Amendment I: Congress shall make no laws… abridging the freedom of speech…
(Satire Alert: “He who is slow to anger has great understanding, he who has a hasty temper exalts folly” Proverbs 14:29″)
A headliner this week was Milo Yiannopoulos, who was scheduled to talk for the Berkeley College Republicans in California. The headlines turned into how student protests, joined by 100+ people in ninja-style masks and clubs, turned into chaos and destruction about an hour before the lecture. Mr. Yiannopoulos, without having started his talk, believes that he succeeded in his mission to demonstrate the hate on liberal campuses when he has evacuated from U.C. Berkeley when his lecture was cancelled an hour before it started.
Now, maybe his name would be a household word, if we could pronounce it. Could we just call him Yanni, you know, the heart-throb Greek New Age keyboard player with the long hair from the 90’s? I do not think that Milo would like that, though it is right up his style of dismissive, sarcastic belittling of people whom he disparages.
Mr. Yiannopoulos presents himself as a journalist (internet based at Breitbart, which just happens to be the electronic ear piece in president Trump’s right ear) and lecturer on politics and pop-culture. He has a reputation for
d-mn f–king trash-talk which would make Howard Stern blush, or maybe smile. He defends his use of profanity as comedy-art, but claims that he does not intend to point out anyone in particular, but social trends of authoritarian figures (which he is, of course, not).
Maybe this is to startle his audience into thinking, or to browbeat them into not thinking, or to get rowdy so that emotions can drive logic, or distract dissenters into not being able or willing to challenge him (the prior sentence does not constitute Facts, but Opinions, several or which may or may not be mine, but notice that I need not use any
d-mn f–king profanity… that is called wit, not trash-talk, and yes, this is a run-on sentence).
I am reminded of a lecture I attended at my high school during my senior year. We students were encouraged to attend the talk by some noted speakers from the USSR (yes, it existed with all of his Eastern European and Various-Stans way back then). The high school auditorium was filled with open, inquiring, and bored minds of high school students. The speakers, with Russian accents, glorified communist governments and provided a Marxist view of evolution of history, in which democracy and capitalism enslaved and deluded people, but would eventually progress to socialist forms of governance.
At the end of the lecture, they invited questions. Of course, I had some, probably something about Christianity and atheism. The speakers eventually dropped their Russian accents. They turned out to be actors pretending to be from the USSR to warn us about the twisted logic of communism. Hmmmm, I think I mostly walked away, no longer trusting adults who would use such theatrical tricks to try to untwist my mind. If I were within a year of doing adult activities, why not talk to me as an adult, persuade me with facts and information.
Yet, we know that few people are rational. We are more likely to develop or change beliefs because we enjoyed the presentation (such as how the Daily Show or Corbert Report used humor to analyze the news trends) or felt engaged (such as protests and demonstrations). Sorry, Socrates and Apollo, Bacchus holds the winning card. Thus, Mr. Yiannopoulus uses
d-mn f–cking humor that his careening-of-the-right-side-of-the-cliff crowd finds amusing and persuasive.
My advise, from the old-guy-who-has-been-protesting since high school, to the youth of today:
- Be cautious of street level protests as these are easily infiltrated by anarchists, hooligans, and looters who will use a crowd to assert their own agenda to the detriment of yours.
- Use nonviolent techniques, such as advocated by Gandhi, Rev. Martin Luther King, and the Occupy movement.
- In the case of lecture by someone whom you oppose, an Occupy style event could include, if the lecture is free (do not pay to go in as this just pads the speaker’s wallet), collect a bunch of tickets, or get in line to go in. Be pleasant and cheerful with those who attending the event. Take your seat. When the event start, pull out your Noise Cancellation Headset, or pop in your ear buds to listen to a your favorite tunes or pod-cast for the duration of the lecture. Do not heckle or verbally attack the speaker. This just advances his arguments about how rude your are. At the end, do not applaud, but politely walk out.
- Or, if the event requires buying a ticket, just occupy the public space, such as the lobby and hallways some time before the event. Again, smile, be polite, and do not prevent or heckle anyone going into the event. When the last call for seats occurs, walk out, leaving the public space empty.
Be informed about what blowhards are up to. But, do not give them a voice. If we ignore Mr. Yiannopoulus he is merely preaching to the
d-mn f-cking choir. He can then feel self-righteous as a voice crying in the wilderness.
One person’s right the freedom of speech does not obligate other people to have to listen. There is no guarantee to the right to be heard.
As a factual side-note, Mr. Yiannopoulos has dual-citizenship in Greece and Great Britain. He is not a US citizen. His freedom of speech is assured under the 14th Amendment, “nor deny any person within in jurisdiction the equal protection of the law.” This concept applies to Syrian refugees, Iraqi interpreters who resettle here, Taiwanese and Indian Hb1 visa holders working in our health care systems and tech industries, foreign students with student visas, and undocumented immigrants.
If I extract out Mr. Yiannopoulos’ offensive and divisive language as comic devises, I could agree with some of his ideas about intolerant groups destroying our concept of tolerating difference view points and customs. But, I can not get past his all-people-fall-into-extremism (except him and his followers) attitude. The Carol Burnett Show had enough satire and wit for me.
Milo Yiannopoulos quotes:
I hope to offend every reader.
Most of the federal government could be shut down.
If there is a sex that deserves to be put in camps, I think women would enjoy being by themselves.
It’s a type of female chauvinism that knows it can get away with anything.
But to be honest I think I’m more feminist than most feminists. I mean sure, I think birth control was a mistake and women are happier in the kitchen, but that’s just my opinion. If women want to ruin their lives with the Pill and a string of unsatisfying one-night stands, that’s up to them.
Hordes of homophobic Muslims are being imported to the west so they can shoot up gay nightclubs, and the left says nothing — except to blame it on “toxic masculinity.”