Milo and other real humans

Against my better judgement, I read the LifeSiteNews interview with Milo Yiannopoulos, the professionally degenerate political and pop culture provocateur who’s spent the last few decades marketing his transgressiveness to the highest bidder. This Wikipedia article does a serviceable job summing up his career.

Take every frightening and revolting cultural phenomenon you can think of from about 2015 on, add a huge dollop of money and an even huger dollop of self-loathing, blend well, and Milo is there, making sure everyone watches as he drinks deep.

So now he’s back in the news, because the man who headlined the “Dangerous Faggot Tour” says he’s now ex-gay, has demoted his husband to pampered housemate, and is devoting his life to St Joseph. Commenters on both ends of the political spectrum are calling this announcement his latest grift, just another costume change for a fellow who’s learned how to monetize controversy and desperately needs spotlight.

But a good many far right Catholics are offering full-throated praise and thanksgiving to God for what they see as the ultimate prodigal son headline of the year. It’s not just rejoicing over the alleged conversion of a soul: There’s a distinct “Score one for our side!” feel to many of the comments.  (And it’s not just conservatives who see Milo’s latest announcement as a big get. One queer comedian quipped “We lost one y’all! Celebrate!” adding a high five and rainbow flag emojis.)

It seems only fair that people are treating him as a talking point, a headline, a poster boy. He has deliberately and consistently demanded to be marketed this way. For whatever reason, he’s chosen to commodify his personal life, so it’s hard to blame people for treating him like a commodity.

Let me be clear: I have no idea if he’s sincere or not. I have heavy doubts about the “conversion therapy” he touts, but it’s possible that he at least actually intends to dramatically change his behavior. All sorts of things are always possible.

But I don’t really want to talk about him. I want to talk about how people are talking about him, and talking about his conversion or fake conversion as if it’s a game, with points to be scored.

Read the rest of my latest for The Catholic Weekly

Image by Kmereon via Flickr (Creative Commons)

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7 thoughts on “Milo and other real humans”

  1. Thanks for this simcha. Good applications for the recent royal family news too. Don’t know if you keep up with that but this take is well-timed.

  2. Might we just take him at his word, say good for him and move on. We should be happy when a sinner stops sinning especially in a public way.

    1. No. His word is worthless. If he were sincere he would have made this conversion in private and left public life entirely, after making a groveling apology for everyone else he’s hurt and for his vocal support of fascist politicians. He’s found a gigantic vein of gullible Christian gold to mine.

  3. Excellent points. Jane Roe and how she was manipulated by both pro-lifers and pro-choicers is a good example of this. I’ve lost a lot of respect for Lifesite News, due to their worship of Trump and their flouting of pandemic guidelines. The pro-life movement should be better than this.

  4. I also read the interview very reluctantly, but I’m glad I did, because buried within the nonsense were two thoughts I found really profound. I have no idea how much of this guy is sincere, but I think it would be impossible for a completely insincere person to have said the following:

    1) “I think it was Houselander who said, ‘Whatever is loving in man and whatever is lovable in man is Christ in man.’ I take this to mean that the more love and the less lust in us, the more we cease to obscure Christ and instead reveal Him, in whose image we are made.”

    2) “They say if you let one sin in, others will follow, and now I truly know what that means: As I’ve begun to resist sinful sexual urges, I’ve found myself drinking less, smoking less … you name it. I confess my weakness for designer shoes and handbags is yet to dissipate. But I am coming to realize, however slowly, that lust — per Augustine — is disordered desire for all sorts of things, not just NFL players.”

  5. I was drinking at a hotel bar in Raleigh where a devil-casting-out revival was happening in the ballroom. A goth teen came out of the room to get something to eat, he was paid $50 to have demons exorcised by the preacher his grandma was in thrall to.

    So Milo didn’t invent the business model.

    1. See Chaucer for other examples.

      The fact that he made his conversion a giant public event proves to me that he’s about as sincere as your Goth teen. This is a grift, and history has shown that conservative Christians are an inexhaustible supply of marks.

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