“Sociopath.” “Flamboyant.” “Outrageous.” “Fantastic hair.”
Breitbart Tech editor Milo Yiannopoulos is the star of a new documentary out this week, American Milo — and I’ve already seen it twice. Milo requested the opportunity to write this review himself (because of course he did), but in the interest of objectivity, the project has fallen to me.
American Milo follows the British Yiannopoulos’ adventures in Los Angeles, California, one of the last great bastions of conservatism in the United States.
There, Milo is at his best: observe as he gets kicked out of Amber Rose’s Slut Walk; hangs out with Joe Rogan and Dave Rubin; samples traditional Jewish food (did you know that he’s technically Jewish?); shoots a .357 Magnum; and reluctantly enlists the bodyguard services of African-American porn star Jovan Jordan at a GamerGate meet-up.
Peppered throughout the film are the requisite interviews with current and former Yiannopoulos associates, including former employee and “friend” Ezra Butler (“Milo’s probably the worst person I’ve ever met in my life”), libertarian media reporter Lauren Southern (“Ridiculous human being; lovely though”), and right-hand-man Allum Bokhari (“He does love the camera and Internet and TV, and anywhere where he can be the center of attention.”).
Yiannopoulos also explains a great deal about the shifting cultural attitude that’s fueled much of his work: “It’s such a wonderful moment in culture right now. On the decline is the horrible, oppressive political correctness of yesterday; on the rise is this strident, mischievous, fabulous cultural libertarianism.”
And sure, there’s also a bit of self-love: “I’ve found people love me in America,” he says at the beginning of the film. “They really get off on this flamboyant Brit who’ll just say any crazy thing.”
But the rest of the film paints a much more nuanced portrait of Yiannopoulos, both as a journalist and as a man.
It is impossible to star in an autobiographical documentary and not succumb to the ego trip that such an endeavor precipitates. As Milo himself concedes: “People have rightly noticed that I quite enjoy attention, and I do. I’m not going to lie about it.”
But there’s much more to Milo than even he is perhaps comfortable admitting, some of which is captured in this (too-short) short film. The nut of it is this: the vanity, the outsized personality, the boisterousness, the fabulous hair; it’s all a cover for some of the best journalism currently being produced on the Internet.
If so-called “mainstream” journalism is a megaphone, then Yiannopoulos is a 20,000 watt speaker system — and he shares the mic with the little guy.
That’s what Milo’s detractors just can’t grasp, and it’s why the left is so scared of him. He’s connected with the people that the mainstream media and its breathless lapdogs in the far-left blogosphere have cast out as “rejects:” conservatives, women who don’t consider themselves feminists, thoughtful trolls, or anyone, really, who is capable of thinking for themselves and forming complex opinions. Where the mainstream media has put up a velvet rope around its party, Milo’s party has no such rope — and besides, Milo’s party has the coke and trolls and hookers and fun.
American Milo is not without its shortcomings; at just under 30 minutes long, it is entirely too short, though if the goal was to “keep them wanting more,” director Loren Feldman succeeded, I suppose. There is a bit featuring a puppet that feels somewhat out of place, and it would have been informative to hear Yiannopoulos discuss his journalistic craft a bit more. But these are minor quibbles.
I won’t spoil any more by prattling on about it; it’s worth checking out for yourself.
American Milo is available on Vimeo here.