Milo Yiannopoulos has become incredibly rich being outspoken, even a bit of a troll.
Now, he’s getting even richer with an enviable quarter million dollar book deal that he just signed with Simon and Schuster. While people love to hate him, it’s exactly that which allowed him to get the deal about which they’re all so outraged.
Let me preface this with my opinion about Milo. I admire people who are outspoken. I probably wouldn’t deliberately offend people the way he does, but I don’t think he should be drawn and quartered for it. I’ll buy his book simply because, in his own inimitable way, he is bringing much-needed attention to the fragile flower mentality of our butthurt nation. I may not agree with his methods because I personally don’t like being mean, but I staunchly support his freedom to use those methods.
Milo is using the First Amendment to its fullest extent. He has that right. People who don’t like it are welcome to ignore him. They have that right.
But what they don’t have the right to do is silence him, because love him or hate him, the speech that needs most to be protected is the speech that some people don’t want to hear.
And the reason he got this book deal?
It’s the hysteria of the people who want to silence him. Like Elle magazine, which published this opinion piece about why he shouldn’t be “allowed” to do business with Simon and Schuster.
But no matter how much Yiannopoulos wants to be seen as dangerous, there’s also the fact that Yiannopoulos is, well, dangerous. The outcry at the book deal has been swift and loud; on Twitter, many users have called for a total boycott of Simon & Schuster. Others have called for a freeze on all Dangerous-related publicity…
…there is good reason to believe that publishing it will endanger human lives…
…But Yiannopoulos is valuable to the right wing precisely because he is not just another talking head. He’s younger, a creature of the Internet, well-versed in the medium’s interactive nature and permeable boundaries. He doesn’t just play to the ugly beliefs of his audience; he weaponizes them.
Suck it up, you little weenies.
These crybabies are demanding boycotts of Simon and Schuster in much the same way they are creating an attitude of disrespect toward our next president. If they can’t have their way, they demand censorship, recounts, and do-overs. They are everything that is wrong with our country right now.
These are the future book-burners, striding into school libraries in order to erase every trace of things that they find improper in some way.
And they are the very people who made it possible for Milo to build his notoriety and put him in the position in which he now resides. The rich, famous position.
Thankfully, not everyone is pro-censorship.
The National Coalition Against Censorship released a statement of support for Simon and Schuster.
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.
It seems that there is a determined assault on any kind of freedom that strays outside of the current politically correct agenda. (Sign up here to get daily updates and commentary.)
If the tables were turned and the liberal agenda was silenced, as it has been in the past, these people would be wrapping themselves in the very Constitution that they currently seek to rewrite. They’d be waving the flag of free speech, committing acts of civil disobedience, and denouncing everyone who wanted to silence them.
They need to understand that we can’t have it both ways. We either have free speech or we do not.