Dangerous Books, $30.00, ISBN 978-0-692-89344-9
Political and Social Commentary, 2017
Longtime visitors to this place will know that I have a sense of humor that can be seen as offensive and insensitive to some people. In many ways, there is a troll inside me that enjoys getting a rise out of people, and I can only nod my head when Milo Yiannopoulos says in his book Dangerous that a masterful troll always includes an element of fact, truth, or honesty in every effort.
Yes, that Milo Yiannopoulos. The self-styled Dangerous Faggot makes an art as well as career out of being an antithesis to the zeitgeist of the American left today. On the surface, he is narcissistic, vain, almost ridiculous (“Feminism is cancer!”), but this book reveals that underneath that cultivated veneer is a sharp, shark-like hunger to provoke and have fun while he’s doing it. Dangerous, if you didn’t know, was supposed to be published by Simon & Schuster, until the collusion of both his detractors in Republican National Committee and his enemies in the left-entrenched mainstream media unearthed some unwise flippant remarks he made about some sexual abuse in his past, and lo, all of a sudden he is a pedophile and pedophile apologist. The book deal was canceled at the last minute, but hey, in this time and age, a man can always self publish, and here he is, with this book.
Now, let me talk about me a bit first, so that you will better understand my reaction to this book. I am, technically, left-leaning, with a big part of me firmly seated in libertarianism. However, over the last few years, what the left in America has become left me – a Malaysian – scratching my head. As an outsider looking into the American political scene, all the hyperbole from the left leaves me wondering whether these people realize how insane they sound. When Donald Trump won the Presidency, these people went mad, and most of them are still insane today, insisting that President Trump is ordering the callous murder of women and gays everywhere when he’s not sending Muslims to concentration camps. One former romance blogger has completely lost it, turning her Tumblr into a regular knee-jerk scree against the President to the point that if he declares that suicide is wrong, she’d be the first to jump off the roof just to spite him. And she’s not the only one who is deranged. I had to unfollow so many people I had on my Facebook and Twitter because all they did was to moan and complain about the President to the exclusion of everything else. (I just checked out a few of them before I sat down to write this review – yes, they are still at it today.)
At the time of writing, on one side we have Hollywood celebrities and NFL millionaires telling me that they are oppressed. On the other side, we have college students and their Marxist professors literally trying to burn down their own colleges to censor free speech – even at Berkeley, which is supposed to the birthplace of free speech. The last breaks my heart, because I have always envied folks in the United States for that very basic right that is nearly nonexistent in many parts of the world. And yet, the very people who enjoy free speech now want it to be taken away so that they will never be subjected to opinions that they disagree with.
I live in a moderate Muslim country, so I can tell you that misogyny, homophobia, and transphobia are well and alive even in the laws of a moderately Muslim country. The Muslim feminists in this country risk their freedom fighting the patriarchy for equal rights for women in many areas of life, and yet. the white non-Muslim feminists and LGBT activists are championing these same rules and cultures while calling anyone who disagree with them Islamophobes and racists. The dissonance is there, probably due to ignorance, as the very act of a non-Muslim woman wearing a hijab in some “unity with the Muslim sistahs” thingy will be frowned upon by the men that enforce the Sharia law. In fact, it tickles me every time I see a TV segment or YouTube video of some American or British woman talking about how liberated and feminist Islam is, as I can immediately tell that their way of wearing the hijab is wrong and immodest. These same proponents of the so-called feminist, LGBT-friendly Islam will not survive a week living under real Sharia law – they will soon be crying for the more lenient and accepting white people laws that they claim to despise.
Mr Yiannopoulos is right when he points out that the left favors the more conservative Muslim politicians and activists – the ones who are everything feminism and LGBT affirmative action should be against – while giving moderate Muslim activists trying to make reforms the cold shoulder. My personal theory is the amount of donation from conservative Muslim countries helping to bolster the DNC. Thank god for the Russians, or the Republicans will never stand a chance!
And that’s my problem with the left today. It’s all identity politics couched in hyperbole that often has little to do with reality. In fact, the extreme, regressive left actually rejects science – something we use to accuse the right of doing – to the point that even hurricanes are sexist, chauvinist, and homophobic according to actual professors in colleges, good lord. Anyone who tries to mention that obesity is a contributing risk factor to diabetes will be shamed and ridiculed for being discriminatory against overweight women, and heaven forbid anyone who mentions that gender dysphoria is technically a mental condition – everyone is genderfluid now, and we have 99 genders to pick from at any day of the week, although for some reason gender still matters when we want to cherry pick reasons to blame white men for our failings.
The tragedy of it all is how so little of all this outrage and drama that happens on a regular basis actually matters. There are reputations ruined and shamed because some people dare to say things that go against the accepted reality of the regressive left, but in the end, what do we achieve? So some NFL millionaires get to kneel – big deal. So JK Rowling get to nag and lecture all of us from one of her many gated, secure mansions, scolding us for not being more accommodating to illegal immigrants when she herself has not taken in any of them into her mansions, and a war of words rage between her detractors and supporters. In the end, what do we end up with? Nothing other than hot air.
That’s why I wasn’t surprised when Donald Trump won. Hilary Clinton ran her campaign on an identity politic platform, while Donald Trump actually addressed the issues and needs of the working class. Okay, so he might be lying or making promises he could never keep, but at least he talked about wanting to make a change. Hilary was too busy waging war on a cartoon frog.
Dangerous addresses all these issues – everything that is wrong with the left these days – with humor and accuracy that makes the leftie in me squirm a bit at times. Of course, with Mr Yiannopoulos being whom he is, there are also about three consecutive chapters of bragging about himself to wade through before I get to the good stuff, but that’s what he is. He’s almost like a caricature of a protagonist in a literary novel by Alan Hollinghurst or something – narcissistic, unapologetic and open about his love for big, black penises – but that’s his charm. And, practicing what he preaches, this master troll makes a good case of coming off as blunt, honest, and upfront with a dose of bitchy humor.
Identity politics is universally attractive because it enables failures and weaknesses to be spun as the products of oppression and historical injustice. Personal responsibility is removed from the equation.
And I don’t see the lie in that statement. As someone living in a country that operates on racial quota, to the point that people of certain races and religions are actively and legally discriminated against when it comes to receiving education, financial aid, employment opportunities, and everything else, I can tell you that a society that lives and dies by identity politics and diversity hiring will stagnant very quickly, as such a system will quickly become abused to enable those favored by the system to create an even larger economical and social divide between those favored and those discriminated against.
This book touches on the hot topics that rage within the identity politics today – race, religion, privilege – and, interestingly, it also offers an actually accurate description of GamerGate. Now, here is where I guess I should also come out of the closet and confess that I was part of the community when the whole drama of Zoe Quinn allegedly giving sexual favors to game reviewers and game magazine editors as well as game competition judges in exchange for positive, glowing coverage as well as prizes. (To her lawyers and fans, please note that italicized word in the previous sentence.) I saw myself how those people accused to be in bed with her come together and immediately orchestrate a narrative where she was being sexually harassed because she was a woman. Oh, sure, there were some slut shaming and accusations of whoredom thrown about – but we are talking about an online community here, what do these people expect? But GamerGate originally started as a movement to counter what is seen as corrupt practices in the gaming industry. When gamers of color as well as women and LGBT members of the community started the #NotYourShield hashtag on Twitter to counter what they saw to be corrupt people using them as a prop to defend their own reputation, and these people are accused of being racists and what not as a result, GamerGate was truly on a roll. The media caught wind and rolled with the ball – gamers are racists, violents, examples of toxic masculinity, et cetera.
I was in the community – under another pseudonym to discuss MMORPGs and fighting games – and I had a front seat to the raging drama that Mr Yiannopoulos describes here in a manner that I find very fair and accurate. And I appreciate that, I really do.
At any rate, I like this book. It helps that Mr Yiannopoulos has put in words my own thoughts and feelings about how the left in the United States has become a cringe-inducing parody of itself, heh, and I see some merit in his claims that this is because the movement has lost its way, hijacked by self-serving people who only want to use identity politics to improve their own standings like cult leaders. As a result, conservatism is now the counter-culture, a movement for the working class rather than the filthy rich upper crust (the filthy rich are now busy donating money to the Democratic National Committee and CNN). In fact, if the colleges in the United States persist at being what they are… I have an ongoing bet with a friend that eventually, in our lifetime, the Harvards and Oxfords will shift from, well, Harvard and Oxford to some universities in Japan, Korea, China, India, and Singapore.
Anyway, Dangerous is an entertaining, well-written middle finger to the state of the left in the United States, presented by a master troll who delights in exploiting the chinks in these people to get under their skin and make money in the process. I like it because I mostly agree with him on the topics covered here, but I have a hunch that open-minded folks who don’t immediately buy the regressive left’s accusation of him being a neo-Nazi may also have a good time with it.