A chummy affair

I do wish journalists would learn to stop portraying Milo Yiannopoulos as some sort of legit commentator or thinker or even forsooth fellow journalist. He’s a Twitter troll. That’s it. That’s all he is, that’s his only claim to fame, and it’s not something anyone should be taking seriously.

Despite a brief flare-up of controversy that preceded it, a conversation between Milo Yiannopoulos, the incendiary right-wing author and lecturer, and Bill Maher, the comedian and host of HBO’s “Real Time,” on that program Friday night was a largely docile, chummy affair. There was little conflict or cross-examination, as both men chided the political left for avoiding or drowning out Mr. Yiannopoulos’s views rather than engaging with them.

He’s not an author and lecturer. He’s a troll. He’s a verbal sadist who makes a career of bullying women. He is not any kind of substantive thinker. He doesn’t have “views”; he has a taste for bullying.

Introducing Mr. Yiannopoulos, 32, an openly gay editor at Breitbart News, Mr. Maher said: “I think you’re colossally wrong on a number of things. But if I banned everyone from my show who I thought was colossally wrong, I would be talking to myself.”

Blah blah blah they laughed when Beethoven sat down to play. Yes it would be foolish for Bill Maher to decide to talk only to people he thinks are right about everything, no it does not follow that he should talk to people whose only claim to fame is bullying women off the internet. That’s another thing I wish people would stop being so dense about. It’s generally good to interact with a wide range of ideas and people; that does not mean it’s generally good to seek out the worst, meanest, shallowest bullies on Twitter and interact with them.

Mr. Yiannopoulos began the interview by cracking jokes about gay people (whom he said he did not hire because they did not show up to work on time) and women, and telling Mr. Maher’s audience that they were “very easily triggered.”

“All I care about is free speech and free expression,” Mr. Yiannopoulos explained. “I want people to be able to be, do and say anything. These days, you’re right, that’s a conservative issue.”

Bullshit. Milo Yiannopoulos is not another Voltaire or Tom Paine or John Stuart Mill. Milo Yiannopoulos is another random shithead who gets his jollies from bullying women in public.

Describing himself as “a virtuous troll,” Mr. Yiannopolous said, “I hurt people for a reason.”

He said people “want to police humor” because “they can’t control it.”

“Because the one thing that authoritarians hate is the sound of laughter,” Mr. Yiannopolous said.

Milo Yiannopoulos is not Charlie Chaplin in The Great Dictator. Milo Yiannopoulos is a court jester for authoritarians.

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