It was a mediocre performance for Milo and the panel mobilized weak rebuttals to lazy trolling. It seems all this noise leads nowhere except the applause or jeers of the divided masses, who ultimately only show up to be entertained.
Maher said to Milo, “You remind me of a young, gay, alive, Christopher Hitchens.” I see how a casual viewer might have that impression, but it absolutely surprises me that Maher would have it. Hitchens was on another level.
Hitchens’ main goal was not to shock. He never opened with hostility or rudeness. Sure, if given even the slightest opening, he would eviscerate an opponent (poor Mose Def!) but it was never the endgame. Hitchens’ career was not based on clicks and YouTube views. It is impossible to underestimate the influence of the click economy on modern political discourse.
However, Hitchens’ legacy is not immune. His most ascerbic assaults are collected in videos and dubbed “hitchslaps.” Even someone like myself, who loved Hitchens when he spoke about literature best of all, can spend hours watching him dismantle charlatans like Al Sharpton and Deeppockets Chopra. I guess I’m just as bad as everyone else.
I wish we could see more actual debate and less insulting. Who knows? Maybe Milo will evolve. Maybe we will.
Don’t hold your breath, though.