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Milo in Australia: Yiannopoulous, Free Speech and Violence

To what limit protest? Naturally, this was exactly what colourful agitator and former senior editor for Breitbart News Milo Yiannopolous wanted: outrage, insensible anger, and heady adoration. Without any of these, he would vanish, a figure charged on a narcissism that would otherwise vanquish him. Left alone, and the shallowness would be overwhelming.

His visit to Australia triggered the usual fanfare over the credentials of controversy. Australian authorities tend to prefer their visitors to be of a milder sort, but Milo has touched a vein. He has shown himself, rather artificially, to be radical, contrarian, different. He is Right wing impulse made chic; prejudice made glamorous.  

Milo has also managed to marry a few curious themes that grate with the traditional left: he is flamboyant, gay and totally uninhibited, even if all of these seem forced. He, in fact, inhabits a confused being, a soul that sells anger while also charming establishment outlets. By his own admission, he can change, evolve, adapt.

Michael Brull, writing for New Matilda, remarks pertinently that Yiannopoulous has been given expansive exposure on media outlets across Australia, more out of curiosity than anything else. The Murdoch Press, through The Australian, has offered him opinion space to tease and vent; Channel 7 has fawned and praised; and the Kyle and Jackie O show floated with his waves.

His Melbourne show itself resonated with customary fleshiness and garish distraction. Models were in ready supply, given the sponsorship provided by Penthouse. Preliminary photo shoots involved a gathering of up to 100 supporters. Then came the smoke, lights and music, the projected messiah, champagne glass in hand, gracing the stage. Other performances also supplied a private dinner option, if you dared.

The performances have wooed those present.  Reservations evaporate. This is the impression from a far from critical Luke Kinsella: “Milo is so unyielding, captivating and charismatic; it’s easy to understand why a cult of followers has developed around him. He uses humour to make his point, and humiliate his opponents.”

Brull’s uses a comparison that gives pause for thought. Gideon Levy, a progressive Israeli scribe not keen to play to the halls of lukewarm acceptance, is also on tour in Australia. He has garnered a relatively poor harvest in fielding reviews and interviews, including an aggressive session on Lateline. “Certainly, no-one invited him on commercial television.” Those “rare occasions” which see leftists appear on television require the sort of balance that sees them drowned “out with conventional wisdom.”

The Melbourne event on Monday duly became rowdy, a process that made the police work for their brief. Hundreds from the Campaign Against Racism and Fascism squared off against the True Blue Crew. Two arrests, one from each side, were duly made.

A battle of accounts began to circulate: who agitated whom?  Avi Yemini, a self-proclaimed “Ozraeli” and former Israeli soldier, insisted that there was “a small group of pro-Milo supporters. People who are standing up for freedom of speech. People who are proudly announcing that they are Aussies. You don’t have to agree with all their different schtick.”

Yemini describes a scene of aggressive chaos, a kaleidoscope of “Muslim women in burkas”, “Antifa with their face coverings”, the enthusiastic sporting of middle fingers with calls of being a Nazi. There were flashbacks: “I felt like I was in the Middle East on the Gaza Strip again where they were throwing rocks at the police.”

Forces of occupation are hardly going to engender support, though Yemini’s sentiment does point to the unnecessary attention given to Yiannopoulous. That he has generated that much incendiary interest from so-called members of progressive groups suggest the unfortunate mirroring of tribal anger, the great trap of incarnating an image he attacks.  

If the streets are supposedly awash with the prospect of Islamic terror, best not try to please Milo by donning Islamic outfits and throwing rocks at police and rival supporters. This is music to the reactionary Yiannopolous machine showing, to a certain degree, Australia’s troubled relationship with the rigorous engagement of free speech.  

The political and sometimes legal response has tended to be the executive action of immaturity.  Even Milo is onto this, suggesting that the country, suffering “a deeper malaise in the state” has “a serious problem with free speech.”   

Yiannopolous promoter Damien Costas puts on a face that barely conceals the glee generated by the promise of violence. It is meant to be affirming: the left populated by blood thirsty loons keen to shut off avenues for discussion on the right. “There have been many death threats targeted at Milo, myself and others in the team.”

The politics of Milo is the politics of anger speared with humour (not always of the ha-ha variety), but even more than that it entails the show of a pantomime driven poseur. He draws his detractors in, and mocks them for slipping up. It is school boy debating tempered by occasional evidence marked by a fashion statement.  

The most pronounced effort at erasing influence would be to ignore him, allowing the fruit, in time, to fall into ecological oblivion. Much suggests that this will not happen – neither forces of the political spectrum will permit that to happen. Instead, the Milo show saw the need for a police presence at his Melbourne event to the tune of $50,000. The cost, perhaps, of aggressive free speech, whatever the substance.  


11 comments

  1. corvus boreus

    I’m just wondering why ‘conservative’ media outlets have chosen to give such a prominent podium to someone who has publicly endorsed acts of predatory pedophilia.
    Was Milos’ visit co-sponsored by NAMBLA?

    Ps I think the black & red balaclava brigade were strategically stupid for giving oxygen and exposure to such a blatant ‘agent provocateur’ (ie attention whoring troll), but then, antifa always have been a naive and over-reactive pack of militant morons.

  2. Ross Cameron

    With our shallow society, and media leading the charge, expect the latest novelty to be fawned over. The good news is that the next event/person/trope is building up and will soon displace the present.

  3. corvus boreus

    I can’t help but shake my head that elements in the local ‘conservative’ media have sunk to such benthic depths in their quest to cause social division that they have chosen to give a prominent and sympathetic podium to someone who was sacked from Breitbart ‘news’ for endorsing predatory pedophilia.

    Mind you, the black-balaclava activists were strategically stupid in giving free limelight and oxygen to such an obvious ‘agent provocateur’ (aka attention whoring troll), but then again, Antifa have always been a bunch of tactically naive and militantly over-reactive phuq-knuckles.

  4. Joseph Carli

    God almighty..have any of you seen a more poncy show-pony in your life!…what a wanker!

  5. etnorb

    Agree Joseph! Why is this idiot given ANY “airtime” here? Oh I know, because the right wing press & radio commentators etc just love to get even more digs & “goes” at the political Left!

  6. jimhaz

    A year ago I listened to half a dozen Milo Youtube clips and found I liked him. He is a slut – but an honest one on the PC issue (but not the Trump problem). It is his brutality towards the very far left that I appreciate. I had zero problems in him coming to Australia.

  7. JohnI

    Yapsalotatus is a troll, pure and simple. His act is just a money-making, bias-confirming scam. And some people are prepared to pay up to $300 per head to be told what they want to hear. That’s “ageing rock stars on possibly their last go-round” money!

    The weird thing is: he’s completely up-front about it. His speaking engagements in this country go under the title “The Troll Academy Tour”. Yet people carry on as though he actually means what he says.

    The reason he has shown up here is because in the US, where the big money is, people have woken up to him. He’s not the ‘draw’ there that he used to be.

    But, out here in the grass-stalk-chewing colonies, there’s still money to be made. Even Victoria Police are angling for a slice of the action:
    http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/milo-yiannopoulos-tour-organiser-wont-pay-50k-victoria-police-bill-after-violent-protests-20171207-h00fvr.html

  8. jimhaz

    [Yapsalotatus is a troll, pure and simple]

    and so is Van Badham and Ford…and other thought police.

  9. JohnI

    From the little of her I’ve read – the occasional retweet from people I follow on Twitter, I don’t follow her myself – Badham is an ALP diehard to the extent that it affects her objectivity. That makes her a commentator rather than a journalist in my book.

    Ford I manage to avoid most of the time, so I don’t really know what she’s on about. But, likewise, she’s a commentator.

    Commentators are a dime a dozen. I, for one, would rather spend my precious time reading actual journalism.

    But – thought police? As I say, Badham, Ford and their ilk are pretty easy to avoid – even for a regular Graudian and Fairfax reader like me.

    As opposed to Nesquik… The local media – MSM, blogosphere, etc – have given him such ridiculous amounts of coverage that he couldn’t be avoided. You’d almost assume he’s fair dinkum…

  10. corvus boreus

    Johnl,
    About that.here too.

    Clem Ford seems to be set on gender issues, and routinely makes nasty generalizations regarding us wee-standings, but I gather it’s not hate-speech and more like junk-talk. Frowned, shrugged, shifted focus elsewhere.
    Van Badham, similar but a bit less so. .

    Milo, a pearl necklaced darling of the online alt-right crowd, seems like a flipside variant of a similar ilk.
    YewChoob used to plug him off the back of his role in Breitbart ‘news’, but dropped him when he endorsed man-boy pedophilia.
    I’m not really interested in what else he has to say. .

    As you said, there is more value in sourcing credible information than absorbing extremist opinions.

  11. JohnI

    Flagellating the proverbial deceased equine here, but I found this earlier:
    http://www.canberratimes.com.au/lifestyle/celebrity/private-sydney/milos-wardrobe-more-entertaining-than-tired-racist-barbs-20171205-gzyvcw.html

    Nesquik was paid $250,000 for his Australian tour. That’s for seven appearances over eight days. Nice work if you can get it!

    And there’s no truth whatsoever in the rumour that he was using this song from Spinal Tap precursor band The Thamesmen as his walk-on music: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I-BYzaDwNoE

    Obviously there’s money to be made in this right-wing squawkathon caper, so I’m starting a GoFundMe campaign. I promise to produce a stinging critique of progressive politics and causes every day until Yapsalotatus is the President Of The World, for a mere $5 per donor. For an extra $1, you can have it in UPPERCASE.

    FEMINIST LEFTYS ARE UNFUCKABLEBLOODYBUGGERPOOPYBUMS!!1!! There; that has to be worth at least $100.

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