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We Have Another Example Of Liberal Fascism For Bari Weiss, It Is These Ghosts Haunting Milo Yiannopoulos?
More like 'Meh-Lo'
As Bari Weiss's New York Times column today reminds us, those violent, free-speech-hating leftists sure are suppressing a lot of free speech these days, even after the Times's editors had to remove two examples of "leftist fascism" that turned out to be nothing more than troll accounts on Twitter. While Yr Wonkette doesn't doubt that some college kids do get a tad self-righteous about calling people they disagree with "fascists," we tend to attribute that to the inescapable fact that there are few people more convinced of their absolute rightness than college freshmen, and it was ever thus.
More to the point, Weiss seems a little too ready to play to the "colleges hate free speech" trope that's been with us since at least the '80s, when some conservatives found out just how much money there was to be made pointing in horror at the excesses of "political correctness." PC culture even then was portrayed as pervasive, at risk of shutting down open discourse on college campuses. Thirty years later, the PC police still haven't arrived, although some rightwingers have certainly made a good living off provoking outrage and hoping some Antifa goons will show up to counter whatever "free speech" mob has been ginned up by the right. And if the Antifa goons don't show up, sometimes it's just useful to invent them, like when Milo Yiannopoulos scheduled and then cancelled a great big "free speech week" event at Berkeley that he apparently had no intention of actually holding -- a lot of the big rightwing names on the roster didn't even know they'd been listed. But when Milo cancelled it, citing threats from the violent left, he sure got a lot of sympathy from hoodwinked supporters. Every indication now is that Milo and the local group he'd coordinated with had simply delayed filing for the proper permits, then wailed they had been oppressed.
Funny thing! A week ago, Yiannopoulos pulled the same trick again in Scottsdale, Arizona, although it was for a smaller event. SPLC reports Milo had scheduled an appearance called "A Night With Milo," which for some reason wasn't enough to repel all comers, for last Friday. For the sake of "security," organizers said they wouldn't reveal the actual venue until the day of the speech. Even so, they managed to sell tickets for up to $129 a pop.
Wow! A threat so specific that it had to come from a spy who'd sussed out the secret location, and so dangerous that the Scottsdale Police forbade the show from going on! Damn you Antifa super soldiers! The cancellation made the usual reliable news sources like Infowars, Twitter, and Reddit. But then those spoilsports at the Scottsdale Police told a local radio station that not only had they not heard of any threat or forced Milo to cancel, they actually had only heard of the event Thursday. By the time they called the Scottsdale venue (cleverly named "The Venue Scottsdale") to get more information, the event had been cancelled.
While angry Milo fans tried to figure out who needed to be executed or at least beaten up for threatening their idol, Milo got busy blaming anyone handy. Like maybe the radio station that reported he'd cancelled the event:
“Look at these scumbags,” he wrote on Instagram. “I didn’t cancel the event. THE POLICE DID.”
“These people are in total cahoots with the violent thugs who threaten promoters and events and get our stuff shut down,” he wrote. “The media, universities and Antifa work in harmony with one another. Foul.”
Then Milo blamed the venue, The Venue, which he accused of lying to him about the threats, The Threats, not to mention the echolalia, The Echolalia. He also posted what he said was The Venue's phone number, presumably so his fans could complain, but as SPLC notes, it "had one too many digits to be a workable phone number."
Yiannopoulos eventually apologized to the police for his earlier "public inaccuracies" and vowed to sue whoever was responsible for "this malicious deception."
We just hope he has a really good lawyer and deep pockets. Because you just know these invisible leftists are going to continue their attacks, and Milo will continue to cancel because of them at least until his fans realize that "gullible" isn't in the dictionary. And we'll keep hearing about the "intolerant left," too, both in the Wingnuttosphere and occasionally in the respectable press. "Gosh, maybe we should take this D'Souza fellow seriously," said too many people after his first dumb book, Illiberal Education, although by 1991 most recognized it as just a bargain bin ripoff of the granddaddy of them all, Alan Bloom's 1987 education-panic bestseller The Closing of the American Mind. (Happily, after that, D'Souza did us all the favor of making himself impossible to take seriously at all.)
What's frustrating about all this is that it's the same damn argument we've been having for 30 years, and mostly what it's bought us is lots of liberals tut-tutting about allowing everyone a voice and a lot of rightwingers continuing to cry about being oppressed. Yet somehow, universities and free speech continue to muddle along. If you have any ideas for clever ways to stop it being a business model, let us know.
Oh, look, there we go calling for suppression of free-speech panic. Shame on us.