Milo, the Heathers, and the New Sheriff in Town

Back at the end of January, Jordan Peterson, Ben Shapiro, and Dave Rubin got together on Dave’s Rubin Report to talk about how popular they all were.

Okay, that’s not the title of the episode. It is “Frontline of Free Speech.” And, to be fair, it has had almost 3.4 million views to date. So you could justifiably say that our three free speech heroes have every right to be a bit...ahem...proud of themselves.

Except. After spending a good hour and half congratulating themselves for being on the frontline of free speech, they started taking questions from the Super Chat audience.

Here was one of the first ones that Dave read (at 1:33.20): “Quick one for Ben. I think we’ve already hit this, but any chance of a future discussion with Milo?”

Ben’s response was utterly predictable for those who know how ritualized this question has become:
No. Waste of time [reaches for his water glass]. I’d rather talk with people who have something say.
Jordan’s response was somewhat more interesting. He looked at Dave while Dave was reading the question, then turned to look at Ben to hear Ben’s answer. As Ben spoke, Jordan nodded by lifting his chin.

February 27, 2017

And then Dave moved onto the next question.

Hardly the explosive response one might expect if one were looking for tells.

Except this is what Jordan said a year ago last February, only days after Milo’s shaming, when asked about the role that provocateurs play in the battle for freedom of speech:
Milo’s a classic example. He’s an amazing person.... He’s a trickster figure, archetypally speaking... He’s a provocateur and a comedian... The funny thing about comedians. They’re like jesters in a king’s court. The jester was the only person who could tell the truth because he was beneath contempt....   
Trickster figures emerge in times of crisis, and they point out what no one wants to see, and they say things that no one will say. 
You can say all the terrible things about him. He’s a provocateur, he’s an egomaniac.... I don’t think he’s narcissistic because he has some real capacity for self-reflection.... And he’s brave as can be.... And he’s unstoppable on his feet. He just amazes me. I’ve never seen anyone I don’t think—and I’ve met some pretty smart people—I’ve never seen anyone who can take on an onslaught of criticism and reverse it like he can.
Funny, don’t you think? How Jordan could admire Milo so much immediately after the Reagan Battalion released their video...and then less than a year later do nothing but nod when Ben implied that Milo has nothing to say?

Things got even cosier with our three heroes when Ben had first Jordan, then Dave on his new Sunday show in May.

Somehow, yet again, Milo’s name kept coming up.

“If I’m not an alt-right fascist like Hitler—or Milo Yiannopoulos—that’s how I was characterized in Canada, because the radical Leftists can’t even get their bloody insults straight. [They say,] ‘He’s like Hitler—or Milo Yiannopoulos.’ Because there’s no difference between them,” Jordan exclaimed, shaking his head at the idiocy of the Left. “It’s just another attempt to pillory, as far as I can tell. I think it’s dreadful, it really is.”

And yet, no word about how unfair it is to Milo to be lumped with Hitler.

“We’re all rising together,” Dave enthused when Ben jokingly credited him for “inventing” the YouTube interview format. “I love the idea that Shapiro is doing a show and more of these guys are connecting.”

Having thus established their camaraderie, Dave and Ben then talked about how they belong to a group of other provocative thinkers who relish the conversation but do not go out of their way to attack people—unlike the Left.

“Look, people were upset when I had Milo on,” Dave remarked. “I do not regret having Milo on.”

Ben: “He was a big personality at the time.”

Dave: “Yes, he was a cultural phenomenon, for good or bad. And look, where is Milo now? You know, pretty much irrelevant.”

Ben: “Out in the wash, yeah.”

Dave: “But I have no regrets for anything that I did with him.... We had two gay people who had really different takes on things, really going into some issues that don’t get discussed that often.”

Things that don’t get discussed that often? Like, say, what it is like sitting around talking about how popular you are and enjoying the fact that someone who used to be popular isn’t any more (or so you hope)?

I wrote last summer about how much I admired Jordan for what he had said about the Logos and Milo’s role as Trickster. I spent a good six months or so listening to both his lecture courses and stuck with him all the way through the summer as he was working through the Biblical stories. I never expected him not to stand up for Milo after what he had said in February 2017.

And there he was in January 2018, nodding when Ben suggested that Milo had nothing to say.

I tweeted at him and Dave and Ben in May. More to the point: I learned how to tweet in order to tweet at him and Dave and Ben in May in order to call them out.

No response.

So I pushed a little harder.

Oh, yes, I am a Heathers (1988) fan. I watched it obsessively in graduate school, knowing that I was destined to be Veronica.

I had the requisite crush on Christian Slater—he had, after all, also been in The Name of the Rose (1986), one of the two or three best movies ever about the Song of Songs. (Oh, you missed that bit? Watch the scene in the kitchen.)

But also because I knew what it was like to be the bookish one in middle school desperate for the attention of the Heathers.*

The Heathers and Veronica
I even like playing croquet.

But I hate bullies. And I hate those who use their popularity to ostracize other people even more.

Did you ever wonder why Winona Ryder’s character is called “Veronica”? Because she is the true icon of Christ, the one who stands up to the bullies who are destroying the society of the school with their status games. The scribes and the Pharisees who want to control who gets to see the face of God.

Sure, Milo gets a bit salty with his insults sometimes. But have you noticed what he has not done this entire year as Antifa and the Reagan Battalion and Buzzfeed and even his former colleagues at Breitbart have come after him either directly (Buzzfeed) or indirectly (Breitbart) over and over and over again?

Said anything against those who used to be his friends.

Only of late has he started calling out Ben on his Instagram, but then he and Ben go way back—as Ben himself acknowledges. I have yet to hear Milo say a word about Dave, and he said just the other evening on his podcast how he likes Jordan, even if he finds Jordan’s 12 Rules difficult to read.

Meanwhile, the Heathers sit around congratulating themselves on their skill at croquet.

*I know the movie is set in high school, but the Heathers I knew were in middle school. I was too busy studying in high school to know who the Heathers were.

See The MILO Chronicles and The Lady and the Logos for the ongoing saga of the fool, his ursine jongleur, Professor Peterson, and Lady Wisdom.

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