, hence his addiction to the low-blow insult and his alleged blackmailing. It takes special care to notice that the boasting, faux-conservatism, and chicanery which suffuse both “Dangerous” and the man’s personality generally reveal much of Milo Yiannopoulos’s contributions to political dialogue to be those of a typical con artist.


Alex Klein is a campus correspondent for the Daily Campus and can be reached via email at alex.klein@uconn.edu.