A few weeks ago, a young woman working as a fact-checker for The New Yorker happened upon a photograph which she described on Twitter as containing actual Nazi imagery. The only problem? The image that she identified as a Nazi “Iron Cross” was tattooed onto the elbow of a combat-wounded U.S. Marine now working as a computer forensics analyst for ICE, in which capacity he helps rescue children who have been sexually abused. The response from the Twitterverse was swift and biting. Talia Lavin removed the offending Tweet “so as not to spread misinformation.” A few days later, Lavin voluntarily resigned from her post at The New Yorker so as (she explained) not to become a target for discrediting her colleagues’ work.
While at The New Yorker, Lavin had been engaged fact-checking an upcoming article on Berkeley’s adventures over the past year with sponsoring certain kinds of events on campus—or not sponsoring, as the case might be. In this capacity, she had occasion to be working with Milo, but after her Tweet, he withdrew his support for the article and refused to participate in their fact-checking. In his words:
Talia saw a tattoo on an Afghan veteran who lost his legs fighting for the US and who now works a desk job for ICE and announced to the world that it was a “Nazi” Iron Cross. Setting aside the fact that the Iron Cross is simply a German war medal that predates the Third Reich, the tattoo was actually his platoon insignia. He’s a war hero—and the New Yorker smeared him as a Nazi.When the Daily Stormer ran an article about Lavin, she retweeted the article (“shoutout to my biggest fans at the daily stormer xo”) and quipped:
also sending money to a fat unemployed Jew is an excellent way to piss off nazis, shabbat shalomAnd she linked to her PayPal account.
Taking her at her word, Milo promptly sent her a donation of $14.88.
And the Twitterverse exploded again.
For those not in the know—or familiar with shitposting—14/88 is what the Anti-Defamation League calls a “hate symbol.” The numeral 14 refers to the fourteen words of a white supremacist slogan: “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.” The numeral 88 stands for “Heil Hitler” in alphanumeric code, H being the 8th letter of the alphabet.
What was Milo doing sending coded neo-Nazi messages to a fellow Jew?
“idk man, i still have your money,” she tweeted. “suck my dick milo I gave it to amazing immigrant advocates @MaketheRoadNY.”
And then she went shopping.
bitch don’t send money to a jew to own her. there’s an xxl sale at gap and i’m excited to buy a sensible t-shirtWhen others sent her similarly coded donations, Lavin teased:
please don’t send me $1,488 i wld be so pwned i would cry for an entire dayIn other words, she knew it was a joke—and treated it as one.
“How can you support someone who sends coded neo-Nazis messages to a Jew?” a former student at the university where I teach asked me a few days ago on a Facebook thread about Milo’s upcoming article on the ongoing culture war in medieval studies. “Do you think it’s funny?” (I paraphrase. It was a very long thread, and I can’t find the comment I was looking for.)
Actually, no, I don’t.
But for some reason, Lavin did—as she proved in her own correspondence with Milo.
Subject: Thanks for the finances.
And the next week when Twitter went mad again over Milo’s private response to the journalists who had been badgering him for comment?
Lavin herself pointed out that if anything that the tweets were saying about Milo being “dangerous” were true, she would not be richer by $14.88, but dead.
It was a joke to mock HER obsession with Nazis, seeing them where they don’t exist. Period. Literally nothing more to say.Go here if you want more on what there is to say about Milo.