A Taxonomy of Taunting
To hear Milo talk about it, it is better than sex.
“Taunting,” Milo says, “is the way men bond.” It is also the way that they establish hierarchy. Do you doubt me? Try joining Milo’s Telegram chat, and see how long you last before the boys make it clear who is who in the game.
There are those who come in and demand to be made admins. There are those who think that the way to impress Milo is to insult me, his “mom.” There are those who play it safe and attack only each other. And there are the women, who play an entirely different game.
A few of the women know how to play the boys’ game, but most women play as women for the attention of the men. The men humor them—or white knight for them—but the real game is getting Milo’s attention. Which is when the real fun begins.
Not everyone survives it. I have been trying to figure out why.
Just today, yet another of the men who had previously attracted Milo’s attention (B.T.=Before Telegram) posted a riposte to Milo’s share of a meme about his (Tim Gionet’s, a.k.a. Baked Alaska’s) propensity to destroy the movements he has associated with.
Milo’s response was surgically cutting—deadly, even:
Okay! You win, Tim. Here’s your acknowledgment. You kill everything you touch. You are an addict, an imbecile and a liability. I don’t mention you in public because there’s nothing to mention.
Are we done?And to his subscribers on his Telegram channel:
I never told you all how he spread lies about me while on tour, endangering my career and safety, or why we fired him, and how he cried like a little girl when he had to tell his parents he’d lost yet another job. (His mom and dad still pay his rent, like I used to.) I never told you about his addiction and behavioral problems, his poor impulse control and his jawdropping incompetence. I never told you anything.
...and I never will. Because that would be petty and beneath me.
Next case. 🚁At a guess, Tim is not taking it well. As one of our chat admins observed:
They really all go from wanting to be your best friend to spurned ex-lover at the drop of a hat. Incredible.To which Milo replied:
Love turns to hate very quickly. (But really it never stops being love.)But here’s the question. Why does Milo’s taunting cause everyone to fall in love with him? And why does it turn so quickly to hate—and yet never stop being love?
I was thinking about this question this morning as I was watching the impromptu video that Milo did with his friend Gavin McInnes after the young feminist and her grandmother doused them with water in Washington, D.C.. (You missed that?! It was all over Twitter!) Milo and Gavin dried themselves off and went back to their hotel, where Milo proceeded to ridicule Gavin about being so drunk the previous night that he had pissed himself in his bed.
It was complicated. Milo and Gavin were talking about a bet they had made on arriving in D.C. earlier that week. Which of them would be asked more times for a selfie? By Thursday, Milo had been asked five times (plus one) to Gavin’s three.
Gavin protested: “This bet was created after I had had half a bottle of bourbon. Do you think a bet where someone has had half a bottle of bourbon is a legitimate bet?”
Milo responded: “I was drinking, too. But do you know how ungallant you look, do you know how entirely without honor you look now? You are being slippery, and slimy, and disreputable, and dishonest, and dishonorable. Which is why... there’s footage, we have it on film! He admitted it! Which is why, in anticipation of you weaseling out of this like I knew you would, I spent $482 on room service during this trip.”
Gavin was aghast: “You’re fucking kidding me.” Milo was righteous: “No, I’m not, because I knew I’d win and I knew you’d weasel out of it.” Gavin: “But what did you order?” Milo: “Alcohol, snacks. I had to work hard to spend that much in a place this cheap!” At which Milo laughed with glee: “You have been seen and found drenched!”
Gavin tried another tack: “You know what, I absolutely hate being famous. I would love to push a magic button where I don’t [get recognized].” But Milo would not let him off the hook. “Oh, my God, me, too!,” Milo camped it up, fluttering his hands. Then, pointedly: “Is that why you’re so bad at it?”
Still trying to recover his dignity, Gavin tried yet again: “It’s a nightmare. And you know what else is disturbing about being famous? It’s these young millennial men. They’ll pull you into a picture with you, and they’ll put their arm around you, and I can feel them shaking.”
At which Milo got serious: “Yeah, I get that, too. But rather than you, being a dick about it. ‘I’m shaking, it’s so lame.’ When you have looked up to somebody, when they have shaped your value system, it petrifies you when you meet them in real life, because you want them to like you. You never thought you’d actually meet them in real life. It’s overwhelming.”
Gavin pushed back: “Every man should see all men as peers. You shouldn’t have this hierarchy in your head, where you are meeting a god.”
Milo taunted him: “And yet you agreed to a wager on the basis of you being seen as a god.”
Gavin, as Milo predicted, tried to wriggle out of the bet yet again: “After a bottle of bourbon.”
And Milo came in for the kill: “Oh, now it’s a bottle. Why are you drinking so much this week? You have passed out every night. You have done unspeakable things... You’ve pissed yourself twice in a row. You have urinated in the bed while sleeping two nights in a row.... It is not surprising, it is disgusting.... No one pisses the bed. Seven-year-olds piss the bed. You, you have been drinking yourself into oblivion every night for the last four days, and I want to know why because I care about you.”
To the audience, Milo elaborated: “I just want you to understand at home that we’re not joking. This is not a metaphor. This is not a funny flight of fancy. He pisses the bed.”
To his credit, Gavin took it calmly, admitting that he pissed the bed even at home—even with his wife in the bed. The expression on Milo’s face tells it all. At which Milo proceeded to tease Gavin about his watch.
Earlier in the same conversation, immediately before it turned to the discussion of the bet, Gavin had compared the feminists who doused Milo and him with water to “fat people pouring drinks on trainers.”
Gavin and Milo believe women will be happier with husbands and children, for which feminists hate them just as fat people hate being reminded that they would be happier if they were not fat.
“‘Cause that’s what we are,” Milo agreed. “We are personal trainers for the soul!... So when you think about it. Ideological trainers.... We are creating legions of terror in their minds.” Gavin elaborated: “And people with good souls and in good shape don’t hate personal trainers.”
Neither, as Milo went on to prove with Gavin, do they hate being teased.
I got a variety of answers.
MM: Taunting is a form of criticism.... For an example, I may say something to N. that’ll troll him, but it’s often to make him think about what he’s saying.
P: I have a lot of younger siblings and my parents also told us that sometimes it’s cruel to be kind and I use this philosophy when I think appropriate.
BH: Gay riffs are always funny! The sort of petty stuff; “that’s gay” etc. You might be talking about sports teams for example, and you’ll just make some off the cuff comment about being too interested in them.... It’s certainly made me a lot more comfortable with my sexuality. And other people too. Stops them from thinking they have to walk on eggshells around me.
KC: I try to be blunt without being vitriolic. Non-emotional. It took a lot of practice.... Because I don’t actually mean anyone harm. That’s what people don’t understand. I’m savage but not malicious.
B: It seems to me there are four types of taunting I have observed [in the chat]. One: The people who see newcomers arriving and want to test their thick skin and motives... Two: The ones that come into the room and just want to whip up nonsensical frenzy and debates that lead off a counterproductive cliff... Three: Then there are some that enter and just want Milo’s attention, even if it’s at the expense of others or by taunting the Queen himself. Four: Some people just need to find more productive coping mechanisms in life than just being a clanging symbol behind a keyboard because they are not over their own childhood.
M: Funny insults are made in good humor, with a true aim towards the other person’s betterment, or else for the purpose of bonding with the other person... The person who engages in good-natured insults also recognizes his own flaws, or at least seeks to do so. The unfunny ones are written with bitterness and malicious intent. These insults are thrown in order to make oneself appear more prestigious by comparison to the recipient... Concern trolling falls into this category. These insults judge not on the basis of character, but on the basis of jealousy and envy.
D: Deploying an insult effectively takes practice. They can be used to bond, diffuse a tense situation, incite laughter, stop an argument in its tracks when they come out of nowhere, and so forth. Funny ones are typically inventive or a callback to an earlier theme, and on point, whereas the ones that evoke eyerolls and groans are normally low-grade trash talk. Both intent and execution matter greatly.... I reserve my insults for occasions where they improve a joke or when it’s necessary as emphasis to illustrate how utterly boneheaded someone is. Deploy them too liberally, like “Nazi,” and they’ll lose their potency.The general consensus was that taunting was good when used for the sake of pointing out other people’s flaws, but only when you yourself are willing to be part of the joke.
Like Milo, when he fluttered his hands and teased Gavin about not wanting to be famous, and then turned on him in all seriousness, calling him out for not living up to the responsibility of being someone others looked up to and admired.
So why, if taunting is so much fun—and so good for you—do so many of the people whom Milo taunts first fall in love with him—and then storm off in a rage?
Because taunting, as Milo says, is the way men bond—and the way women wish they could, but often can’t. It is like sex because it involves seeing another person intimately, seeking out his (or her) weaknesses, and bringing them into the light.
“You,” Milo will say, “you are like this.” And he will be right. So right that it seems as if he could see into your very soul. Into the things that you thought you had kept hidden. Into your shame. Into your pretensions of importance and desire to be loved. Into your false humility and your very real pride. Just as he did with Gavin. Just as he did with Tim.
Not everybody is able to take this degree of exposure as well as Gavin.
Not everybody is willing to be laid naked before God.
With thanks to the members of Milo’s fag chat for being so willing to share their experiences with Milo—and his taunts!
For Gavin and Milo’s conversation, see “GOML Live #20: Attacked by Water,” on freespeech.tv.
For further training in virtue according to Abbot Milo, see The Milo Chronicles.