Here’s a primer on Milo Yiannopoulos, or Turd Monkey as I like to call him. If you’ve been out of geek circles it’s possible to have to have missed him, but for those of us who were active online during Gamer Gate, it was kind of hard to.
The Alt Right first spread their fetid wings in 2014 when a disgruntled former lover of a games developer weaponized his harassment of her and posted accusations that she had engaged in sexual liaisons with game reviewers to gain favorable reviews for her game… um, that she was releasing for free. But this became a touchstone for a broader culture war in which Nazis engaged in a widespread campaign of stalking and harassing any woman who dared work or publish criticism of games.
Turd Monkey at that point was a tech journalist of no repute looking for an audience. He had derided gamers earlier in his career, but saw this as an opportunity to expand his audience. Turd Monkey latched onto this 21st century culture war between literal Nazis and people who, you know, thought that maybe once and a while a game shouldn’t exclusively feature women in bikinis? You can guess what side he chose.
Very quickly Turd Monkey came into the orbit of Breitbart. Steve Bannon was his boss.
Now here’s what happened from late 2014 to 2015: imagine you’re a games developer. You have some cross words on Twitter with @nero one night. Turd Monkey writes an article about you. A few days later, a SWAT team bursts down the door to your house. In the investigation that follows, it is discovered that your address has been posted on a forum that treats Turd Monkey as a god.
These things happened. A community of sociopaths took, among other things, Turd Monkey’s pronouncements and targeted the people that he did. Turd Monkey was aware of this. If you didn’t know this was happening, I’m super glad that you live in a world of peaches and tulips and sunshine, but what this guy did was very real.
The most visible example of this was when Twitter finally suspended his account. He got into a feud with Leslie Jones of Ghostbusters fame, knowing that his Nazi followers would inundate her with racist vitriol, and spoiler alert, they did.
As he has started his college tour across the US, he has taken to identifying students at those particular campuses he is visiting with a social justice bent, and at his lectures, showing their picture with their full name and all the social media information that can be gleaned from the internet. Wow, it’s as though this is all following a familiar pattern!
That’s why there’s a riot at Cal tonight. Do you want your roommate to be named and targeted by an acolyte of Steve Bannon who has done it before?
I’m not down with setting garbage cans on fire. Never have been. I think it’s an ineffective tactic. But just maybe, consider that there’s something going on that is more worthy of your ire than a few wrecked barricades?