Imagine you don’t get an invitation to a particular party, and someone actually thinks the government should force them to invite you.
Well, you don’t have to imagine. This is what the freeze peachers want.
On Thursday, Universities Minister Jo Johnson put forward proposals for a consultation about challenging so-called safe spaces culture, clamping down on student unions that “no platform” speakers, and uphold free speech. Yes, that’s right – actual government ministers are now spending time examining the great civil rights struggle of our age: the right of a bunch of C-list transphobes and racists to prattle on over a glass of Echo Falls in Lecture Theatre 2 in the Chemistry School to an audience of teenagers who, in most cases, don’t want them there. Because – let’s be honest – the people who are actually popular always get to speak in the end. I mean, I dislike Germaine Greer as much as the next trans person who transitioned to murder and exorcise the ghost of their mother (admit it, Germaine, you just stole your theories from trans women from the plot of Psycho) but I recognise she can still pull a crowd. Which is why her heavily contested talk at Cardiff University in 2015 actually went ahead. That’s the thing you see – for all this talk of censorship many of these “controversial figures” do actually get a lot of airtime.
And why is that? Largely because of the societal advantages of those being “silenced”. I regularly ask for open mic slots on the stand-up comedy circuit and pitch publications with ideas. I’m regularly turned down or get my booking cancelled. But no one cares or calls that censorship because I don’t have a column in the national media to loudly complain about it. I don’t understand myself to have an entitlement to be booked. Student societies and unions are autonomous, self-governing structures – many have their own constitution and elected officers with decision-making abilities. If, for whatever reason, that process results in someone being blocked by a society or union from an invitation it’s for members of those societies who disagree with the decision to take it up with their representatives. In fact – a majority of students agree with this approach even if they won’t agree with every individual result it produces. So it all seems pretty democratic to me. The mainstream media and now government officials getting involved seems petty at best, sinister at worst.
Every day the New York Times doesn’t publish the pitches I’ve sent them is a day I am personally being censored by the Illuminati. This is a totally reasonable opinion that we should ceaselessly debate and every day someone does not pay me to whinge about it on stage is a day where I am being de-platformed.
If you can stomach the freeze peach nonsense, read more here.