Former Breitbart tech editor Milo Yiannopoulos is scheduled to publish his book Dangerous next Tuesday, on Independence Day. Ahead of that release Gizmodo has obtained a copy of the finished book, as well as the January draft previously leaked to Buzzfeed. Maybe “the most controversial book of the decade” was intended as a career comeback, but it reads like an epitaph.
Ugly as his beliefs may be, it’s inarguable that Milo’s built his career by knowing how to captivate an audience. By contrast, Dangerous is dreadfully dull. Beneath the regurgitated propaganda arguing against a fair, multicultural, egalitarian society is a portrait of an e-celebrity without an audience, a blogger without a publisher, and, above all, an attention-seeking troll whose playbook of goads no longer elicits any emotion whatsoever. To the detriment of the book, self-reflection is utterly absent.
Originally, the book was to be published in mid-March by Simon & Schuster. But following the discovery of an interview in which Yiannopoulos appeared to condone pedophilia by referencing his own sexual experiences with older men at the age of 13, he offered an ignominious resignation from his position with Breitbart, was disinvited from CPAC where he was slated to be a keynote speaker, and was dropped by his publisher, all in short order. Disgraced, he later made clear his intentions to sue Simon & Schuster, though no such suit has materialized.
With self-publishing his only remaining option, Yiannopoulos largely dropped out of the spotlight, presumably to finish writing Dangerous.
Milo’s opus clocks in at just over 68,000 words when stripped of front and backmatter, although that number is closer to 63,000 due to his compulsive penchant for padding chapters with lengthy quotes, the origins of which range from Andrew Breitbart to Hannah Arendt to Gizmodo.
In a statement to Buzzfeed, Milo claims the leaked draft had “been substantially rewritten since [January].” Surprisingly, the prose does look to have been revamped somewhat. There’s a new introduction blithely titled “So About That Whole Drama” which addresses his disinvitation from CPAC and ensuing fall from disgrace; a subsection titled “Milo’s College Rankings” which lists a mere 16 higher learning institutions divided into two cliche tabloid-style categories—Heroes and Zeroes; a few paragraphs now discuss the barely-remembered “donglegate” dustup from 2013.
The substance of the book has remained largely unchanged in the six month interim. It remains a tedious and at times bitter self-defense written by a man who claims to enjoy the negative attention he sought out. In the parlance of Twitter—a platform Yiannopoulos hasn’t been welcome on for nearly a year—Dangerous is 275 pages of “I’m not owned! I’m not owned!”
Just as was the case before, Dangerous gives away nothing of Yiannopoulos’s upbringing, his time at Breitbart, or scuffle with the Republican establishment which ruined him. Here’s a smattering of the topics which Milo spent many months writing and rewriting: Is Pepe the frog a racist symbol? Was Twitter right to ban him? Why are feminists ignoring the plights of men? Is abortion wrong? Does rape culture exist? Is the ‘one-in-four women’ statistic about sexual assault accurate? Are Muslims all terrible people? Is the Black Lives Matter movement full of shit? Should Brianna Wu, Anita Sarkeesian, and Zoe Quinn be grateful for their harassment by GamerGate—a movement which hit its peak relevance nearly three years ago?
Anyone with even a passing familiarity with Milo’s brand already knows his stances, which have been enunciated louder and more compellingly by other personalities in the right-wing media—and debunked many times over. (They’re also topics which Milo has already written about exhaustively in blog posts for Breitbart, which can be read for free.) Dangerous is not offensive, shocking, or thought-provoking. Had it met its original release date of mid-March, many of the topics contained within would still have felt well past their prime.
Page after page recounting years-long grudges suggest that what he sees as the soft, identity-obsessed, participation award-craving liberals Milo makes his money riling up are the very same people whose affection and understanding he desperately craves. In his own words: “People often accuse me of being an attention-seeker. They’re right, of course.”
Milo also expends considerable ink griping about the left’s readiness to conflate right-leaning groups and misunderstand the language and tactics deployed by his former cohorts; meanwhile he fails to grasp and goes out of his way to undermine core concepts important to the Black Lives Matter movement, transgender people (whom he refers to as “trannies”), Muslims, and feminism, among others. Is it surprising to see bald hypocrisy in Dangerous? Of course not. But throughout he also refers to the political movement of which he was a figurehead as the “alt-right”—a label which young, moderate conservatives still clinging to ideas espoused by Milo (and others) almost universally reject due to its association with white nationalism.
One of the few cogent ideological threads that can be followed through the maze of petty grievances that is Dangerous is Milo’s enduring belief in the power of humor. “Be twice as funny as you are outrageous, because no one can resist the truth wrapped in a good joke,” he suggests, correctly, though the lesson manages to evade him. Attempts at humor in the book fall flat, not for being offensive, but for being either obvious or overly shrill. Perhaps knowing this, the line “I’m just too smart, too funny, too popular and too successful to ignore” in the January draft is omitted, substituted by a humbler appeal to the content of his character:
I’m not the best because I’m the funniest or the smartest or the most attractive person among conservative and libertarian celebrities. I’m the best because I work harder than everyone else.
Likewise the subsection “Why I’m So Great” no longer appears in the finished product. In the course of trying (and failing) to insult anyone and everyone, Yiannopoulos manages to liken himself to a diverse cast of characters both real and fictional that include Oscar Wilde, Freddy Mercury, Nigel Farage, Martin Luther King Jr., Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and the raptors in Jurassic Park. But the toning down of his character’s signature egotism manages to make the book all the duller. It’s a shame he lacked the conviction to fully inhabit the character now that it’s his own money on the line rather than Simon & Schuster’s.
Part and parcel to Milo’s affinity to abuse quotes like a high school student desperate to hit a page count, Dangerous is nothing if not an attempt to ingratiate himself back into any group who will have him. Positive name-drops include Ann Coulter, PayPal founder Peter Thiel, Fox News’s Tucker Carlson, Rebel Media’s Lauren Southern, Lucian Wintrich of The Gateway Pundit, YouTube personalities Stephan Molyneux and Daniel Keem, James O’Keefe of Project Veritas infamy, and Trump advisor and former boss Steve Bannon. (The former two even submitted blurbs for the book jacket.)
And of course, Trump himself, whom he frequently refers to as “daddy.”
But there are appearances to keep up, and Milo couches his subtextual contrition/job hunt with any opportunity to flaunt his credentials as a rebellious anti-establishment type, including a few toothless warnings to his own:
Like the Left’s political correctness, the Right’s political correctness is collectivist and reductive in its logic. It will destroy the lives of innocent people if it goes unchecked. We must fight against it until it dies.
The majority of the bile Yiannopoulos spits towards the rightwing is directed at old-guard Republicans, embodiments of a rigged system. Had he stuck by what few principles he has and declined the invitation to speak at CPAC—which managed to tarnish his reputation in a way the media simply couldn’t—his 15 minutes of fame might well have extended into a legitimate political career.
All memes die. It’s a fact of the internet Milo inhabits. And Milo, the memetic avatar designed to drive oversensitive liberals into apoplectic rage, has reached the end of its internet shelf life. His schtick has been done better by others, and the reactionary cruelty which elicited horror now only registers as a grating hum. Ironically, in helping elect Trump, Milo and those like him made themselves obsolete: America now faces greater problems than the mean-spirited shitposts of a preening hack.