Milo Yiannopolous, the Ken doll of modern conservatism, stopped by the University of Minnesota for a speech last night. Yiannopoulos, a writer and editor at Breitbart.com, was the invited guest of the Minnesota Republic, the school's conservative newspaper.
Yiannopoulos' topic was "restoring common sense to feminism," and the speech was entitled: "CALM DOWN!" That instruction was not followed, by anyone. His fans, most of them men, gave Yiannopoulos a standing ovation before and after the event.
His detractors didn't listen either: Some feminists protested outside the event, while others managed to sneak their way in, repeatedly interrupting Yiannopolous' speech with airhorns and shouted messages.
As Yiannopolous joked that he wasn't allowed to go near "the black-only dorm," he was drowned out by horns and a few guys who stood up to yell, "You're an asshole!" in the style of a hockey chant. They were led out by campus police, and the discussion resumed — for a couple minutes.
Yiannopoulos was just informing his audience of the "fantasy... conspiracy known as the patriarchy," when another guy yelled out, "Vote women, not women haters!"
While the audience jeered the new heckler, Yiannopoulos looked merely amused by his haters. "They were so much better at Rutgers [University]," he quipped. The reference was to a speech the England native had given at New Jersey's major public university last week, where dozens of protesters chanted against his anti-feminist message.
Soon enough, Yiannopoulos got to the major crux of the argument he's bringing to college campuses. Namely, that what he calls "equity feminism," the ideology that argues for equal opportunity for men and women, has been hijacked and done away with. In its place is a movement run by people who are "very often sexist, sociopathic, mean, cruel, vicious—"
"Like yourself!" yelled the next protester to confront Yiannopolous. Moments later, someone — maybe the same heckler — accused Yiannopoulos of violating a "safe space," capping the message with a healthy "Fuck off, Milo!"
Outside, the larger protest organized by Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) made good use of a rhyming opportunity, chanting "Yiannopoulos out of Minneapolis!" the Star Tribune reports. There were about 40 demonstrators, including Stephanie Taylor, a protest leader who conceded she'd only become familiar with Yiannopoulos' provocative rhetoric days earlier.
In a way, Yiannopoulos' appearance itself will be seen as a victory for free speech purists; other events on college campuses have been canceled, including talks scheduled at Ohio State University and Cornell.
During the question-and-answer session, one guy asked Yiannopoulos and his fellow feature guest, author Christina Hoff Summers, about the adoption of "affirmative consent" standards for University of Minnesota students engaging in sex. "What's the best way to oppose this unconstitutional measure?" the young man asked.
Summers and Yiannopoulos sighed in unison, with Summers explaining that affirmative consent policies are "legally incoherent," as consent cannot be proven unless the sex-havers produce photo or video evidence. Yiannopoulos corrected her: There's actually an iPhone app "made by one of these batty lefty charities," he said.
The app lets a woman give official sanction to the sex act that's about to take place, though Yiannopoulos and Summers didn't see this technology as foolproof, either.
"'I signed it but I withdrew consent between the third and fourth thrust,'" Yiannopoulos joked.
This got a huge laugh out of his audience, which was eating out of the palm of his hand all night. Once the protesters were dragged out, everyone there pretty much had the same ideas about the way the world works, or should, anyhow. They'd found their own safe space.