What Happens When the Joker Becomes the Martyr?


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.

Being a pharmacy technician never held as many risks as it does now. Exposure too hazardous conditions were little to none, and garbing up was only conducted in IV compounding. But, now, in order to give nurses the medications they need to help their patients, they need us, pharmacy technicians.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

Epic Activewear Deals Every Leggings-Lover Needs To Know About From Nordstrom's Biggest Sale

Wearing my pleather Alo leggings till someone physically removes them from my body.

I'll be the first to admit I'm not an athletic person, at all. Since junior high school, I've been happily cheering my friends on at their football games and soccer matches from the sidelines as long as I could go home to my yoga mat and spend Sunday mornings at Pilates with my mom's friends.

Weekends are often spent in my casual wear, from the second I throw them on for morning meditation through running errands and evening walks. No, I won't be running a marathon or joining my friend's volleyball league anytime soon.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

11 Reasons Why Getting A Cat Is The Best Thing You Can Do For Your Mental Health

Cats may mess up your puzzles but they'll always love you unconditionally — as long as you have some catnip, that is.

Scout Guarino

Alright, everyone, it's time to stop spreading the rumor that all cats are mean, aloof, and hate everyone. Like dogs, each cat has its own personality and tendencies. Some like a lot of attention, some like less — each person has to find the right cat for them. As for me, my cats Bienfu and Reptar have seen me at my worst, but they've also helped pull me out of it. They're a constant in my life and they give me the strength to get through the day in spite of my depression, and there's even scientific evidence to support it!

Keep Reading... Show less

TikTok was banned by the president, but Instagram is here with its newest feature called Reel. Many of us are still wondering why TikTok was being banned in the first place. Was it all the dangerous TikTok trends? It was because of a security concern, but not in the way you might think.

TikTok is owned by Dancebyte, which is a China-owned company. Basically, just like any other app, TikTok collects the user's data. The main question to ask yourself when investing in any app or marketing tools who will be owning my data? So yes, China currently owns all the TikTok user's data worldwide.

Keep Reading... Show less
Disney

I've always been a huge Disney villain fan — whether it was for their cryptic one-liners, enviable outfits, or sidekick banter. Some of the most iconic lines from cinematic history have been said by the characters we love to hate and occasionally dress up as once a year.

The fear-mongering Gaston I now find hilariously cringe-worthy is now charming and oftentimes considered by fans as rightfully justified in his actions. Die-hard fans of the Disney villain fan club claim alternate egos in their favorite evil characters, adopting their hilarious witticisms into everyday life.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

5 Reasons To Put The Damn Mask On, And Stop Fussing With It

COVID-19 is real people, do your part to protect yourself and others.

Ilana Stein

With the ever-changing reality of our world due to COVID-19, there has been one constant throughout these past unforeseen months, masks. Ever since coronavirus hit the ground running in the US, the CDC has been recommending social distancing and mask-wearing to stop the rapid spread.

Many people have been great about adhering to these policies, mandates, and suggested uses, but others, not so much.

Keep Reading... Show less

Anyone who goes to Panera Bread will tell you that their mac and cheese is to die for. If you're a huge fan of their mac and cheese, you won't believe the new recipe they're coming out with!

Keep Reading... Show less

I've been an athlete my entire life. I love movement and I've been jumping, kicking, swimming, dancing, throwing, you name it since I was in diapers. I'm also pretty competitive and probably went through a few sore loser phases. What can I say? I like to win, and losing can sometimes feel like I've failed. Especially, when your competitor is your best friend or someone that you worked all year long to defeat.

Keep Reading... Show less
Swoon

I Asked My Boyfriend His Opinion On Liking Other Girls’ Pictures, And, Spoiler Alert, It's Cheating

"When you get into a relationship and you're in love, you have to realize that liking photos is for the single lifestyle."

Ladies, listen up. If you are in a relationship with a guy and he is liking other girls' pictures on social media, then it's a red flag. A man who can look at someone else and show interest by liking it means he doesn't care about your feelings AT ALL.

Keep Reading... Show less

Picture this, we're settling into our date, the conversation is flowing, we're ordering drinks, laughing, and then it happens... the job convo.

Him: "So what do you do?"
Me: "I'm a dating and relationships editor."

Keep Reading... Show less

- I have extremely sensitive skin, which is why I have always resorted to a plant-based organic beauty line such as Radha Beauty.

- Radha Beauty won me over years ago when I was looking for organic skincare brands.

- I was so excited to see they launched a new line incorporating USDA organic rosehip oil, so when their PR team sent me some, I could not have been more thrilled.

- After a week of using the products, my face felt as smooth as a baby's, looked more glowy than ever, and even cured some of my summer sunburn.

Radha Beauty isn't just a best-selling beauty brand on Amazon — it's a USDA-certified organic beauty brand I live by, and anyone who knows me knows I am all about holistic wellness.

Typically, it only takes three days for me to tell if a skin product is working or not because I have extremely sensitive skin. It's also why I have always stuck by plant-based organic beauty lines such as Radha Beauty.

Keep Reading... Show less

I have definitely had my fair share of breakups. I broke up with my high school sweetheart my second semester of college (he was cheating on me), I had a breakup with another guy I thought I was going to marry, and others in between. Regardless of whether you're the one doing the dumping or being dumped, breakups can HURT.

Keep Reading... Show less

Social media is something many of us have been addicted to (whether we want to believe it or not) since the moment we got it. I remember getting Facebook at 10. Instantly I was hooked. I loved being able to share my life with people, a little too much in my opinion, and I loved being able to see how/what other people were doing all the time.

Keep Reading... Show less

I am not in any way any sort of medical expert. These are just some tricks that work for me and have worked for others who also suffer from anxiety. These may not work for everyone, but I do hope these help some people in their fight against anxiety.

Keep Reading... Show less

-Having struggled with acne prone skin for years, I was cautious to try a new serum on top of the other products I've come to trust.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments