A while ago I received the following email from ‘CJ’, in Dorset.
“I wonder, considering the recent (ish) examples of universities and other societies’ last-minute cancelling and/or outright denying of certain people to speak at their events, whether this highlights a hypocrisy that could be potentially problematic for the arts?
On one hand we have a drive towards a trend where people wish to have trigger warnings and sensitivity alerts before lectures and talks that discuss difficult subjects in the name of protecting those who may be upset. But….we find no problem in actually watching someone get raped when it’s within the context of a theatrical performance, film or book.
We can’t allow Nicky Morgan to speak at an event, but we’ll watch Lavinia get mutilated and think it art and thought provoking? Or we can watch a Clockwork Orange’s rape of a woman to Beethoven’s 9th and ponder the significance of it?
My point is….I suppose….considering this socially aware behaviour we now display and the social justice that can accompany it….will one day plays like Titus Andronicus be banned? And if not – why not? If we can’t allow Nicky Morgan or Katie Hopkins to speak at a civilised debate because we find their views upsetting, how can we watch or read a play of someone being raped and mutilated and allow it?……What’s the difference? Both should be banned? Both should be allowed?
Do you think that the move towards the consideration of people’s personal difficulties and experiences will spill over into the actual art forms that your classes discuss? And what consequences there will be?“
Here are some of my thoughts:
If you have any questions for the mailbag, then do drop me a line.