You might somehow have picked up on this already, but conservatives are pretty fond of self-described “internet supervillain” Milo Yiannopoulos. Having run out of things to actually have convictions or beliefs about, the modern right has made a hard pivot into doing and saying things solely for the gratification of pissing people off – something that would make you a huge piece of shit if you did it in person, but which is apparently fine if it’s for politics.
Yiannopoulos’ strong suit is that he doesn’t really care if what he says is true or makes sense or is logically consistent with any of his other stated positions, giving him complete freedom to be the biggest asshole he can possibly be. For this reason, other conservatives use him as a proxy: they get to give him platforms to make people upset without making themselves appear quite as reprehensible as he is though.
Sky News host and Herald Sun columnist Andrew Bolt has done this a bunch, absolutely wallowing in the things that Yiannopoulos is allowed to say because (as he will unfailingly mention within the first 30 seconds of opening his mouth at a given appearance) he’s a gay man of Jewish ancestry who only sleeps with black men. Yiannopoulos’ many appearances on Bolt’s show consisted of him saying something stupid as shit while Bolt chuckled quietly, shaking his head like someone who just witnessed one of their children do something awful but simultaneously adorable.
It seems even Bolt has his limits for the sort of things he’ll condone, though, telling 3AW‘s Steve Price last night that he considered walking out while hosting Yiannopoulos’ show:
He’s got some good things to say about politcal correctess and identity politics and free speech, all that sort of stuff – big ticks . On stage he adopts a more gay persona, which somehow gives him a license; the more gay you are, the more scandalous you can be. He trades off a stereotype and he does that deliberately.
I thought some of the rudeness, the vitriol, was nasty and I didn’t like it. Clementine Ford, he called her un-effable, but he used the whole word. Jessica Rowe, he said she was born a man. He said Muslim asylum seekers were skilled at only a few things, including raping women. I thought those things were dreadful, terrible.
At first I thought ‘Do I walk out or do I go back out and confront him?’, so I chose that one, so I said to him, on stage, ‘I don’t like what you did.’ [The audience] weren’t on my side, it was obviously it was a bit of a downer to have that said, old father Bolt coming to tell the children to go to bed.
While Bolt himself has launched sustained attacks against Clem Ford and Muslims in general, he’s always been a stickler for politeness. Like a lot of the political and media class, he’s of the mind that it really doesn’t matter what you say or do, as long as you don’t use any rude words. It smacks of hypocrisy, but at least it’s a concession that Yiannopoulos is needlessly being a dickhead.
You can listen to the clip below:
Between this and his revised position on the need to get more women into traditionally male-dominated industries, it’s almost like he’s growing a bit of a heart.