If you’re willing to read one more piece connected with the Yiannopoulos shit-show, make it this essay by Laurie Penny: “On the Milo Bus with the Lost Boys of America’s New Right.” (Brought to our attention in the overnight thread by valued commenter TheMightyTrowel.)
As the title suggests, the article isn’t so much about Yiannopoulos himself but his entourage, a crew one can imagine comprises involuntarily celibate young men who bonded over online gang-harassment of anyone who’s visibly female or nonwhite while hiding behind ironically customized Nazi frog avatars. An excerpt:
Many of them don’t agree with what Yiannopoulos says, let alone what Trump says. They agree with the way he says it, because their life experience does not extend beyond interpreting being criticized as censorship. Yiannopoulos’ brand is all about “fuck your feelings.” But the kids following him around are nothing but feelings…
These boys will be allowed to forget everything but their own immediate feelings for as long as society allows them, and this society allows straight white boys to dodge personal and emotional responsibility until at least the age of 70. The current man-child president would be Exhibit A, but not every lost boy gets a golden throne. In this culture war, most of them are cannon fodder.
The post-election media coverage of Trump voters focuses obsessively on white working class economic anxiety, even though there’s much evidence to suggest that focus is misplaced. Anecdote isn’t data, but the Trump voters I know have more in common with the “lost boys” described in this article than out-of-work coal miners.
They may be grown-ass adults with jobs and mates, but they share the militantly anti-PC, “you’re not the boss of me” pose that disguises deep insecurity and a gibbering fear of victimhood. Small wonder they fell for conmen like Trump and Yiannopoulos.
As for how we address it electorally, my feeling is we have to turn out our own and get unengaged people who share our values off the sidelines. Could be the “lost boys” are just that — lost.