(Editor’s Note: Yesterday, Simon & Schuster paid a reported $250,000 to acquire the publishing rights to Dangerous, a book about “free speech” by Milo Yiannopoulis, a mentally ill Lance Bass impersonator. Having already read Mien Kampf twice, I have no reason to purchase the book, but for those depraved, loathsome souls who still find themselves interested in Milo’s putrid thoughts and rhetoric, I’ve composed a preemptive review of the title in the style of New York Times book critic Michiko Kakutani, the only bigger threat to American culture than Milo Yiannopoulis.)
A Preemptive Review of Milo Yiannopoulis’s New Book
By. “Michiko Kakutani”
As the tech editor for Brietbart News, Milo Yiannopoulis often comes across as a brash, outspoken “agent provocateur” of the so-called “alt-right,” commenting on everything from the latest “Ghostbusters” movie to his desire to participate in some whoopsie-doopsie with the current President-Elect. During the Presidential campaign, the nettlesome British writer referred to Donald Trump as “Daddy,” staged a public funeral for the millennial tweeting service “Twitter” and described himself as a “deplorosexual.”
In the countdown to and actual event and aftermath of the election, Mr. Yiannopoulis has grown more comfortable at moving between what some consider hate speech and others consider truth telling, between provocation and “post-truth”–the way he’s done on his speaking tour, and now, at last, indeed, in his compelling new treatise on free speech, “Dangerous: Fist Me, First Amendment!”
By turns zany, sad and very sad, his book provides a harrowing look, through the prism of what some consider psychopathic hatred, at life for the far right in 2016 and the western world’s turn toward the ideology. Some stories will be familiar to fans who have followed the author’s speaking tour. But his arguments here are less the polished anecdotes of a thinker underscoring the absurdities of life under the liberal media, than raw, deeply personal reminiscences about being “nazilicious” in a country where his views aren’t appreciated by most.
The book begins inauspiciously: “TRIGGER WARNING, TWINK FUCKS: IT’S MILO TIME!” The son of an Aryan-German mother and Baphomet, the Sabbatic Goat Demon, Mr. Yiannopoulis recalls “driving both of his parents to the brink of suicide”: “Whenever my daddy refused to spank me, tehehe, I’d do something to make sure he did!” It was dangerous, as a far-right lunatic, to be seen with his mother around their liberal British town: “She would push me into traffic or leave me at the grocery, anything to be rid of me, but the SWAT police always brought me back–hence my fetish for men in uniforms.”
He spent much of his time at home: “I didn’t have any friends. I didn’t know any kids besides my fellow redditors. I wasn’t a lonely kid — there were 21 distinct voices in my head. I’d burn books, destroy the one toy that I had, make up imaginary white utopias. I lived inside the Burmese prison of my head. To this day you can leave me alone for hours and I’m perfectly happy entertaining myself.”
A gifted orator, he learned to become “a chameleon,” using language to gain acceptance in comment threads and The Los Angeles Times. “If you spoke to me in coded racism, I replied to you in coded racism,” he writes. “If you spoke to me in blatant racism, I replied to you in blatant racism at twice the volume. Maybe I didn’t look like you, but if I spoke like you, I was you. Now you were me. And I was insane. Am.”
Mr. Yiannopoulis offers a series of sharp-edged snapshots of life in the township of Manchester, where his maternal grandmother lived, and where, he recalls, “0.01 percent” of the residents were black, and his light skin made him a neighborhood curiosity. He remembers: “Ugh. It was so limiting having only one minority family in my stupid town. All of my energies went to them–burning effigies on their lawn, cutting the brake lines on their cars–but I still felt like I had so much more to give, even after I’d driven the entire family to suicide. But you know: screw them for ruining my fun!”
By high school, Mr. Yiannopoulis writes, he had become an enterprising businessman, copying and selling pirated Wagner CDs; he and his business partners would soon segue into the D.J. business, throwing raucous one-man dance parties for Martin Shkreli, “a tiny, self-deluded gerbil boy” with whom the author would develop a steamy romance.
In the end, “Dangerous” is not just an unnerving account of one sociopath’s descent into culturally sanctioned madness, but a love letter to the author’s remarkable parents, both of whom killed themselves after realizing the plague they’d unleashed on the world. Limn. It’s the story of a fiercely insufferable man, whose miraculous self-hatred is so profound that it obliterates the self from which it originates, leaving only a bleached, hairless body whose frail arms lash out at whatever pathetic soul is stupid enough to come within reach. His mother, Mr. Yiannopoulis writes, deliberately gave him a name, “Milo,” that means “drought-resistant sorghum.”
“I can’t be killed because I’m dead inside,” he writes. “It’s not just a name. Monsters like me thrive when life-giving things die. You know, like culture. So thanks, Simon & Schuster! I’ll make sure to put your money to the worst imaginable use.”
“Michiko Kakutani” had a recurring role in the fifth season of HBO’s Sex and the City. Jonathan Franzen once called her the “stupidest person in New York.” She lives in Brooklyn.