Anytime Milo and his fans manage to tweak the left is a good time in my book.
According to this, everyone’s favorite fabulous commentator Milo Yiannopoulos was on the list for LGBTQ Nation’s “Person of the Year.” Now, LGBTQ Nation clearly HATES Milo (are they just homophobic or something?) but because voting for the award was open to anyone who wanted to vote, Milo’s fans stormed their servers and he won fair and square. Even LGBTQ Nation admitted it –
“After a concerted effort to drum up votes via social media, conservative media gadfly Milo Yiannopoulos has won the title of LGBTQ Nation’s Person of the Year with almost 70% of the vote,” LGBTQ Nation announced on Thursday, later adding: “While the poll was intended for our regular audience, there were no stipulations on who could or couldn’t vote. Therefore, Milo Yiannopoulos won fair and square.”
“Yiannopoulos’ fans didn’t just flock to the site from his Facebook page though. Breitbart News did stories about the poll and his followers posted about it multiple times on sites like Reddit and 4chan. A similar effort was made on behalf of Pence, but it couldn’t compare to Yiannopoulos’ legions of followers,” LGBTQ Nation’s announcement read. Pence’s supporters got him second place, with just under 20 percent of the vote. The victims of the terrorist attack at the Orlando night club were a distant third, earning less than 5 percent of the votes cast.
Completely coincidentally (I’m sure), this comes after it was announced that Milo got a $250,000 publishing contract with Simon & Schuster for his memoir Dangerous (which comes out in March). The left, predictably, howled like a bunch of stuck pigs about it, review magazines have refused to review any of S&S’s books in 2017… and yet, the book’s pre-order numbers rocketed to the top of Amazon’s rankings (it’s currently at #143 on Amazon’s bestseller list for ALL books, and in the top three for political commentary categories).
What’s more, groups who aren’t necessarily left or right (but tend more to the left) are speaking out in defense of Milo and against censorship of his book. Because free speech only means anything if you’re defending speech that you don’t personally agree with –
In the present case, the calls for a boycott stem not from the content of a book, which has not been published, but because of previous statements by the author which critics characterize as hate speech. The Chicago Review of Books has announced its intent to protest the publisher’s decision by refusing to review any books published by Simon & Schuster, even though that would deprive its readers of information about books from more than two dozen Simon & Schuster imprints, including Salaam Reads, which focuses on books with Muslim characters.
This kind of response will have a chilling effect on authors and publishers, which is undoubtedly the goal of those who support such boycotts. However, the suppression of noxious ideas does not defeat them; only vigorous disagreement can counter toxic speech effectively. Shutting down the conversation may temporarily silence disfavored views, but does nothing to prevent them from spreading and resurfacing in other ways.
Readers are of course free to criticize any book for any reason. They are likewise free to choose not to read any book that they think contains objectionable material, or to urge a boycott. Because other readers may disagree, however, publishers and writers need the freedom to express and disseminate ideas, even if they are controversial and offensive to some. We need not endorse the ideas contained in a book to endorse the right to express them.
Also, I’ve seen calls from right-leaning authors I’m acquainted with to get Milo’s book featured on the American Library Association’s “Banned Books Week,” which I’m sure THRILLS the ALA to no end (because in the ALA’s mind, the only people who engage in censorship is Bible-thumping rednecks who can’t abide their third-graders reading “Sex” by Madonna.)
Hey leftists! How’s that silencing and censorship working out for you?