Milo Yiannopoulos Isn’t a Free-Speech Martyr

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Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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  1. Avatar greginak
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    says:

    I can hear the cries of “political correctness!!!!!” from around the country. I think i’ll go to Chili’s to enjoy the bitter tears of the OMG PC brigades. Although Red Robin has much better fries. And better burgers actually. In fact screw Chili’s we are going to Red Robin on friday.Report

  2. Avatar Burt Likko
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    says:

    There are, I suppose, some people who are today amazed to learn that Twitter is a private corporation, unconstrained by the First Amendment. Yiannopoulos is not one of them — he’s an asshole, but he’s smart. And he was smart enough to know that the more he pushed the envelope, the more likely it would be that he would be pushed back upon.

    If that wasn’t his goal, it might as well have been.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Burt Likko
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      says:

      That’s true, but not really the argument. Twitter here didn’t just have the right to do what it did, but (if the allegations are true) did the right thing, even if one believes in Free Speech independent of the First Amendment.Report

      • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Will Truman
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        says:

        “Twitter here didn’t just have the right to do what it did, but (if the allegations are true) did the right thing, even if one believes in Free Speech independent of the First Amendment.”

        I agree with this.

        Banning someone for Saying Awful Things is one thing. And it’s not even a thing that I have a problem with, actually. (What I have a problem with is banning someone for Saying Awful Things and then playing it all “wha? Political disagreement what? No way, that guy was just violating the Terms Of Service by doing mumblemumble and so it was an entirely objective decision to kick his ass out!”)

        Banning someone for Photoshopping fake tweets and pretending they’re real? Not a problem at all.Report

    • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Burt Likko
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      says:

      The problem with discussing Milo in political and cultural terms, I have decided, is that it’s hard to get a firm grasp on what he is trying to do at any given moment.

      Allow me an anecdote to illustrate what I mean.

      I got to hear him speak at a pro-Trump rally sponsored by key campaign advisors at the convention this week. The rally had an impressive all-star cast of speakers (all-star within a certain demographic, anyway), but it was pretty sparsely attended. Sparse enough that if you arrived in the middle of it, it was pretty easy to casually walk through the smattering of a crowd and get a seat right next to the stage.

      They announced Milo’s impending arrival a few times, and then when he arrived they immediately wrapped up the guy on stage and introduced Milo as he was walking up to the rally from the parking lot.

      Milo approached the stage with a really big — I mean, really big — entourage of young men dressed and groomed pretty much exactly like Milo. As Milo walked up on stage, his entourage placed themselves immediately in front of the stage. Then, as Milo was speaking, members of his entourage provided what I might call “audio enhancement” of Milo’s talk. You know, stuff like, “We love you Milo!” Or laughing in an over-the top, loud, fake-sounding way whenever Milo would give a one liner that made the rest of the crowd merely titter or remain silent.

      But here’s the thing. What I witnessed did not strike me as a case of a precious narcissist being fawned over by toadying sycophants. It all felt too staged, too over-the-top, too polished for that. Instead, it felt like a piece of meticulously choreographed performance art. It never had the feeling that Milo was saying, “Look at me!” Rather, his talk seemed to be a more transgressive, avant garde attempt to say, “Look at you, looking at the people who are looking at me!”

      None of which is to say that he isn’t a terrible person, or that a lot of his vile utterances aren’t sincerely held beliefs. It’s just that after this week I think much of what he does is play at being a cartoon villain to an attempt to incite a cartoon response from… well, basically from everyone.Report

      • Avatar trizzlor in reply to Tod Kelly
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        says:

        Am I the only one who gets the feeling that Yiannopoulos absolutely despises his fans? Hiring a cast of Milo-look-alike bots who do the HA! HA! HA! comic book laugh for all of this jokes seems entirely consistent with that.Report

      • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Tod Kelly
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        says:

        So Milo is sort of a conservative Beyonce?Report

      • Avatar Pinky in reply to Tod Kelly
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        says:

        That last sentence of yours is pretty much the definition of “trolling”.Report

      • Avatar Richard Hershberger in reply to Tod Kelly
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        says:

        I think much of what he does is play at being a cartoon villain to an attempt to incite a cartoon response from… well, basically from everyone.

        Two days ago, I didn’t know who he was. So I suppose the fact that I am reading and writing about him now is a win for him. But the thing is, two days from now, I again won’t know who he is. How does that count?Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Tod Kelly
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        says:

        The problem with discussing Milo in political and cultural terms, I have decided, is that it’s hard to get a firm grasp on what he is trying to do at any given moment.

        Sometime he’s trying to promote his brand, at other times he’s trying to promote his brand, and occasionally he’s trying to promote his brand. But all of those pretty much boil down to he’s trying to promote his brand.Report

        • Avatar veronica d in reply to Mike Schilling
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          says:

          But wait! Try to imagine the situation where Laurie Penny gets a backstage invite to hang with Milo in his limo and then go to the “big party” with him, at which point she literally meets RooshV. Just try to imagine.

          Cuz it happened: https://medium.com/welcome-to-the-scream-room/im-with-the-banned-8d1b6e0b2932#.cl59h9u5k

          The funny thing is, I’ve actually hung out with Laurie Penny a couple times, at some events in Boston, when she was doing a journalism thing at Harvard, once for lunch at my work, once at a “cheese and wine” party thing, after a talk. We spoke some, just basic stuff. She liked my hair. Mostly I just “fangirled” to an embarrassing degree.

          Anyway, I’d be surprised if she remembers me. But still, what do RooshV and I have in common? We’ve both been to parties with Laurie Penny.

          I like to believe I was a more pleasant party companion.

          Anyway, I think she totes nails the Milo zeitgeist.Report

          • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to veronica d
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            says:

            I don’t know who any of these people are. At first, I was picturing Mary Tyler Moore, because I thought you meant Laura Petrie.

            In the piece you link, she writes “This is a huge win for Milo and his brand.” Ha! We have both nailed it.Report

          • Avatar j r in reply to veronica d
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            says:

            I’ve met Roosh a couple of times in real life. He’s a very low key guy, but an effective conversationalist.

            This article is funny, because Penny goes to great pains to establish how different she is from all these folks and how different her work is from their trolling and it all just serves as a set up for, ‘so here’s what happened when I went to this party that Milo invited me to…’

            I turn to leave, and Roosh suggests that we should start some sort of “fake fight” on the internet, because that’s “part of the game”. “I’m good,” I say, genuinely confused. There is no way I could have a fake fight with this man. We clearly have real, profound differences. I think he’s a dangerous manchild with an army of credulous misogynists at his disposal. I cannot fight him insincerely, and I don’t want to fight him in good faith because he’s already had too much of my attention.

            What Penny doesn’t grok (or maybe she does) is that she is already in a fake fight with Roosh.Report

            • Avatar veronica d in reply to j r
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              says:

              @j-r — I suspect you don’t know much about Laurie Penny. Plus, your “nerd culture war” cynicism is deeply ahistorical. For example, it was perfectly reasonable for Rebecca Watson (just to pick an example) to talk about creepy dudes on elevators. What transpired was not her fault. It was bizarre. But it certainly was not fake.

              You can probably find folks on the SJ side who are as phony as Milo, perhaps someone over at Buzzfeed or whatevs. There is plenty of cynical clickbait. But Laurie Penny ain’t that.Report

              • Avatar j r in reply to veronica d
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                says:

                I’m sure that Lauri Penny is far and away much more sincere than Milo. The point remains that she works in the same medium. If she speaks on the same panels, argues on the same internet, and attends to the same parties, her earnest intentions don’t change that fact. Just because she is playing the straight man doesn’t mean that she is not part of the act.Report

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to j r
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                says:

                @j-r — What you’re missing is this: a “fake game” is when neither party really has much at stakes, which is different from a “troll job,” when one party has put nothing at stake, but then attacks folks who do.

                If you read the article — well, that’s the point of the article. You cannot accuse Penny of failing to understand the very dynamic she has just pointed out.

                One thing I like about Penny is she really tries to be fair to men. In other words, she tries to humanize all the various parties in the gender shitshow, while still maintaining feminist principles. If you pay attention to my feminism, and compare it to someone like Marcotte, I think you’ll agree I fall into the same group. I also consider someone such as Katherine Cross in this general set, even if both Cross and Penny are far more (economically speaking) “leftists” than I. I am not a socialist. They are. That said, I agree muchly with their cultural analyses.

                If you recall the Scott Aaronson gender dust-up (and if you do not, then good for you; it was a tempest in a teapot) — but anyway, Penny was one of the few notable feminists who read what Aaronson wrote and said, “Hey, this is really misguided, but it also was written by a human being dealing with legitimate pain. Instead of attacking him, let us talk to him,” which she did.

                I admire her a lot.

                Is she in a “fake fight”?

                Well, do we gals have something “at stake” in this? Do we LGBTQ folks? (Penny is, I believe, bisexual.)

                First, you don’t get to decide her values. Specifically, men will play a very small role in setting the values of feminism (broadly defined).

                As I mentioned above, within the broad scope of feminist thought, Penny really stands above the fray as fair-minded, thoughtful, and quite insightful, which is why I like her. She precisely does not get sucked into the “male tears” discourse.

                (If you search her Twitter history, you can find a bit of that stuff. But if you read her articles and books, you’ll see her working her way out of that trap. I also had to work my way out of that trap. I used to make “male tears” jokes. I used to drag “neckbeards.” I stopped doing that when I realized I was getting sucked into a bad dynamic. That said, I did not stop being a feminist with boundless contempt for gamergate.)

                Anyway, Penny is actually pretty fucking brilliant — not that kind of “math smarts” that I have, nor that many weird-nerds have. But there is an important wisdom to be found here: if we think our “mathy” smarts are somehow more valuable than her “social insight” smarts, then we are making an error. (I learned this early in my career. At first I learned it in a business context, such that being the smartest “math nerd” in the room did not mean I was the smartest person in the room regarding the problem at hand. Later I began to apply this insight more broadly in life.)

                Do I have something at stake in the rise of Trumpism? Do women in nerd-space have something at stake in the rise of “elevatorgate” and “gamergate” and that whole constellation of bullshit?

                Fuck yeah we do. Just cuz Milo is a troll and Roosh is — well, “human-shaped vomitous mass” probably fails to describe the repulsiveness of Roosh. But whatever. Anyway, just cuz those guys are trolly-troll-fuckers who are playing a dumb game, that doesn’t mean that the game is not actually hurting people — including many women, but also including many vulnerable “sad nerd” types who get caught up in the maelstrom.

                My point is, Penny is precisely the person who sees the whole shitshow for what it is. She writes about that directly.

                Short version: it is not that the dynamic you describe does not exist. It is that Penny is precisely the wrong target for your criticism.

                You should read her stuff. You’ll disagree with much of it, but I think you’d get a lot of insight.Report

              • Avatar j r in reply to veronica d
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                says:

                @veronica-d

                Exactly, this is fake fighting, because it has no stakes. In real fights, punches are thrown, blood is drawn, teeth get knocked out, bones get broken. If members of two sets of warring bloods and crips end up at the same party, the result isn’t some hot take on medium. Somebody is getting shot.

                There are larger issues that have stakes, but the connection between internet activism and those larger issues is tendentious at best. You say that about Roosh that a “”human-shaped vomitous mass” probably fails to describe the repulsiveness.” Why? Not because he’s actually done harm to anyone, but because he says things on the internet that you don’t like.

                It makes sense that you don’t like Roosh. I find what Roosh has become repulsive. But, it’s a distraction at best. I close my laptop and it goes away. The horrible shit in the real world exists independently of the people fighting about it online. I get that the people fighting about it online think that they are doing tremendous work in advancing their respective causes, but mostly they’re just part of the circuses.Report

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to j r
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                says:

                @j-r — Bullshit. You cannot draw a bright line between online discourse and face-to-face discourse. For example, I have a broad network of social relations that overlap quite freely between online and face-to-face spaces. In fact, many of my face-to-face activities these days end up being organized online. I think this is true for many people. I cannot just shut one off and expect the other to be unaffected. Likewise, sexism affects my real life. Also, “Trumpism” affects my real life, hopefully not much more than it has so far. It will be very nice if we don’t elect this shithead. But he really is running for president. He really is supported by a broad network of abusive fucks. Much of the political organizing around this asshole has happened online.

                Many of my online social spaces overlap between professional networks and personal networks. I don’t ever stop being a software engineer. Now, some spaces are more tech focussed, others less, but there are no bright lines. To “just leave” the Internet would greatly impoverish my professional networking. When online spaces are sexist-as-fuck, that affects me, in very obvious ways. Likewise, when the topic of debate is about social norms that get enacted in the workplace, in schools, at gaming conventions, at night clubs, etc. — these are real conversations about how we behave face-to-face. They obviously affect real life. You’d have to be literally stupid not to see this.

                Online activism is in no way separate from face-to-face activism, precisely as much as journalists or social critics working online are not doing anything much different from journalists or social critics working in print. You can try to draw some line between them, but I don’t see how that makes sense in the modern world.

                Penny, for example, is a professional writer. She gets paid to write. She has books you can buy, articles you can read. You can read them in dead-tree form or electronic form, just like almost every other professional writer alive today. To dismiss this as “online activism” is kind of dumb.

                To ignore the online debate is stupid. Who convinced Evangelical activists in North Carolina to come out against transgender people? How much of that conversation happened online? Likewise, how much of the pushback has happened online, through articles, blog post, social network activity, and so on.

                For some of you on this forum, I am probably the only transgender women you regularly hear from, particularly in a non-trivial, open, honest, and deep way. Is this “activism”?

                To some degree, yeah. However, it does not feel like “activism” to me. I don’t come onto this forum planning to do “activism.” Instead, it feels like me talking about shit important to me. I suspect this feeling is fairly common.

                Regarding a loathsome fuck like Roosh, what can I say. He is manifestly loathsome. If you don’t find him such, then that’s on you. Whatever. Likewise for Milo.

                As an analogy, if someone takes a shit on the subway, I’m not going to be happy about it, but I can’t help but notice. It’s gonna stink. Guys like Roosh make a lot of noise. Other guys listen to them. It makes a stink.

                Are these dipshits important? Well, I mean, they shouldn’t be. However, they have large audiences all the same. They seem to have an effect on the world, by shaping opinion, by shaping the discourse, by tapping into certain uncurrent of anger among a certain kind of men — yeah these fuckers are out there. It seems there are enough of them to capture the Republican presidential nomination. At least, they played a contributing role.

                Just ignore them?

                Fuck that! They speak loud. I get to speak loud also. It ain’t like they exist purely as data in “cyberspace.” They’re real fucking people. I run into them in real life, including at work, at clubs, and so on. For example, I’ve had guys run PUA nonsense on me. It’s nice to be aware of this stuff. I recall talking to a young woman on the subway once. She was complaining about how guys treated her, how they put her down and made her feel ugly. She was not ugly, not even close.

                I explained to her what “negging” was, how it worked, why guys did it. Now she is armed with knowledge.

                Sure, some folks learned about “negging” by reading books. However, these days that shit gets passed around on Internet forums.

                Again, there ain’t no bright line sealing off online and offline life.

                I certainly learned what “negging” was by reading about it online.

                Manosphere shits exist in real life. I was assaulted on the subway by one of these douches. It was no big. He just shoved me out of the way to get a seat, and then muttered stuff about hating women and how men should get the seats. Shit like that. But the thing is, guys say shit like this online. Is he part of those communities? I dunno, but I bet he is. This stuff permeates.

                Here’s an ironic one: I actually witnessed some ANGER-GUY screaming his little MRA-esque head off at (I’m not kidding) Laurie Penny. It was, believe it or not, at an event at Harvard, when she was there on a fellowship.

                I mean, he did nothing besides being loud and menacing and creepy. Whatever. But it was real-life-face-to-face, not just online. The shit he was yelling of course was the same shit that assholes say online. I cannot say for sure, but I’d bet hard money that he reads most of this crap online. Likewise, the tools I have to address shitheads like this guy are stuff I’ve read online.

                One girl learned about “negging” cuz I explained it face-to-face. Many more will learn about it by reading articles written by women.

                This conversation is real. It involves real conflicts with real stakes. If you don’t want to participate, then fine. Be quiet and go away.Report

              • Avatar j r in reply to veronica d
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                says:

                All of that is great, but it doesn’t change one simple fact: if you’re going to parties and having little flirty interactions and writing hot takes about the people you claim to be earnestly fighting, then you’re in a fake fight.

                All the rest is window dressing.Report

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to j r
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                says:

                @j-r — Dude, I don’t know what to tell you. Your “simple fact” is really your “opinion without nuance.”

                Feminism has been around a long time, as has social justice activism in general. As the internet has grown, it has moved online. And indeed, there is much pointless “churn” in online debate. However, there is also much insight. Penny is one of the brights spots, who provides consistently high levels of insight with low levels of nonsense.

                Roosh is a clown. It would be best if everyone ignored him. But everyone doesn’t ignore him, and basing any position on, “It would be great if literally everyone agreed to do this thing and then did it” — well, that would be a painfully naïve way to approach things.

                I wish everyone would ignore Trump. They don’t. In fact, a fuckton of people voted for him.

                Clarisse Thorn, in her book on PUA culture, spends very little time on guys like Roosh. Basically she mentions in the beginning that they exist. She calls them the “Darth Vaders” of PUA. Then she writes {some substantial number} of chapters about guys who-are-not-like-Roosh. It is only near the end, where she includes one brief chapter on Roosh and Heartiste and the remaining craven shitlords.

                I mean, those guys exist. We shouldn’t “feed the trolls,” but they are an interesting case study in human failure, and they exist within the discourse — the same way we cannot talk about social justice and only talk about Laurie Penny. Cuz yeah, Shaley exists also. It’s called perspective. Perhaps you don’t want perspective. I do.

                But that’s the point. The “big dumb game” matters because it really affects our social spaces. Likewise, it affects our political spaces. Which, they actually fucking nominated Trump. You can point out that this whole process is horrible. Indeed. And Laurie Penny is a smart person who stepped into the center of the maelstrom to learn about how horrible it really is.

                That’s called journalism. She’s really fucking good at it. Being a social justice feminist who can score an invite to Milo’s little garden of terrible —

                — well I’ve met the woman. It doesn’t surprise me.

                Again regarding Roosh — he is a dipshit. The only interesting thing about him is he also got invited. The point is, that’s the kind of guy Milo wants in the room. This is the caliber of social discourse we are seeing.

                You might point out the paradox that, to report on this stuff, you have to some degree wade into it. That’s true, I suppose, just as a “wartime journalist” can’t really do their job without getting out near the front lines. So it goes.

                But the thing is, Laurie Penny is very aware of this, as am I, as is anyone with an ounce of sense. She knows the game she is playing. The point is, yeah, a sufficiently sophisticated person can negotiate the paradox and learn much.

                You’re the one who can only see this in the most clumsy, ham-fisted light. That’s on you.

                That said, you should read Clarisse Thorn’s book. A great deal is about how diving into PUA culture affected her own emotional life, her own capacity for relationships, etc. In some ways, that is the most important part of the book. It’s fine to look at the douchey men being douchey. But that’s cheap. The real insight comes from looking at what these ideas do to your heart, her own heart, the hearts of many of the men who were willing to speak frankly to her, about how their romantic and social lives were unfolding.

                It’s a complex story worth knowing. Likewise, the story of how a freak like Milo, who doesn’t game and hates nerds, becomes a leader of “gamergate,” and how he has now transitioned to a minor player in US Republican discourse, despite the fact he’s a flamboyant gay man from the UK — I mean, the guy is wretched, but it is a story, one that reveals stuff about our culture.

                @j-r , usually you have an insightful, curious mind. I think you’ve taken a wrong turn here.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to j r
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                says:

                The old observation is that academic politics are so petty because the stakes are so small. Most of Social Justice and the Alt-Right advocacy occurs on the Internet and not in the real physical world. The passions run fiercely because of that.Report

            • Avatar veronica d in reply to Will Truman
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              says:

              @will-truman — It’s Shanley. She’s an entirely predictable rock-thrower.

              She’s done some good work. “Model View Culture” has published some thoughtful articles. She made that happen. LIkewise, she did get treated pretty badly by sexist techbro men. She had cause to be upset.

              But Shanley is Shanley. From day one she pretty much weaponized everything and everyone and came out swinging. I dunno. In the end I think it has been counterproductive. She is the sort who assigns anyone even slightly less angry than herself the label “liberal.” In other words, she is a perfect illustration of the dysfunction in SJ spaces.

              I’m sure she’d despise me. Whatevs.

              The “tone argument” is complicated. Shanley shows one its failure modes. That said, MLK’s “fierce urgency of now” are words of deep wisdom. Likewise, his impatience with “white moderates” should be understood and respected.

              Wisdom is not found on the lukewarm middle path. But neither is it found on the path of fruitless self destruction.

              Katherine Cross has written much on the “tone argument.” Here is one of her better pieces. You can find more if you click around.

              http://feministing.com/2015/04/23/words-for-cutting-why-we-need-to-stop-abusing-the-tone-argument/Report

              • Avatar Kimmi in reply to veronica d
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                says:

                The fierce urgency of now is at the same time more pressing than in MLK’s time, and a whole lot less.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to veronica d
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                says:

                “Model View Culture”

                Is that a play on Model View Controller? If so, it’s a pretty inept one.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to veronica d
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                says:

                The real problem with Social Justice as it is currently understood is that you have bunch of people that think you can achieve your results with what could be called aggressive truth-telling. That you point out that your opponents and people are evil enough long enough that your opponents will undergo a missionary experience and realize the error of their ways. Often, it seems that many of them just want to be strident rather than achieve actual change. I am unaware of this strategy every working in the entire history of humanity outside brainwashing attempts by totalitarian regimes using the full powers of the modern state.Report

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to LeeEsq
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                says:

                @leeesq — It might surprise you, but we talk about this among ourselves, quite a lot.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to veronica d
                Ignored
                says:

                You might but the evidence from this online is low outside some blogposts.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to LeeEsq
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                says:

                I am unaware of this strategy every working in the entire history of humanity outside brainwashing attempts by totalitarian regimes using the full powers of the modern state.

                You’re looking in the wrong place.

                Look to the story of Exodus, the book of Judges, 1st and 2nd Kings, as well as the book of Jonah.

                Plenty of examples out there.Report

            • Avatar veronica d in reply to Will Truman
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              says:

              @will-truman — Funny story, a friend of mine, a notable feminist writer, just posted this on Facebook [paraphrase]:

              Well, Shanley finally blocked me, because I was defending the Laurie Penny piece.

              Which, heh.

              I posted this:

              Back in the day, I always felt this tremendous *weight*, trying to steer a path through Twitter-space. Like, I had my own rather liberal beliefs, but I also saw the obvious truth of much social justice discourse, but not in the sense that I believed every word, nor applied these principles in the absence of any charity, nor in a way completely rigid and relentlessly enforced.

              But still, I was a trans woman on Twitter. As such, I felt these were *necessary* spaces for me. After all, no one else had my back politically —

              — which to a degree I still believe. I’ll always see *some difference* in trust between myself, other trans women, and then across the divide, our cis allies.

              But our divide from cis allies is not infinite, nor is the trust I place in other trans women.

              At a certain point I accepted that certain “high profile” feminists, particularly trans feminist, would probably attack me, block me, and ostracise me, if I ever stated clearly how I disagreed with them.

              It was too heavy a weight. It was too much cognitive dissonance.

              So I pulled away from that whole community. Soon after, I discovered that many, many, many, many other trans women were exactly as weary of the nonsense as I was. Yeah, privilege is real. Yeah, we need to talk about this stuff. But we also need to FUCKING BREATHE.

              I’m a liberal who basically likes Hillary Clinton, although I respect those who do not. There are reasons to like her. There are reasons not to like her. We all can agree she is light years better than Trump.

              I like Laurie Penny very much. I have for a long time, for very obvious reasons.

              People like Shanley have their knives drawn literally all the time. They’re ready to cut literally all the time, anyone, whoever gets close. It’s bizarre. Who can live like that?

              It’s too large a burden. Set it down. Step away.

              You’re not alone.

              Anyway, this is the sort of stuff that “anti-SJ” folks will attack. And like, I get it. Shanley is a pain in the ass. But all the same, privilege is real. A lot of gendered discourse is messed up, and in ways where men don’t perceive the sexist structures, but women do. (Exactly according to the Douglas Adams thing: a big critter can sit on a little critter and not notice, but the little critter notices.)

              So it goes for race and sexuality and social class and so on. Talking about how this stuff works is important.

              But the conversation itself is happening within this matrix of injustice, so the pretense of “enlightened free discourse” doesn’t work, cuz privileged folks are usually pretty oblivious to how not-enlightened they really are. Furthermore, since the topic of conversation is often their unconscious biases — well how do you think it will play out?

              It seems natural that this all works rather poorly. But whose fault is that?

              Blah.

              Anyway, we’re learning as we go here. But we are learning.Report

    • Avatar Mo in reply to Burt Likko
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      says:

      I also think that were he not as n=big a name as he is, he would have been banned from Twitter a long time ago. If anything, he got a longer leash, rather than a shorter one.Report

  3. Avatar veronica d
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    says:

    The one great think about that article is it linked to this: http://nymag.com/selectall/2016/03/julieanne-smolinski-quitting-twitter.html

    Let me try to explain how I see it. Twitter is like a beloved public park that used to be nice, but now has a rusty jungle gym, dozens of really persistent masturbators, and a nighttime bat problem. Eventually the Parks Department might rip up the jungle gym, and make some noise about fixing the other problems, because that’s what invisible administrators like Twitter staff and municipal recreation departments tend to do. But if the perverts and the bats got to be bad enough with no recourse, you’d probably just eventually stop going.

    Heh. So true. Read the whole thing. I have no idea who Julieanne Smolinski is, but she’s funny.Report

    • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to veronica d
      Ignored
      says:

      We can’t play here, this is bat countryReport

    • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to veronica d
      Ignored
      says:

      This is why we can’t have crappy, stupid, mind-deadening things.Report

      • Avatar veronica d in reply to Mike Schilling
        Ignored
        says:

        @mike-schilling — Twitter was a really helpful environment for me when I was first coming out as trans. I dunno. The platform has a variety of obvious flaws, but I found a social space there that would have been hard to otherwise find.

        It’s hard to describe. I wasn’t looking to find trans friends. However, I found myself increasingly drawn into the “trans circle.” It was there I met folks like Zinnia Jones. It was from them I began to see some new horizons.

        Twitter is a big place with many contours. You’re not being fair.Report

  4. Avatar Pinky
    Ignored
    says:

    Yiannopoulos calls himself a “provocateur”, and he’s right. He makes me miss Andrew Breitbart, though. Andrew Breitbart provoked by creating organizations and staying on-topic; Yiannopoulos does it by amassing an unfocused mob.

    Twitter is the bathroom wall. You can scrawl whatever you want on it, but you have no say over what the next person is going to write below it. A lot of the internet is like that. Jones was foolish to try to empower herself on it.Report

  5. Avatar Roland Dodds
    Ignored
    says:

    I find Milo to be fascinating for the reasons Tod mentioned above. I don’t know when a similar media figure on the right played this bit, and I can’t think of one. His bit can interesting….

    ….but I don’t like to deal with people on a regular basis who say “I am just pushing boundaries to get a rise.” Ok, fine. I can post a picture of a bunch of kittens in a blender to get a reaction, but do I actually want to carry out that act? Am I advocating someone else do it? I don’t have much time or patience for people who will put you through a heated conversation and then say “just kidding” at the end.

    He is also a total asshole. That however, is not why he was banned from Twitter. As @will-truman noted above, it had to do with doctoring someone else’s comments to make it look like they said things they did not.Report

  6. Avatar Damon
    Ignored
    says:

    I think he’s an ass as well, but I love assholes. I love the fact that this tool is getting eyes and it’s being talked about even here. Of course Twitter is private and do what the hell they want. I don’t care about that, other than observing that some folk-make that a lot of folk-don’t seem to understand private/public and what the first amendment applies to. What I do care about is whether or not Twitter actually followed it’s guidelines (and frankly not that much). There’s some indicated that they may have not. If that’s the case, then I think they need to be called out for being a bunch of lying bastards. They may have made the correct decision, but if you’re going to have a process of banning someone, they should should damn well follow it, or just admit that you “process” is “whatever we don’t like regardless of any rules”. And if Twitter wants to come out and say that really is our process, I’m actually good with that too. Do what you say, don’t cloak it in bullshit.

    Can we no go back to talking about how Trump is ruining america?Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Damon
      Ignored
      says:

      He forged tweets. If there’s a more obvious content-neutral rule than “You can’t abuse our platform with forgery”, I’m unaware of it. If anyone forges a comment here, they’ll be banned so fast it’ll make their head spin.
      Report

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