Milo in the Dock

You’ve read the Buzzfeed article. You love Milo, but you have questions. What was he doing in the karaoke bar with Richard Spencer and friends? Why was he so mean to Allum Bokhari? Why was Steve Bannon so mean to him? Why did he write those things in the emails that Buzzfeed published? Is he really friends with Devon Saucier?

You don’t want to believe what the media are saying about him – that he is secretly a white supremacist even though he just married his black husband; that he is a misogynist, racist, xenophobic bigot – because you have read his book and listened to his college talks, and nothing that he has published or said on camera fits with this description. But now that you know that he has had help writing those talks and that Allum was his ghostwriter for Dangerous, you are worried.

Who is Milo? Can we trust him?

Short answer, as emphatically as I can put it without being on camera myself: YES.

Yes, you can trust him.

Yes, I have trusted him from the first moment I started watching his talks just a few weeks ago this past year.

Yes, we can trust him, even if there are further leaks, which you can guarantee there will be because his enemies, our enemies, are NOT GOING TO GIVE UP. You can trust me on this, too.

The first talk I watched was the one that he gave in September 2016 in Lubbock at Texas Tech, and I saw instantly that his vision is bad. Every time he looked at the audience, he had to squint, even with his glasses on. (He explains his condition in part here. Here in June 2016 he tries to try on contact lenses with Pizza Party Ben’s help. He failed.)

After that video, I went back through his archive, beginning with the talk he gave in February 2016 at Rutgers. In the version I saw, the camera stayed focused on him throughout the greater part of his talk. There was an odd moment when the audio carried the sounds of people shouting, but Milo just smiled and looked a bit vague until things settled down. It turns out, as he explained later in one of his podcasts (I’m sorry, I forget which one), that he never saw the women smearing themselves with fake blood. They were too far away.

Watch him in the video that Richard Spencer’s friends made that night in Dallas (it was in the wee hours of April 3, 2016). As Milo is singing, he never looks at the crowd. Indeed, his eyes are for the most part closed, and his gaze never points in the direction of Spencer. He never makes the salute that Spencer and friends do. He waves his hands about expressively, but the only gesture he makes at the end is to point his finger “Number One!” (Listen also to the voices in the background: there were women in the crowd, whom the bartenders who were there that night do not mention. And Milo most certainly never had the same haircut as Spencer. Just saying.)

Why should he have been in the bar in the first place? Even the Buzzfeed article makes this clear: he and Allum had been researching their article for Breitbart (published March 29, 2016) on the different elements of the alt-Right, a term which Spencer claims he invented in 2010. In their article, famously – I say, famously because this is the one part of the article every media outlet quoted over the whole of the summer of 2016 to prove that Breitbart approved of the white nationalist alt-Right* – Milo and Allum included Spencer in a group they called “The Intellectuals” and whom they described collectively as “dangerously bright.” Given that even Rolling Stone seems to have been impressed with Spencer’s academic record (B.A. at University of Virginia, Master of Arts in the Humanities at University of Chicago, admitted to the Ph.D. program at Duke University), Allum and Milo may perhaps be forgiven the description as moderately accurate. (I have my doubts about Spencer, as I have explained. But then I teach at the University of Chicago. I am far more than “dangerously bright.” Just saying.)

In their article Milo and Allum also talk about how surprised they were that these “dangerously bright” white nationalists were willing to talk with them. All “hacker and white nationalist” Andrew Auernheimer (a.k.a. weev) would say to them was: “The tireless attempts of you Jews to smear us decent Nazis is shameful.”** This alone would have been sufficient cause for Milo to refer in his emails to Devon Saucier as his “best friend” and to make promises to him if Saucier would give him and Allum the information they needed for their articles. When you are a journalist, such sources – enemies though they may be – are indeed your “best friends.” As Milo (a Jewish gay) and Allum (a mixed-race Breitbart reporter) noted in their article, you might even attend their “secret dinner parties.”

Milo and Allum also explained why the alt-Right had gained the purchase that it had: because the “establishment conservatives” to whom their article was addressed (thus its title) had done nothing to oppose it. In their words:
The Establishment bears much of the blame. Had they been serious about defending humanism, liberalism and universalism, the rise of the alternative right might have been arrested. All they had to do was argue for common humanity in the face of black and feminist identity politics, for free speech in the face of the regressive Left’s censorship sprees, and for universal values in the face of left-wing moral relativism.
But Establishment Conservatives didn’t. 
Instead, they turned a blind eye to the rise of tribal, indentitarian movements on the Left while mercilessly suppressing any hint of them on the Right. It was this double standard, more than anything else, that gave rise to the alternative right. It’s also responsible, at least in part, for the rise of Donald Trump.
What did I call the conservative establishment when they turned their backs on Milo back in February? Oh, right. It wasn’t ladylike. And you wonder that Milo uses edgy passwords and rejoices when Bannon suggests that there is a way to fight back?

I do not know Devon Saucier, nor was I aware of Milo’s contact with him. I have, however, met numerous members of his team, including some of those mentioned in the Buzzfeed article. I met Mike Mahoney (a.k.a. Mike Ma), Hayden Newton (a.k.a. @sadieisonfire), Will Magner (Milo’s personal trainer), and Matt Perdie (Milo’s cameraman) in December when they brought the Dangerous Faggot bus through Chicago en route to Milwaukee.*** I met Pizza Party Ben along with some of his friends when Milo was here in Chicago in July. And I have spoken at length with Tom Ciccotta (who interviewed me for Breitbart last month when I was being called a white supremacist by my academic colleagues in medieval studies) and Allum Bokhari (who helped me publish my article about Milo at Breitbart, under the title “An Establishment Conservative’s Guide to MILO,” in homage to Allum and Milo’s piece).

It is true. Milo can be bitchy. I can well imagine him saying the things that the Buzzfeed article quoted him saying in his emails. But what you cannot hear in the emails is the way he says these things, nor can you get the proper context, which Buzzfeed most certainly does not want you to have. For example, about Allum. Allum and Milo have been working closely together for some time under fairly stressful circumstances. You tell me if you could write at the volume that Allum does. Right. Now add the fact that you are trying to cover some of the most culturally and politically charged topics of the day on one of the most trafficked sources on the internet. And that any mistakes you make will be the topic of articles across the internet for months, not to mention putting your job at risk. And you thought worrying about your grades was hard. You might feel a little unstable at times, don’t you think? I sure do.

I wrote to Allum the day the Buzzfeed article posted: “HOW ARE YOU? How are all of you and Milo’s team doing? This must have been a truly awful week for all of you.” He wrote back: “Haha yes, I am doing fine! Thank you for checking in. As you'd expect buzzfeed made everything sound worse than it actually was.” That same day, Milo wrote on his Facebook page:
About my colleague, Allum Bokhari: Allum has been a trusted friend and colleague of mine for many years. We have done tremendous work together. He has always been a source of reason, urging caution and balance when we cover sensitive topics, as we have done on many occasion. As you’d expect, the vultures at Buzzfeed news have grossly misrepresented our relationship. He has not on any occasion “spied on me,” nor I on him. We had a brief falling out over the use of a password and credit card information (which I myself provided to him), but as is often the case, this was a result of miscommunication, not malice, and was quickly resolved. 
Despite the fact that we were both in a bad mood at the time (for different reasons), we still managed to produce a brilliant piece of journalism on the alt-right, one which even made Bloomberg’s list of 40 top stories from 2016. The media continues to be obsessed and enraged by this piece, because they can’t tell the difference between analyzing a movement and endorsing it. Allum continues to be one of my most intelligent and capable colleagues, and we continue to trust each other. We wouldn’t still be working together otherwise.
As you know from the Buzzfeed piece, Milo trusted Allum so much as to hire him for $100,000 to ghostwrite Dangerous, hardly the thing you would expect Milo to do if he didn’t trust Allum – and hardly the thing you would expect Allum to accept if he did not want to be working with Milo anymore.

But what does it mean that Allum has written so much for MILO? Only this: that Milo is not just an author, but MILO, much as Rubens the painter was not just Sir Peter Paul Rubens (d. 1640), but a whole studio of painters producing artwork under the supervision of the Master. Yes, Steve Bannon hired Milo as a writer, but he also hired him – as, again, the Buzzfeed article makes abundantly clear – as a face. Milo has a beautiful face. He also has an extraordinary speaking ability, which makes him even more valuable as, quite literally, a spokesman for the argument that Bannon, Allum, and he want to get across.

What is their argument? That America is the greatest country in the history of human civilization, not because it is “white” (it never has been), but because it is founded on particular values: freedom of speech, freedom of religion, capitalism, property rights, and what we used to call liberalism. The same values that Establishment Conservatives purport to believe in, but consistently, persistently, pusillanimously refuse to support (what was it I called them?), preferring instead to cede more and more of our liberties to the Left rather than risk their own careers.

Do you wonder that so many of us have been writing to Milo over the past year (as evidenced by the Buzzfeed article) THANKING him?
Aggrieved by the encroachment of so-called cultural Marxism into American public life, and egged on by an endless stream of stories on Fox News about safe spaces and racially charged campus confrontations, a diverse group of Americans took to Yiannopoulos’s inbox to thank him and to confess their fears about the future of the country. 
He heard from ancient veterans who “binge-watched” his speeches on YouTube; from “a 58 year old asian woman” concerned about her high school daughter’s progressive teachers; from boys asking how to win classroom arguments against feminists; from a former NASA employee who said he had been “laid off by my fat female boss” and was sad that the Jet Propulsion Lab had become “completely cucked”; from a man who had bought his 11-year-old son an AR-15 and named it “Milo”; from an Indiana lesbian who said she “despised liberals” and begged Yiannopoulos to “keep triggering the special snowflakes”; from a doctoral student in philosophy who said he had been threatened with dismissal from his program for sharing his low opinion of Islam; from a Charlotte police officer thanking Yiannopoulos for his “common sense Facebook posts” about the shooting of Keith Lamont Scott (“BLUE LIVES MATTER,” Yiannopoulos responded); from a New Jersey school teacher who feared his students would become “pawns for the left social justice campaign”; from a man who said he had returned from a deployment in “an Islamic country” to discover that his wife was transitioning and wanted a divorce (subject line “Regressivism stole my wife”); from a father terrified his daughter might attend Smith College; from fans who wanted to give him jokes to use about fat people, about gay people, about Muslims, about Hillary Clinton.
And you wonder why Buzzfeed was so eager to launch its attack? Milo is dangerous. Not because he makes jokes that you would not make about blacks (whom he loves, particularly John) or Jews (because he has a tense relationship with his mother, who is of Jewish descent) or women (because he is gay and handsome and young and bitchy) or other young men (ditto). But because he tells the truth about our country and our tradition and the importance of standing up for Western civilization when no one else will.

Expect more attacks. Expect them to get more and more and more vicious. And remember with every attack what you heard Milo say in his talks. Over and over and over again. “Laughter and war.”
So let us fight, but let our motto be Risus et bellum, Laughter and war. Because nothing stings our foes, foreign and domestic, more than our hearty laughter at their lies and nonsense. And also because nothing will better remind us what we’re fighting for than the laughter of Chesterton, of Chaucer and of Shakespeare, and of course the God who inspired them all.
Laughter and war. The Left hates being made ridiculous because the Left is totalitarian, and totalitarians hate laughter. But it is not just the Left. The establishment Right hates Milo just as much as the Left because he makes them ridiculous, too. And both hate us – Milo’s supporters – because, thanks to Milo, we have learned to laugh at them. And for that they will never forgive us because laughter shows what they really are. NOTHING.

*Also, contrary to Buzzfeed’s claim that Milo wrote “stories [plural] that minimized the role of neo-Nazis and white nationalists while giving its politer voices ‘a fair hearing’ [link in Buzzfeed article to a piece in the Hollywood Reporter],” this was the only one. ONE. The other articles referenced in the Buzzfeed article had nothing to do with neo-Nazis and white nationalists, just Trump supporters and Brexit.

**For weev’s reflections on the Buzzfeed article, go here. In his words:
Hundreds of journalists have sought me for advice or comment. Milo has never paid me or given me a byline... I have been far friendlier with some notable liberal journalists. Many of them have helped me out immensely. Nevertheless, this is bad for Milo, as it will bring pressure onto his funding sources, and for that I rejoice if for simply to see suffering and ruin brought to a perfidious sodomite. 
Nor did weev agree to appear on Milo’s podcast. It would be interesting to read weev’s correspondence with the liberal journalists who have sought to interview him.

***It was very romantic! Milo’s driver—a.k.a. Hayden—was worried about getting stuck in the snow that hit Chicago that afternoon, so instead of meeting at Trump Tower as we had planned, I drove all the way out into the suburbs. Milo met me at a Weber’s Grill! And bought me wine and made me eat cheesecake. After which, I was in no condition to drive back home (40 miles in the still-worsening snow—I may have lived in Chicago for almost 25 years, but even I was worried by that time), so Milo offered to let me stay overnight with him on the second bed in his hotel room. He took me to the Dangerous Faggot bus and introduced me to Hayden and Mike Ma, who then spent the next hour trying to convince me that Milo wasn’t gay. They failed! I drove home the next morning after the snow had stopped.

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