Yesterday I had the pleasure of upsetting Breitbart UK’s children’s toy reporter Milo Yiannopoulos, who beset a small army of angry men’s rights dweebs all over my twitter mentions. I barely knew who Yiannopoulos was at the time, and frankly judging from his twitter account he seems like the sort of neo-reactionary fascist that I wouldn’t allow near my dogs. Nevertheless I decided to check out what sort of hot takes come from a man who honestly believes that gaming culture isn’t a cesspool of awful sexism, and what I found was a garbage dump of really terrible opinions.
BEHOLD what people are getting paid to write in 2014:
Strong start Milo. Great job pissing off the good folks at Disney with your boring/obvious headline. Their lawyers are very understanding about copyright violations.
Everyone dissembles on the internet,
Ahh a man with an online thesaurus. Continue….
whether little white lies on dating sites or whoppers on anonymous forums. The odd harmless bit of embroidery in real life helps to keep conversation sparkling, or avoid awkward moments. But, increasingly, untruths are used online not just as social lubricant, but to fish for sympathy and attention, and even, in some extreme cases, for money.
This is called Capitalism young Milo. Why do you hate freedom?
In fact, you can make quite the career out of playing the victim online, particularly if you have an ideology to hawk.
You work for Breitbart.
Recently, I’ve been reporting on a controversy in the video games industry known as “GamerGate,” which was kicked off originally by questions surrounding the claims of two feminists whose statements did not, said critics, bear scrutiny.
That’s certainly one way to call the sexist maelstrom that these sad shut-ins have started. I prefer the “Benghazi of the video game world“.
Yet both women raised large amounts of money on the basis of claims they were victimised or harassed. Despite one woman having a long track record of dishonesty, bloggers repeated her claims without question, and she now enjoys a permanent income of over $3,000 a month without even having to get out of bed.
Again she’s living the American dream and is (according to your own characterization) personifying the pure essence of the Randian ethos. Don’t hate the player Milo, hate the game(ers).
And crowdfunding site GoFundMe, a “do it yourself” fundraising site that people use to raise money for anything from school fees to holidays, is becoming saturated with politically-charged entreaties from people who claim that a combination of unfortunate personal circumstances and “government cuts” have forced them into penury.
Sob stories are one of the primary currencies of the internet, because they appeal to kind but credulous people – which, let’s face it, is most of us – because it’s easier to tell lies when you’re not looking your victim in the face, and because nobody wants to be the guy who asks for “proof” of another person’s suffering.
Milo is an entirely reasonable and intelligent man who doesn’t give to animal shelters just because of that Sarah McLachlan commercial. NO he calls up the ASPCA and demands videos of dogs being euthanized before he tosses them a spare pence or two.
Perhaps we should, though
No that sounds like a terrible idea, but go on….
The same instinct that propels us to donate to charity when we see an emotionally manipulative ad on TV is at play online, except, because anyone can now become a charity on behalf of themselves and use social media to promote their cause, space has been opened up for fraudsters, liars and people who perhaps don’t need the money so much as they want attention for their causes or for themselves.
A right-winger who wants legal regulation over the charity industry? Well this is a novel idea.
No longer do people give $500 to scientists curing cancer, or protecting children, once a year.
Probably because they are too busy spending that $500 curing their own cancer or trying to keep their own children alive thanks in part to those savage government cuts you glossed over earlier chief.
(Charities themselves are relaxed about that, because they get so much money from the government these days.)
It’s almost refreshing to see a right-winger who rejects neoliberalism and instead embraces the age old “turn poor people into mulch” ideology.
Instead, ordinary people pepper their lives with little $5 bursts, each time they see a “worthy mission” or suffering person on social media.
When Milo Yiannopoulos plays Minecraft he makes sure that the weak and suffering have their place (under a pile a bricks).
It’s easy to see why. Giving makes us feel good, and in today’s attention-deficit, piecemeal culture, we prefer 100 hits of dopamine and self-righteousness spread throughout the year than we do one big burst of smugness. But it’s one thing to give to a charity or donate to a bike ride or half-marathon in aid of cancer, or sick kids. It’s quite another thing to just hand people money on the basis of implausible stories.
Yes because established charities are paragons of righteousness and ethical financial behavior. Keep racing for the Cure y’all.
Yet people do – so, predictably, unscrupulous sociopaths are taking advantage, because with such ready access to gullible people and payment systems such as PayPal, which make it easy to handle large volumes of small payments, almost anyone can set themselves up as a person in need and start soliciting cash from an online profile.
Damn unscrupulous bastards using GoFundMe to get “training” on how to protect kids in the legal system.
Some profiles don’t ring true, and are fairly obviously fake. Others have a suspicious whiff of politics or ideology about them.
Have beliefs on how a particular policy should be conducted in your society and want funding to make it happen? WELL YOU SHOULD STARVE YOU INSOLENT DEMON FROM HELL.
Still others are probably real, but lay the pathos and political posturing on so thick it can be hard to take them seriously. Take the GoFundMe profile I’m currently reading. The person, a transsexual woman, says she wants money to go back to university. She had a cancer scare (she says she was “diagnosed with cancer” but later admits she doesn’t have it, so presumably this was a slip of the tongue). So did her father and grandmother, at the same time.
Because Milo is a great journalist he doesn’t link to the profile in question, nor does he provide screenshots supporting any of what he is alleging here. So I’m just going to assume that he, like most somewhat sane people, thinks that Justine Tunney is a dolt.
She became “depressed” after reading an article in a newspaper she did not like. She is disabled, and, she says, unable to walk or urinate properly after surgery readers are led to conclude was gender reassignment. “Queer Resistance,” a movement of gay people against government cuts, is heavily plugged in her profile.
Again an even somewhat ethical journalist would ask for a comment from the person he is alleging to be engaged in some sort of low-level scam. But Milo as works for Breitbart, presumably that whole training on “how to properly demonstrate the facts as they exist” was instead replaced by “queer bashing for clicks 101″.
The strategies used by people who want free money from strangers are working. The woman above raised £1,693, £443 more than her target of £1,250. Another woman on the site, who describes herself as a “queer babe,” says her workplace “docked her pay by 50%” for “being disabled.” She raised £2,500.
Both profiles were shot through with sharply-written, politicised complaints about government policy and contained eyebrow-raising claims. But, with the help of a few tweets from well-followed journalists, punters were roped in to helping people on the basis of a few paragraphs of purple prose. The very people who fact-check for a living – reporters – are perhaps the worst offenders when it comes to sharing around pleas for cash.
Again, Milo provides not one scant link or example to support this assertion, so I’ll just assume he’s talking about this plea from fellow conservative journalist Charles C. Johnson:
Is it going too far to suggest that many of these identical-looking profiles are somehow co-ordinated, perhaps benefiting people who look very little like the women in the profiles? That’s the subject of a forthcoming investigation by my colleague, Jeremy Wilson.
I’m waiting on pins and needles for this inevitably objective and well sourced piece [12 hour fart noise].
Whatever the truth behind individual online begging bowls, social and financial incentives on the internet run counter to truthfulness and integrity, which explains the explosion of manipulative entreaties in recent years.
Ahh yes because it was dishonest online pleas for hundreds of dollars that brought down the global economy and not a mountain of fraudulent credit default swaps that were enabled by decades of deregulation in the financial sector.
In other words, if you shout loud enough – particularly as a member of a minority, or even just posing as one – you can garner sympathy, attention and hard cash. And you do even better if you fabricate or ham up abuse, harassment and threats you supposedly received. Not quite the brave new online world we were promised, is it?
Milo Yiannopoulos wears slip-on clown shoes (made by Gucci) because he obviously can’t be trusted to tie his own.