I never knew what to make of the whole excitement over Milo. He always seemed, well, boring. I guess it’s because after almost four decades on the planet, I’ve seen his act before — Andrew Dice Clay, Howard Stern, Opie and Anthony, hell, even Gore Vidal. All edgy edgelords edging towards the edge of edgy edginess. It’s a tired shtick, which has always made me wonder how the hell he ended up getting so much attention in the first place. He always struck me as sort of a bigotry-based cover band, and a bad one at that. The old saying "Those who can’t do, teach" should have a counterpart that goes "Those without talent, shock." Before I get into the meat of this essay. though, I just have to get one comment out of the way — frosted tips in 2017? Really?
Back to the main point. Milo is a guy who was born with the boring last name of Hanrahan and changed it to an unpronounceable Yiannopoulos, which is just as much of a pain to spell as it is to say. Of course this was just to try to get a one-name persona going in the vein of Stalin, Mussolini, or Mao, he was probably going for more of a Cher vibe though. He even created a logo for it that looks like it just ripped off the Rock Band font, which itself is a self-parody of bad '80s metal band logos. The image is meant to conjure up the Aquanet-powered masculinity of a man with big hair and a pink fishnet shirt, which is of course nonexistent, just like Milo’s edginess.
As I said previously, anyone who tries to tell you that they’re edgy, or, in Milo’s case "a dangerous faggot," is without a doubt not. His whole thing has been to say things that are deliberately offensive and then mock his way out when cornered. I figure the only way this ever made him stand out from the millions of other insufferable people was that he decided to market it. In the past, these Walmart-brand Oscar Wildes were content to snark from behind the straws of their cocktails about how bad drag queens were. Milo figured out he could make money off of it by making fun of not just people’s weight but their race, gender, and sexuality, and then packaging it as being the racist "cool gay friend" for a bunch of racists. If you look at what Milo has said, though, it’s boring and unoriginal. His first major foray into fame was rewriting forum posts about Gamergate into a form that passed as something better than meme-heavy ramblings. Milo’s claims that writer Shaun King is actually white weren’t originally his. Milo’s attempt to do performance art was to sit in a tub of pig’s blood. Hear that sound? That’s the sound of performance artists groaning at how lame that is. Even Milo’s self-loathing anti-Semitism was so blatantly transparent the neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer called him out on being unoriginal and a hack.
Roll that around on your palate for a few minutes and savor the complexity of the flavors. Actual neo-Nazis think Milo is an unoriginal hack when it comes to bigotry.
This should be the part where I go into Milo’s history of harassment and doxxing, especially with Leslie Jones and Ghostbusters, but I want to show you something beautiful. You see, back in 2012, Milo wrote an article for The Daily Dot actually condemning trolling and bullying. No, really, he did that. What moves it into jumping-the-shark territory is the opening paragraph:
“Glibness and superficial charm. Manipulation of others. A grandiose sense of self. Pathological lying. A lack of remorse, shame or guilt. Shallow emotions. An incapacity to feel genuine love. A need for stimulation. Frequent verbal outbursts. Poor behavioural controls. These are just some of the things that social media are encouraging in all of us.”
If you tried to introduce a plot twist like that to an editor, they would throw you out of their office and ban you from the building.
That’s ultimately why I could never be that shocked and surprised by Milo. He was always just in it for the fame and the money. So much so that he created a fundraiser to send white men to college, raised a quarter of a million dollars and paid out, you guessed it, nothing. Milo was always the basic bitch of bigotry and not even a good one at that. His comments were always meant to incite people by pressing the right buttons on people who had suffered past trauma or cared so deeply about something they would jump at any attack. He manipulated people using what I’m told is supposed to be good looks and charm and chumming the waters of people's hatred and biases. He really was an internet troll come to life. Why am I referring to him the past tense, though? Well, because he’s over; Icarus flew too close to the sun.
After he got invited to the Conservative Political Action Conference, which is sort of a conservative white people’s pep-rally/debutante ball, Milo’s interview where he defended not only pedophilia but priests abusing boys (he has said the person who abused him was a priest) hit the mainstream and it was over. Milo’s book deal was canceled before the books could end up in the discount bin at Barnes & Noble; the place where you can find all of Sarah Palin’s body of work. He was disinvited from CPAC and just fired from his job at Breitbart, a website so awful it has a "black crime" section. Of course he says he’s going to start a new media venture, but so what? It won’t be YouTube, which just gutted PewDiePie for being anti-Semitic. He can’t make money off his Facebook, and hell, I have a website. He could beg for donations on Patreon, but it’s not like he draws hentai for cash, and there’s plenty of free bigotry out there.
Nope, Milo is over. Like all hacks, mediocrities, and shlock-shock artists, they fade away. When was the last time Marilyn Manson was shocking? Andrew Dice Clay is doing reality competition shows. Milo is going to be one of those nostalgia items only the dedicated still care about or remember. He really hasn’t provided any legacy of work that’s unique; he’s unremarkable in his bigotry compared to his peers, and he’s now cast out into the digital wilderness without a platform and a monetization scheme. The only time he’s going to show up on a college campus again is when someone is turning in an undergraduate sociology paper that cites him. Milo will fade away, the Milli Vanilli of the alt-right. The next time we will probably hear from him again is when he’s been arrested in a truck stop parking lot for trading sex for drugs or 750-word hot takes on PC culture.
AMANDA KERRI is a writer and comedian based in Oklahoma City. Follow her on Twitter @EternalKerri.