In which Laurie Penny comprehensively proves that she has Yiannopoulos's number


Originally published at:


The Westboro Baptist Church business model works, and we have seen the extreme oddities it creates.


Yiannopoulos’s purge was about the fascist right getting rid of its inconvenient, loose-cannon brownshirts before the blackshirts took over.

So he’s playing Ernst Röhm in this little play…


He’s a troll. He says whatever he needs to provoke a reaction. Granting him attention makes him stronger. Don’t feed the troll. Doesn’t really require a lengthy essay.


There is a certain degree of this Streisand effect at play here. I wouldn’t have even hear about this looser if progressive blogs/news outlets that I read wouldn’t be covering his verbal stunts.


He was a troll. When you are speaking directly to an audience of millions of followers, you are no longer a troll.


Did he have millions of followers? I find it difficult to believe he was really that popular. If he was I don’t think he could have been taken down so quickly.


You wouldn’t be, but the person who won the presidency of the United States had him speaking at his rallies and events, and CPAC was all set up to have him as a speaker, so his megaphone was growing dangerously by the day. You could possibly make the argument that the liberal exasperation he engendered strengthened his appeal for the “just make the liberals hurt” contingent, but this is not someone who could be safely ignored into irrelevance.


But that section on Yiannopoulos’s cowardly threat to sue if she called him a racist? Pure genius.

I don’t know if Laurie Penny has a classical education, but that excerpt is an example of apophasis that would give Cicero himself an ear-to-ear grin.

What I’m wondering at this point is if their rapid purge of their own brownshirts is a harbinger of burnout (it took the Nazis almost a year to get around to it) or if it will get them results by normalising Bannon’s blackshirt contingent more quickly.

The essay is less about this thirsty troll and his downfall than it is about the kind of sheltered and callow white man-child dweebs who follow him (and the President*) and about the low bar the alt-right sets for what is considered unacceptable in political discourse (briefly: paedophilia excepted, anything else goes). Her trolling of this troll is a bonus, and shes a really fine writer.


This is not liberalism winning the day. This is the victorious far right purging the brownshirts.

I guess the long knives have come out


This is lousy advice. You don’t ignore trolls. You kill them with fire and acid. Fire and acid in this case means feelings and emotions.


He had hundreds of thousands of twitter followers and only became more popular as a Breitbart writer touring the country to crowds in the thousands each night. Even if “millions” is technically not the correct number, you don’t get to be just a troll and get a $250,000 book deal to market directly towards your fan base.


He only got that far because people bought into his act. He’d say something offensive, and people would spread it all over the internet. And, arguably you can ignore someone into irrelevance eventually. It mostly worked with Sarah Palin. She had a bigger platform than Mr. Y, and now she is in the dustbin of history.


Well arguably there was a bit of Streisand effect contributing to that person’s election victory…



Glad to see BB promoting Laurie Penny. She is an amazingly good writer.


The one grown man on the bus started yelling at them to go the hell to sleep — “there’s a girl back there!”—and they yelled back that they’d let me sleep if I let them “suck my titties.” It’s no surprise to hear that they’re still yearning for the teat, but these babies had best be careful where they go slobbering for the milk of human kindness. I’m just about dried up.
This makes me want to dance.


I’ve been wondering if the Left could employ the same tactics, but it’s impossible. You can’t outrage people with goodness and simple human decency. They might act outraged, but that’s a game.

Are we really a nation where half the people love a good troll more than they love things like health care and clean water?


I liked this piece a lot. AND, there have been some thoughtful (and some angry) critiques of it on twitter, largely by women of color who have been targets by Milo and his goons. They argue that humanizing these guys (even in the scornful and critical way that she does) is doing them too much service, and doesn’t help undo (and maybe even mutes) the harm they’ve caused. I got a lot out of the this article, and out of reading criticisms of it (which, to her credit, Penny seems to be responding to thoughtfully).


Apparently just enough of the fuckers to elect one of their own to ‘lead’ the country.