Milo Yiannopoulos is a snide, racist piece of shit who benefits from the lowered expectations typically afforded to even the most mediocre white man. He has been referred to as a “beast” who “obliterates” political correctness, as if PC culture—even at its peak—ever stopped a hate-mongering white dude with daddy issues from spouting out his prejudice-peppered acidity to sizable applause.
Those who find him impressive are as small-minded and useless as he is. Those who assist him in boosting his profile and, subsequently, his brand of white supremacy are nothing more than accomplices, not to mention assholes.
Yet, whenever Yiannopoulos is extended an invitation to present himself and his worldview on a platform he doesn’t belong on, the responsible parties abstain from accepting culpability. Instead, they play the role of victim or, in some cases, feign moral and intellectual superiority. You see, in their mind, inviting a bigot along isn’t the problem. No, no, the problem is with anyone who doesn’t see the purpose in offering a place for someone so stubbornly dedicated to their linear view of the world.
Bill Maher is the latest example of this, though for someone who often fancies himself as the reasonable and most thoughtful one, he is singing the same boring, intellectually disingenuous song all others before him have sung.
After Yiannopoulos was booked to appear on the most recent edition of Real Time With Bill Maher, one of the other guests, Jeremy Scahill, dropped out of the show in protest. In a post detailing his reasoning, Scahill wrote that Yiannopoulos “has ample venues to spew his hateful diatribes” and noted that “there is no value in ‘debating’ him.”
Maher came with the trite “whiny liberal” narrative in response. In a statement, he wrote:
My comments on Islam have never veered into vitriol. Liberals will continue to lose elections as long as they follow the example of people like Mr. Scahill whose views veer into fantasy and away from bedrock liberal principles like equality of women, respect for minorities, separation of religion and state, and free speech. If Mr. Yiannopoulos is indeed the monster Scahill claims—and he might be—nothing could serve the liberal cause better than having him exposed on Friday night.
The only person veering into sweet-sweet fantasy in this instance was Maher.
Maher is the same person who took issue with former President Barack Obama for not using the phrase “radical Islamic terrorism.” Maher also took issue with Obama for arguing that ISIS and Islam have very little in common, claiming that much of Islam “has too much in common with ISIS.” Maher has dismissed the notion that Muslims and those of other faiths may have some common values as “bullshit.” Maher also tried to tie sexual assaults in Cologne, Germany, to Islam and refugees.
Then there was the time he “joked” about Zayn Malik, former member of One Direction and man with a perfect face, for being a terrorist.
And then there was the time he responded by condescendingly explaining humor—similar to how he explained his booking of Yiannopoulos. No one needs Maher to explain the bigotry bubbling under his commentary and jokes. Likewise, liberals really don’t need tips on winning from someone who would present this kind of character to HBO viewership. Yiannopoulos is not new by any stretch of the imagination. He is nothing more than a contemporary spin on the classic Americana that is white supremacy.
Calling yourself a “dangerous faggot” while knowing how to make use of social media doesn’t make you new, interesting, or worthy of debate and discussion. When it comes to the notion of “exposing him,” that, too, is a fool’s errand. Expose him for what, exactly? The man has been exposing himself this entire time. That is his entire shtick, so the key is not to “expose it” so much as ignore it.
People like Yiannopoulos will never go away; nor can they be convinced with reason. Reason is not their aim; fame is. This is exactly why many of us took issue with the likes of Trevor Noah and Charlamagne Tha God giving Tomi Lahren the time of day. Lahren was recently on Real Time, too, which just goes to show that Maher’s real aim is to generate ratings by any means necessary. Fine, do that, but don’t posit attention-whoring as helping to advance liberal principles.
This certainly won’t win any elections, either. If anything, what needs to happen is that white people need to stop and think about what “Make America great again” signified and examine what to do about those in their lives who supported a racist, sexist, xenophobic, blithering idiot. That sort of reflection would go a whole lot further than giving the next generation of #MAGA a chance to shine.
Funny enough, Bill Maher and Milo Yiannopoulos have a few things in common. They’re both especially impressed with themselves. They both love saying outlandish things to score attention. They both think that putting their mouths on black genitalia absolves them from anti-blackness and racist comments.
That said, despite my ultimate feeling that Yiannopoulos can fall dick-first into the abyss, at the very least, he owns the awful things he says. Maher wants to pretend otherwise. If you’re going to have a show called Real Time, shouldn’t you be better about owning your shit?