Understanding MILO, Understanding Donald (Update)

The world learned yesterday MILO, the self styled “Dangerous Faggot” landed a quarter million dollar book deal. A bunch of people lost their collective ever loving minds over this. As of this writing MILO’s book, “Dangerous,” sits as the number two best seller in all of Amazon. The crazy part is his book won’t be out until March of 2017! How does someone who describes himself as a “virtuous troll” achieve such instant success over a book that isn’t in print?

Understanding the cultural phenomenon that is MILO means understanding the America that elected a reality television star President. You may love it or hate it, but you’ll have a better grasp of the America that allegedly rejected “progressive” values. Taking a moment to examine the events of the last twenty-four hours surrounding MILO’s book deal will help you get a better grasp of where America stands culturally as we move forward into the new year.

MILO represents a rejection of identity politics. 

Identity politics have been quite the rage. It’s common to see someone start a social media post labeling themselves “As a” before launching into an argument or stating a position. When your “As a” label is offended, it gives you a chance to express your outrage and call someone a racist, sexist, transohomophobic bigot. That outrage sets the internet social justice posse in motion, silencing you for your viewpoint. It makes you think twice before you hit “post” or say something in public.

MILO is part of the cultural nexus that holds up the viper of identity politics, cuts off its head, and throws both pieces of the snake into two separate fields. His “Dangerous Faggot” college tour holds talks with themes like “Feminism is Cancer,” “Fat Shaming Works,” “Why Do So Many Lesbians Fake Hate Crimes?” and other ridiculously outlandish topics. The stated purpose of each talk is to make people laugh, piss people off, and maybe make people think.

It would be easy for people to dismiss him if he were simply a white guy. Under the mantle of identity politics, he gets a following for being a gay Jewish Briton with a German mother who has a propensity for dating black guys. It also makes him damned near bulletproof from the Social Justice mobs.

People love him for his outlandish antics, and his talks are often to standing room only crowds as a result. When college campuses pull off a stunt that either shuts down a talk or cancels it completely, it makes headlines. Shouting him down only amplifies his voice to the people that want to hear him.

Silencing MILO only makes his voice stronger, and people hate that. 

The “Heckler’s Veto” is a common tactic for those who want to silence someone with whom they disagree. Shouting someone down produces no honest conversations that lead to productive exchanges over big ideas. Yet society continues to do this and ask for “honest conversations” at the same time. You can’t have an honest discussion if you’re unwilling to listen to the ideas and concepts you can’t stand to hear.

Silencing MILO, for some reason, only makes his voice that much stronger. It’s the real life equivalent of Obi-Wan Kenobi telling Darth Vader “Strike me down, Lord Vader, and I shall become more powerful than you can ever imagine.” When Twitter suspended MILO’s @Nero account during the Republican National Convention he dominated press row the next day. Every time a campus shuts down or protests one of his talks it’s a newsworthy story.

This is why MILO’s book deal dominated the media world for twenty four hours and put his book at number two on all of Amazon. Announcing an alleged quarter million dollar advance for a book due in March caused an incredible number of celebrities to decry Simon and Schuster for “normalizing hatred.” The Chicago Review of Books announced it wouldn’t review a single S&S release in 2017.

The effect of this was an insane number of pre-orders for a book that’s going to launch with a $26 hardcover price. A comparable hardcover sells for approximately $17. This is what people mean when they speak of voting with their money. People want to hear what MILO has to say so much they were willing to launch money at him three months before his book ships.

Understanding MILO means understanding America in 2017. 

If you take a moment to examine the meteoric success of MILO, you will understand why we have Donald Trump in the White House. Both men represent a group of people tired of being told they were a bunch of things they weren’t, like racist, sexist, misogynist, homophobic, bigoted, ableist, or whatever label you could put on them. Both men listened to the America that was mad as hell and wasn’t going to take it anymore. Both men took time to listen to those more concerned about rising health care costs and lack of employment than discussions of which bathroom or pronoun to use.

Both men were unapologetic in their actions. Both men said and did whatever the hell they wanted without fear of repercussion. When people tried to shut both men down the public that was mad as hell lashed back with time, money, and energy most thought never existed.

Examine MILO. Instead of trying to shut him up, take a moment to understand why he dominates public discourse. When you understand that, you’ll understand America in the coming year.

Watch American Milo here.

MILO is in Silenced: Our War on Free Speech.

His YouTube Channel is a repository of his college talks.

UPDATE: “Dangerous” is now the number one book in all of Amazon. The self-styled “Most Fabulous Supervillain on the Internet” strolled past Carrie Fisher’s “The Princess Diarist.”

Score one for the bad guys.

Has Pantsuit Nation Imploded?

Pantsuit Nation started as a secret Facebook group where supporters of Hillary Clinton came to coordinate wearing pantsuits on election day. Once Clinton didn’t win the election, it became something of a collective grieving space for those who couldn’t believe we didn’t have our first female president. All that changed one week ago when Libby Chamberlain, the group’s founder, announced she’d landed a book deal.

The Huffington Post quickly called Pantsuit Nation a “sham.” Apparently someone didn’t like the New York Times reporting on Chamberlain’s book deal the previous day. Chamberlain also filed a trademark application for Pantsuit Nation, despite allegedly seeking no profit or compensation from the group’s activities. HuffPo writer Harry Lewis called the move “a branding machine.”

Elizabeth Chamberlain has every right to make a living. Are her activities a “sham?” Is she guilty of scamming people? All signs, from this deception artist’s perspective, point to “no.”

Assuming the facts least favorable to Ms. Chamberlain, she isn’t under any obligation to abstain from profits under a book deal she signs. People are allowed to make money in America. That’s part of the good stuff in this country. Starting a Facebook group isn’t illegal, and getting a book deal for “stories” told in the group is a testament to the power of social media.

Ms. Chamberlain is under no obligation to pay any participant who chooses to submit a story for her book. If that changes, I’ll change this post. What sticks out as interesting is her decision to only include stories submitted with express permission. Obtaining that “express permission” would arguably require sending each potential participant a contract for signature and return. The terms of such a document would be worth examining, and each participant would be well advised to look over the “permission slip” with an attorney.

She also, according to my understanding, does not owe the collective, invitation-only Facebook group she created any sort of “duty” to tailor its activity to anyone’s liking. That argument’s been tried before at other sites, and with no rules placed other than what Chamberlain and the group’s admins set the “duty” is whatever Chamberlain and her friends say it is.

The issue people seem to take with Chamberlain’s actions is they’re not active enough. Over at Slate, Christina Cauterucci finds several members of the (approximately) four million member Facebook Group wanted to do more than just share their stories. A book didn’t live up to their expectations.

“We came to fight Trump,” [one Pantsuit Nation member] continued. “Instead, [Chamberlain] made a coffee table book? Really? Not only are there millions of us, but we are passionate and ready to go. A coffee table book feels like a kick in the teeth.”

A book may not have been what brought Pantsuit Nation together. That book may be the group’s undoing. But for now, if Elizabeth Chamberlain happens to make money off the Facebook group she created, that’s not a scam, sham, or any other negative word you might choose to label it. Asking for additional transparency won’t do any good. Someone got lucky and secured a book deal.

Unfortunately for the Pantsuit Nation Facebook group, they can’t even be happy about that.

I accepted an invitation some time back to Pantsuit Nation for reasons I can’t explain. Part of me was fascinated at the alternate reality some of its members saw. Another part of me was curious at the alleged fear its member base “felt” in the aftermath of President Elect Trump’s rise to power.

Now that it’s disintegrated to infighting, it’s time to move on. There’s more important battles to fight, and more conflicts worth discussion than the self-destruction of Pantsuit Nation.

The book deal Elizabeth Chamberlain has is far from a potential scam. Some people just can’t accept her refusal to do more. That’s expectation management, not deception.