Must we, with Lauren Southern?
Evidently, yes. The 22-year-old "commentator, author, journalist, and Youtube sensation" is the featured guest at a public event on the University of Minnesota campus tomorrow night. A poster for the event says Southern will address "the Evils of Socialist Authoritarianism and Necessity of Free Speech"; so stark are Southern's takes, the description requires the use of capital letters where you would not expect them.
Southern will be speaking at a free event organized by Collegians for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT), a conservative student group made up of a surprisingly diverse membership of... nah, just kidding. Here they are hanging out by a lake.
On its event page, CFACT deliberately rubs in the fact that costs related to Southern's appearance at the liberal arts university will be paid for by student fees.
According to a recent Vice profile, Southern's early journalistic accomplishments include calling Black Lives Matter a “'divisive, violent movement that has fascistic tendencies,' falsely claiming they’ve caused more deaths in the last 30 years than the Ku Klux Klan." Media Matters has a rundown of stuff Southern has said and done through March 2017... a list which includes the day that month she got invited to the White House press briefing room.
In spite (or because) of Southern's strained relationship with the truth, she's gained a pretty big following: Ann Coulter likes her, as does Richard Spencer, the alt-right leader known for shouting "Hail Trump!," and for getting punched in the face.
Southern's Youtube channel has 370,000-some followers, a shockingly high number given its boring content. Here's 13 minutes of her and "Brittany" sitting on a couch blathering on about the "amazing and terrific ups and downs" Ms. Southern thinks life is supposed to be made of. If you're looking for life advice from a 22-year-old racist, go for it. (Note that Southern wears a shirt from Europa Nostra, a creepy "cultural heritage" organization.)
More than 192,000 people have watched that video.
Fewer than 100, meanwhile, are confirmed as "going" to Southern's U of M speaking engagement, which is to be held in Wiley Hall's West Bank Auditorium, though another 211 have labeled themselves "interested [in the philosophical musings of a 'Youtube sensation' whose strenghts include fact-free trolling and undeniable blondeness]."
Southern likes to show up at liberal rallies -- organized against Islamophobia, or rape culture, for example -- and confront the attendees on camera, often so she can deny the underlying cause for holding the event in the first place. It seems she might be due for a dose of her own medicine, as some campus-area progrssives are calling for an "open ended anti-fascist block" to counter Southern's appearance.
"Come with a close friend or better yet an affinity group," reads that missive, which warns anti-fascists to obscure their faces, due to the "expected presence of alt-right and alt-lite livestreamers who will surely be taking video footage to single people out for doxxing after the dust settles." In short, sounds like this could get weird, not unlike when the since-disgraced Milo Yiannopolous gave his dark little lecture on campus in 2016.
Since his downfall, Milo's had some scheduled on-campus engagements canceled, and there have apparently been rumors of canceling the appearance by Southern, who is currently pre-disgraced. CFACT has addressed these claims on the event page, writing Monday night, "Any information about the event being canceled is Fake News."
And if you're looking for more of that, wait 'til you hear Lauren Southern's speech!
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