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Safe space! 

It’s important for all people to feel safe, to be free of “micro-aggressions,” and to be given “trigger warnings” to inform them that they might be subjected to something offensive, which is no doubt why Breitbart online editor, “alt-right” pundit, and self-described “dangerous faggot” Milo Yiannopoulos was given a “safe space” on Jan. 31 in Cal Poly’s Spanos Theatre.

To make sure Milo felt “safe,” the university surrounded the theater with chain link fence and deployed dozens of law enforcement officers, a couple of K-9 units, rooftop sentries, and a SWAT team to protect him from protesters who might hurt his feelings by telling him they don’t like his anti-Muslim, anti-feminist, anti-social-justice, anti-political correctness, anti-gay rights, anti-liberal views. We wouldn’t want little Milo to get his feelers hurt, would we?

What a wonderful use of university—and hence taxpayer—funds! Gotta make sure Milo’s free speech rights are protected no matter the cost! And what truth bombs and wisdom IEDs did Milo drop on his audience at this extravagant cost? It must have been something really deep and important, right? Nope. Just standard boilerplate anti-abortion arguments. Really? That’s it? Cal Poly’s College Republicans went through all this hassle, the university went to all this expense, traffic and parking was disrupted, all so a 32-year-old, two-time college dropout and British provocateur could drone on for an hour or so about how terrible abortion is?

Sigh. He seemed like he was phoning it in, too, like a past-his-prime rock star at the end of a long tour trying to muster the energy to sing his “hit” song one last time without falling asleep on stage. He looked almost as bored with his rhetoric—which he read off a script—as the weirdly unresponsive audience (was there a carbon monoxide leak in the theater?), which frequently failed to laugh at Milo’s “jokes.” You know, classy stuff about how Cal Poly’s a “sausage fest” because 53 percent of its students are male, and something about “sucking off a 17-year-old.” Hilarious. Clap. Clap. Clap.

Look, Milo, if you and your fellow pro-birthers want to curtail abortion—which has already been decreasing for decades—I’ll help. Require comprehensive sex education in schools and offer women (and men) free birth control. Ka-pow! Done! It’s a lot cheaper and less dangerous than outlawing abortion.

Meanwhile outside the theater, the Big Bad Protesters—maybe 150 or so—ranged from the passive to the asinine. As attendees of Milo’s talk streamed in, protesters chose to essentially ignore them, and attendees followed suit. No one yelled, “You’re about to listen to a fascist Nazi,” or, “Milo’s a self-loathing gay man who hates women.” Likewise, no one yelled back, “Go hide in your safe space, snowflake,” or, “If you want to protest something, how about the abortion holocaust?” Proving once and for all that real life and social media do not share the same language, vitriol, or flamboyance.

Well, except for a group of black-masked protesters who attempted to burn a Confederate flag, which didn’t want to ignite … stupid flame-retardant flag! Yeah, a handful of faux-ninjas couldn’t light a flag on fire. Sad.

What little protest spunk was on display was aimed more at law enforcement than Milo fans: “Is this your job? Really?” asked one protestor to a police officer who was no doubt thinking, “Hell yes, you little punk, and I’m making wicked overtime right now for standing around guarding a right-wing nut job from a bunch of entitled left-wing whiners.”

Yes, friends, the real winner on Tuesday night wasn’t free speech, Milo Yiannopoulos, College Republicans, Cal Poly, or protesters—it was law enforcement, which no doubt banked enough dough to send their kids to Cal Poly.

Lucky for them, under Cal Poly President Jeffrey Armstrong’s forceful leadership, Cal Poly is better than ever! Remember how Armstrong promised to address student activist group SLO Solidarity’s demands for a more inclusive and tolerant campus? How’s that going, Jeff? Well, the group Real SLO Solidarity has been posting fliers on campus that say stuff like this, “There are only three genders: male, female, and, a few retarded people,” and, “WHITE PEOPLE Check your ‘white privilege.’ You’ll find it’s still awesome.”

Wow, Prez-A, I can’t believe your lip service didn’t end hate on campus. Weird.

We also discovered why all those African-American employees left Cal Poly. Ashley Eberle of the CSU staff union the Academic Professionals of California completed exit interviews and discovered that employees of color left because they felt like they were working in an unsupportive environment that bordered on the hostile, and that they were left to shoulder the entire burden of making minority students feel welcome and supported. #CalPolySoWhite?

Well, just to prove that he’s super good at talking out of both sides of his mouth, Armstrong issued a tersely worded statement condemning President Donald J. “Pretty Sure the J Stands for Jackass” Trump’s Muslim ban, which might affect three Cal Poly students—two Iranians and a Syrian—who are paying serious out-of-state tuition, but that’s not why Armstrong cares, I’m positive!

Did you also hear Armstrong granted an interview with Cal Poly’s student newspaper, Mustang News, but he brought not one but two of his PR flacks with him? Was that to hold your spine straight, Jeff? Hey, it’s hard to run a university. You’ve got to walk a political tightrope! You try doing it with a jelly spine and a forked tongue.

The Shredder wants to spank Milo but is afraid he’d like it. Send ideas and comments to shredder@newtimesslo.com.

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