Picking At It Open Thread: Milo Hanrahan?!?… (Part 2.5)

One last burst of antiseptic splashed at the political acne that is Milotm, before we turn to the MRSA of CPAC. Dorian Lynskey reports how a shallow actor played the bad guy for money:

… Yiannopoulos was born Milo Hanrahan in Kent in 1984 and grew up in a financially comfortable but emotionally fraught family. He later adopted his beloved Greek grandmother’s surname, but prefers the pop-starry mononym Milo. On Twitter, before he was permanently banned last July, he operated as @nero. After dropping out of two universities – Manchester and Cambridge – he wrote for the Catholic Herald and covered technology for the Daily Telegraph. On the Telegraph’s blog pages, under editor Damian Thompson, he became a professional troll; a clickbait provocateur who hated the left more than he loved anything…

Yiannopoulos found his stepping stone to America in Gamergate, an online movement that claimed to campaign for ethics in videogame journalism while subjecting women in the industry to brutal harassment. Unlike older conservatives, Yiannopoulos understood what was bubbling up on platforms such as Reddit and 4chan: a new gamified form of hard-right discourse based not on ideas but on memes, harassment and “saying the unsayable”, driven by white male resentment toward minorities and so-called “social justice warriors”, the au courant name for political correctness. It didn’t matter that he had recently mocked gamers as “unemployed saddos living in their parents’ basements”. For Milo, Gamergate was an exciting new front in the culture wars and the career boost he craved…

Yiannopoulos preached the topsy-turvy gospel of the “alt-right”: liberals, feminists and people of colour were the oppressors and bigotry was a rebel yell. “I always thought journalism was about sticking up for the many against the powerful few,” he told Fusion in 2015. Yet in the same interview he implied it was all a show: “I didn’t like me very much and so I created this comedy character. And now they’ve converged.” Whenever he gets into trouble, he blames the character. On Monday, he attributed his justification of child abuse to his “usual blend of British sarcasm, provocation and gallows humour”. Last year, he flippantly told Bloomberg Business Week: “I’m totally autistic or sociopathic. I guess I’m both.”

In 2015 Yiannopoulos spotted his next opportunity, and perhaps a kindred spirit, in Donald Trump, a man he calls “Daddy”. (He rarely speaks to his own parents.) With Trump, the backlash against political correctness went nuclear and via Bannon’s Breitbart, Yiannopoulos became a far-right hero and gleeful scourge of liberal “snowflakes”. The Southern Poverty Law Center calls him “the person who propelled the alt-right movement into the mainstream”.
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Under Cover of Darkness Open Thread: CPAC, Milo, and the Limits of Cleek’s Law (Part the Second)

Cleek’s Law: Today’s conservatism is the opposite of what liberals want today, updated daily.

Roy Edroso, at Alicublog:

I see Milo Yiannopoulos’ friends have turned on him. Just kidding — they were never his friends; just a bunch of conservatives and libertarians who took him up because, one, he hated things they also hated (liberals, women, the transgendered, et alia); two, he celebrated things they also celebrated, primarily the vicious, spiteful treatment of anyone weaker than themselves; and three, because he was ostentatiously gay — indeed an old-fashioned caricature of homosexuality straight out of the Liberace playbook — and allowed himself to be associated with them, which gave conservatives and libertarians two things they thought would advantage them in the dreary Culture Wars they’re always pursuing: glamour and victim status…


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Late Night Open Thread: Precious, Fragile Snowflakes



Small Ray of Sunshine Open Thread: Is Trump Making Reporting “Sexy” Again?

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Unhappy is the land that needs a hero.”
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During “normal” times, people tend to regard the press as, at best, a bunch of prying busybodies, and at worst a pack of tattle-tales. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that!) But for a brief shining moment after Watergate (and not, I would add, necessarily to the benefit of the profession), investigative reporters were swashbuckling young rebels who brought down an evil cabal which had threatened the very foundations of our democracy. Since some people mistook the movie version of All the President’s Men for a documentary, earnest suburban youngsters with adequate SATs dreamed of becoming the next Robert Redford Bob Woodward or Dustin Hoffman Carl Bernstein. Journalism became a credential-requiring career, not just a job for oddballs too literate for the factory floor and too stubborn or damaged to climb into the better white-collar ranks.

But if Trump and his handlers, on both sides of the Atlantic, are determined to reenact Watergate (second time as farce!), maybe we’ll at least get an influx of bright young minds interested in actual investigative reporting, as opposed to cocktail-party scrumming to join the ranks of the Media Village Idiots…


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Late Night Early Reviews Open Thread: Different Month, Same Old Trumpstuntin’

CNN [warning: autoplay]Trump gets what he wants in Florida: Campaign-level adulation“:

Trump, who just months ago finished campaigning for the office he now holds, was both selling what his administration has done in its first 30 days and trying to change the subject after a chaotic month. The President was forced to fire his national security adviser, struggled to roll out his travel ban and strained to explain a growing story about how members of his 2016 campaign made repeated contact with Russian individuals known to US intelligence…

What was unclear Saturday was what exactly Trump was campaigning for. The event was being run by Trump’s 2016 campaign, Donald J. Trump for President Inc.

Before taking the stage, Trump was asked if it was too early to do another campaign event. His response: “Life is a campaign.”

“Making our country great again is a campaign,” Trump added. “For me, it’s a campaign. To make America great again is absolutely a campaign.”…
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Oh, Yay, We’re Gonna Relitigate Watergate Now

Sensible people understand that Gerald Ford pardoning Richard Nixon — and thereby eliminating any chance of airing the true extent of the nitwitted criminality of the entire Nixon Administration and its GOP supporters — was a national tragedy. It allowed all the low-level CREEPsters to scurry away into wingnut-welfare hidey-holes from which they would reemerge, stronger and ever more venal, first during the Reagan Adminstration (aka ‘Iran-Contra’), and later during the Cheney Regency. What the country needed in 1974 was the equivalent of South Africa’s Truth & Reconciliation Commission, where amnesty might be granted, but only after a full examination of the crimes and their impact on civil society.

Of course the criminals in the permanent Republican Party, and their nitwit courtiers among the Media Village Idiots, persist in their self-defensive fantasies that Watergate was a cruel and misguided assault on a great man and his loyal acolytes. Since paranoia, racism, and a lust for cruelty are never out of fashion in the authoritarian fringes of the far right, whole generations of would-be Haldemans and Ehrlichmans have nursed ambitions to avenge Tricky Dick… and it seems that they may be seizing upon the President-Asterisk and his klown klavern as their last best hope.

As a leading indicator, Drum-Major-General and Bothsider-in-Chief David Brooks meeps out a preemptive call for Truth and Honor, once again, to submit to the needs of The Narrative. After hastily dismissing both the Democratic tactic of actual resistance to Trump’s no-longer-hidden attempts to subvert our democracy, and the #NeverTrumpist withdrawal into their think-tank boltholes, Brooks declaims that “we” need… another Gerald Ford:

… The third possibility is that the primary threat in the Trump era is a combination of incompetence and anarchy. It could be that Trump is a chaotic clown incapable of conducting coherent policy. It could be that his staff members are a bunch of inexperienced second-raters…

If the current reign of ineptitude continues, Republicans will eventually peel away. The Civil Service will begin to ignore the sloppy White House edicts. The national security apparatus will decide that to prevent a slide to global disorder, it has to run itself.

In this scenario, the crucial question is how to replace and repair. The model for the resistance is Gerald Ford, a decent, modest, experienced public servant who believed in the institutions of government, who restored faith in government, who had a plan to bind the nation’s wounds and restored normalcy and competence.

Personally, I don’t think we’re at a Bonhoeffer moment or a Benedict moment. I think we’re approaching a Ford moment. If the first three weeks are any guide, this administration will not sustain itself for a full term. We’ll need a Ford, or rather a generation of Fords to restore effective governance…

… and “we” will find them, never doubt, among the comers at the Heritage Institute, the young sprigs of the National Review, and whichever statehouse seatwarmers the Kochs and Mercers decide are ready for a bigger platform.


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Friday Evening Open Thread: Fun with Charts

Given the vast computing power available, there is nothing people can’t chart. Amino.com is a database doctor-picking service, so this probably qualifies as ‘earned media’; the methodology behind that chart is explained here.

If you click over, they actually make guesses at some of these outcomes — ‘suffocation’ is the catchall term they used for various hypoxia-related medical codes, and states with higher elevations might be expected to have more people testing short of breath. Also, as I guessed before reading the post, Massachusetts has a strong medical system that’s been pushing for more head-injury testing in our youth sports leagues, which explains why concussions get diagnosed more. (My second guess, based on the one not-concussion head injury I’ve sustained as an adult, was that our environment encourages slipping & landing head-first on a hard surface.)

However, given that one of Michigan’s nicknames is ‘the Mitten’, I’m a wee bit suspicious of that ‘hand injury‘ coding…

What’s on the agenda as we get ready for the weekend?