What Happens When the Joker Becomes the Martyr?
Start writing a post

On Wednesday UC Berkley’s campus erupted in flames. The same place that birthed the Free Speech movement hosted a violent display of rioting, destruction, and censorship after planning to have a debate with controversial Breitbart tech editor Milo Yiannopolous.

To put it simply, Milo is the epitome of loathsome. Originally known for being an expert troll in the gaming world, he has since gone on to become the pretty face of the Alt-Right movement where he spouts rants against immigration, feminism, and political correctness through Breitbart. He was suspended from Twitter after it was discovered that he and his followers were responsible for writing despicable, misogynistic comments about Ghostbusters star and SNL comedian Leslie Jones. His brand of outrageous antics, narcissism, and bigotry has earned him roughly 464,000 subscribers on YouTube and frequent spots on CNBC and Fox. According to an article in Bloomberg Newsweek, he inputs all of his friends into a spreadsheet where they are ranked according to attractiveness, intelligence, income, and political views. On a separate column, he lists whether he should hold, long, or short them. Like stocks in the stock market.

Yiannopolous and his band of cohorts thrive on the tactic of “trolling”. Here’s the breakdown of how it works: liberals or well-known liberal figures make a public comment about white men being racist, and Yiannopolous and his band then begin bombarding their comments section and/or Twitterfeed with swastikas, racist comments etc., all as a means of provocation. Liberals then take the bait and use these “pranks” as evidence to substantiate the earlier claim; Yiannopolous comes out saying that they were jokes and that liberals should stop whining – making them look totally ignorant and fake.

And the fact of the matter is this works with frightening efficiency. During the campaign when Hillary Clinton was making a speech in Reno, NV, Yiannopolous’s group spent hours blasting these provocative statements on her websites, comments sections etc. before the scheduled event. While Hillary was giving her speech about the racist, anti-feminist, and anti-immigration stance of Trump and the alt-right movement she read four articles as evidence for her claims – two of them from Yiannopolous: “Would You Rather Your Child had Feminism or Cancer” and “Birth Control Makes Women Unattractive and Crazy”. In essence he won the PR jackpot: he wrote outrageous headlines and opinionated articles in order to snag attention, and one of the leading figures of liberalism fell for the prank by reading them with head-shaking seriousness – further validating his “brand” if you can even call it that.

Fast-forward to last Wednesday where Berkley students and anti-Yiannopolous members acted out in what they claimed was retaliation against fascism. They tore down barricades, hurled rocks and Roman candles at the building where the event was to take place, as well as at members of Yiannopolous's entourage, and even set fire to a high-intensity light used at construction sites. They also poured gasoline on the street to create another huge fire that set a tree aflame. Police had to resort to the use of rubber bullets and tear gas to control the situation. After posting that he was safely evacuated on Facebook, Yiannopolous commented, “One thing we do know for sure: the Left is absolutely terrified of free speech and will do anything to shut it down.”

By resorting to extremely violent and destructive measures, these students didn’t so much fight against fascism as enable it. Most people watching clips of the riot will immediately jump to bewilderment at what students are doing on campus these days. Why must liberals resort to mass devastation in order to silence someone they disagree with? How can a political group call themselves tolerant when they show such intolerance against someone with different views? And all the while Yiannopolous’s despicable nature is covered by the façade of a martyr for freedom of speech, his heinous acts ignored. And his social capital skyrockets through the roof.

This incident once again proves the truth behind Meryl Streep’s words, “Disrespect invites disrespect, violence incites violence”. We have the right to freedom of speech but we must exercise that right with responsibility. We have the right to speak our minds, to voice our opinions, and to stand against something with which there is vehement disagreement. We do not have the right to harm others or others’ property, because when you resort to that then your voice is muted by vilification. And the sad thing is that some people feel there is no other alternative but violence in order to rebel, to resist, to make a point and make a change. But when you tolerate intolerance for the sake of tolerance, you become just as much a hypocrite as the Christian parent who believes in “unconditional love” yet disowns their gay child, or the supporter of #AllLivesMatter that has nothing to say with regards to immigrants fleeing from the Middle East, or a president, or even presidents, who claims to have the utmost respect for women, only to show their true colors behind closed doors. And in these chaotic times of hypocrites when appearances means everything, the scumbag charlatans like Yiannopolous who know how to play the game emerge as King of the Hill.

Look, I don’t have the answers to everything, and I have no idea how these next few years will turn out – I can’t even predict what I'm doing in the next half hour. But what I’ve learned in life is that whenever you encounter someone whose opinion differs from your own, meet them with open hands and open ears. Listen to understand, not to retort. Show them respect, even if they don’t deserve it. Counter their statements with persuasive facts and knowledge, rather than hatred and destruction. And above all stay knowledgeable and check your sources to know fact from fiction and avoid the provocative pitfalls that are always out there. In return, you inspire them to treat you in kind. It doesn’t happen immediately, but when it does over time the effects are everlasting. That’s how you progress forward with certainty. That’s how you keep the American spirit of freedom and liberty alive, honest, and true. That’s how you silence the trolls and the outrageous entertainers playing on people’s emotions. That’s how you unmask the Jokers in this chaotic world.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Health and Wellness

Exposing Kids To Nature Is The Best Way To Get Their Creative Juices Flowing

Constantly introducing young children to the magical works of nature will further increase the willingness to engage in playful activities as well as broaden their interactions with their peers


Whenever you are feeling low and anxious, just simply GO OUTSIDE and embrace nature! According to a new research study published in Frontiers in Psychology, being connected to nature and physically touching animals and flowers enable children to be happier and altruistic in nature. Not only does nature exert a bountiful force on adults, but it also serves as a therapeutic antidote to children, especially during their developmental years.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

5 Simple Ways To Give Yourself Grace, Especially When Life Gets Hard

Grace begins with a simple awareness of who we are and who we are becoming.

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

If there's one thing I'm absolutely terrible at, it's giving myself grace. I'm easily my own worst critic in almost everything that I do. I'm a raging perfectionist, and I have unrealistic expectations for myself at times. I can remember simple errors I made years ago, and I still hold on to them. The biggest thing I'm trying to work on is giving myself grace. I've realized that when I don't give myself grace, I miss out on being human. Even more so, I've realized that in order to give grace to others, I need to learn how to give grace to myself, too. So often, we let perfection dominate our lives without even realizing it. I've decided to change that in my own life, and I hope you'll consider doing that, too. Grace begins with a simple awareness of who we are and who we're becoming. As you read through these five affirmations and ways to give yourself grace, I hope you'll take them in. Read them. Write them down. Think about them. Most of all, I hope you'll use them to encourage yourself and realize that you are never alone and you always have the power to change your story.

Keep Reading... Show less

Breaking Down The Beginning, Middle, And End of Netflix's Newest 'To All The Boys' Movie

Noah Centineo and Lana Condor are back with the third and final installment of the "To All The Boys I've Loved Before" series


Were all teenagers and twenty-somethings bingeing the latest "To All The Boys: Always and Forever" last night with all of their friends on their basement TV? Nope? Just me? Oh, how I doubt that.

I have been excited for this movie ever since I saw the NYC skyline in the trailer that was released earlier this year. I'm a sucker for any movie or TV show that takes place in the Big Apple.

Keep Reading... Show less

4 Ways To Own Your Story, Because Every Bit Of It Is Worth Celebrating

I hope that you don't let your current chapter stop you from pursuing the rest of your story.

Photo by Manny Moreno on Unsplash

Every single one of us has a story.

I don't say that to be cliché. I don't say that to give you a false sense of encouragement. I say that to be honest. I say that to be real.

Keep Reading... Show less
Politics and Activism

How Young Feminists Can Understand And Subvert The Internalized Male Gaze

Women's self-commodification, applied through oppression and permission, is an elusive yet sexist characteristic of a laissez-faire society, where women solely exist to be consumed. (P.S. justice for Megan Fox)

Paramount Pictures

Within various theories of social science and visual media, academics present the male gaze as a nebulous idea during their headache-inducing meta-discussions. However, the internalized male gaze is a reality, which is present to most people who identify as women. As we mature, we experience realizations of the perpetual male gaze.

Keep Reading... Show less

It's Important To Remind Yourself To Be Open-Minded And Embrace All Life Has To Offer

Why should you be open-minded when it is so easy to be close-minded?


Open-mindedness. It is something we all need a reminder of some days. Whether it's in regards to politics, religion, everyday life, or rarities in life, it is crucial to be open-minded. I want to encourage everyone to look at something with an unbiased and unfazed point of view. I oftentimes struggle with this myself.

Keep Reading... Show less

14 Last Minute Valentine's Day Gifts Your S.O. Will Love

If they love you, they're not going to care if you didn't get them some expensive diamond necklace or Rolex watch; they just want you.


Let me preface this by saying I am not a bad girlfriend.

I am simply a forgetful one.

Keep Reading... Show less
Student Life

10 Helpful Tips For College Students Taking Online Courses This Semester

Here are several ways to easily pass an online course.

Photo by Vlada Karpovich on Pexels

With spring semester starting, many college students are looking to take courses for the semester. With the pandemic still ongoing, many students are likely looking for the option to take online courses.

Online courses at one time may have seemed like a last minute option for many students, but with the pandemic, they have become more necessary. Online courses can be very different from taking an on-campus course. You may be wondering what the best way to successfully complete an online course is. So, here are 10 helpful tips for any student who is planning on taking online courses this semester!

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments