Conservative commentator Lauren Southern has announced her retirement, at the ripe old age of 23. This comes on the heels of some blistering accusations from the likes of Milo Yiannopoulos:
“Southern, famously, writes very little of her own material, and has often embarked on sexual liaisons with men who have helped her with video scripts or notes for her content. While giving speeches about the “trad life,” which typically refers to fidelity in same-race nuclear families, Southern was, in the indelicate words of one major YouTuber, “throwing herself around what seemed like the entire conservative movement in exchange for help with her writing.” We approached four of the men she has been linked to romantically, each of them a prominent Right-wing media figure in a position to help Southern succeed professionally. All four begged not to be named in this story.”Dangerous.com
Milo Yiannopoulos is certainly a smart guy, but I frankly wonder how stable he is. I’m fine with him being gay and all. (This is 2019, right?) But this is the same Milo who sang the National Anthem a few years ago while dressed as Marlyn Monroe.
Who knows? There is something suspicious about the timing of Southern’s departure. To the best of my knowledge, Southern has made no public rebuttal of Yiannopoulos’s allegations.
Southern, whatever one thinks of her, is no shrinking violet. So why would she simply fade away, without answering the charges?
Again, the timing invites suspicion.
In recent years, there has been a welter of attractive women in their early twenties who have become spokespersons in the conservative movement. They often utilize YouTube and other visual social media platforms.
What I’m trying to say, as delicately as possible, is that nothing sells any message like a comely young twentysomething woman, especially when the audience is predominantly male.
But there is more than simple sex appeal involved here. There is an overwhelming perception (shared by the right and the left), that conservatism is predominantly the philosophy of “old white dudes”…or at least white dudes. Conservatives, as much as anyone, want to be seen as hip and cutting-edge. So when a spritely woman not old enough to remember the Soviet Union and Ronald Reagan takes up the conservative cause, she is bound to attract an audience, provided she’s reasonably articulate. (Note the appeal of Candace Owens—who is young, and very attractive, and African American.)
I should probably take this opportunity to come clean: I was never really familiar with Ms. Southern’s work, but I have been known to watch Lauren Chen (aka Roaming Millennial). Chen is a young, female, attractive YouTuber. Ms. Chen regularly takes to task the “snowflakes” of her generation, and the various diktats of political correctness.
I would guess that Ms. Chen is about 23 years old—more or less the same age as Lauren Southern. She is reasonably articulate, and she’s good in front of a camera.
But here’s the rub: Ms. Chen doesn’t tell me anything I haven’t heard before. She mostly recycles standard Republican talking points.
If I want conservative commentary, an issue of National Review is likely to be a lot more informative.
So why do I watch Lauren Chen?
Because I’m a guy, and an easy mark for an attractive young woman who validates my political beliefs. That’s why.
I am perfectly okay with the success of young female activists on the right. I won’t bother to refute their critics, who complain that they owe their success partly to their youth and looks. YouTube is a visual medium, and attractive young people have always had an advantage on camera. That’s the way the world works; deal with it.
I’m also okay with the fact that much of what Lauren Chen says is derivative. I will read books and 2,000-word editorials. Not everyone will—especially among the post-literate, Millennial generation.
Admittedly, Lauren Chen is no Roger Scruton. But then, Roger Scruton wouldn’t be a very big hit on YouTube, would he?