The political climate of America right now is more akin to a violent soap opera than a rational forum for discussion. To think, just this past summer Brexit seemed outlandish. Now, it feels like a mild rain compared to the hailstorm that has been the last 30 days. Our president is an orange reality show star with alleged Russian connections who, with top policy advisor Steve Bannon, is pushing a racist, sexist, xenophobic and anti-Semitic agenda with policies such as the immigration ban.
Meanwhile, the most prominent, outrage-inducing spokesperson for the conservative Alt-Right, Milo Yiannopoulos — known for his anti-feminist and anti-transsexual views — has gone from the internet’s most controversial celebrity to completely losing his livelihood. Yiannopoulos lost a book deal and was pressured to resign from his position at Bannon’s brainchild, Breitbart News, because of comments that seemed to condone sexual relations between older men and boys as young as 13.
I won’t lie and say that I’m not amused by how Yiannopoulos has tumbled from stardom, but I have to think his demonization is an indication that the safe-spacers and the cult of outrage won a battle to suppress “offensive” speech.
Yiannopoulos, like Icarus, flew too close to the sun. Though his clever acting and charisma protected him from a career-ending attack up until now, the heat of stardom and big TV appearances, like his embarrassing showing on “Overtime with Bill Maher,” catapulted him into the country’s political narrative. Once you reach the level of exposure he did, finding a nail-in-the-coffin piece of dirt — like the pedophilia video from the fairly unknown “Drunken Peasants podcast” — is bound to happen.
While the “Access Hollywood”tape nearly sank Trump, it didn’t seem to bother his supporters in the slightest. I think this may not be the case for Mr. Yiannopoulos. His rapid ascent to fame was problematic because once acquired, the cold chains of infamy are difficult to escape. Now even his supporters are turning on him now.
All of this aside, there is a lesson here. In the words of Bill Maher:
"You know what he is? He’s the little impish, bratty kid brother. And the liberals are his older teenager sisters who are having a sleepover and he puts a spider in their sleeping bag so he can watch them scream."
While it is important for offense speech to be protected — and it is somewhat disappointing that we have lost such a magnificently belligerent voice of disparagement as Milo Yiannopoulos — there is evidently a limit to what even Breitbart will tolerate when it comes to invasive and aggressive speech. Yiannopoulos tested that limit, and like Icarus, he was burned.
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the writer and are not representative of The Slate or its staff as a whole.