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.