1642 the Puritans closed all the theatres, 2021 and the left is at it again.

Comedian David Baddiel recently commented that his last play had every line scrutinised to see whether it might offend or ‘trigger’ anyone on the grounds of race, gender or disability. Strangely, he wasn’t bothered at all and wants more policing of our language. Last February, his book, Jews Don’t Count, argued that antisemitic bias remains largely unpoliced and this week complained about a character in a play being named Hershel Fink. Apparently as Fink was rich and unpleasant that amounted to ‘Jewish stereotyping.’ The theatre immediately apologised and agreed to change the name, admitting that the mistake had been made due to ‘unconscious bias,’ a condition as yet unidentified by doctors and psychiatrists.

His attitude seemed was odd to me as I worked in newspapers where the subs who chopped and changed your work were the enemy. Nice ones would offer to ‘cut from the top rather than the bottom,’ so you might lose your great intro but keep your killer last line, either way any self-respecting writer hated them. They did their evil work, removing jokes and nuance, to fit everything needly onto the page. There are few subs left now as no one cares if howlers appear and advertising copy rules. Editors in publishing houses have also gone. Bastions of experience such as Diana Athill and Carmen Callil, are no longer needed as digital publishing shoves the writer straight in front of an audience. In 2005, poet Blake Morrison noted that, ‘When a book appears, the author must take the credit. But if editing disappears, as it seems to be doing, there’ll be no books worth taking the credit for.’

Writing now, whether books or drama, and even painting is more approved of as a collaborative effort, assisted by a collective of advisors making sure the end product displays enough respect for equality, diversity and inclusion, and if funding is involved, clearly demonstrates a commitment to the idea that racism is all pervasive, like a virus carried by every white British person. In place of grumpy old subs and boozy editors we have installed an army of thought police. This extends to words written by the art curators. The National Gallery’s Gauguin show, 2019, labelled every painting, misogynist, racist and colonialist, and even paedophile. ‘Is it time to stop looking at Gauguin altogether?’ was the first question visitors heard on the audio guide. His work now comes under that key woke term, ‘Problematic.’ Even jolly old Hogarth, at least according to an exhibition starting at Tate Britain, is suspect. ‘His social criticism served insidiously to sustain the status quo,’ argues the Tate. No longer the urban radical, ‘Hogarth’s freedom of opinion, his critical freedom, might seem to be something to defend,’ warns the Tate, but: ‘Enlightenment ideas were mainly produced by and benefiting white men. The concept of European superiority deepened, entrenching ideas about nation, personal identity and racial different, manifested in the horrors of transatlantic slavery.’

Suspect his critical freedom and Enlightenment values, nothing of the British past can be trusted is bellowed from the walls of the first room you enter and repeated throughout. His sketches of servants, previously admired for their tenderness represent, ‘The inequities of race and social status.’ He’s even guilty of choosing racist furniture. By a self- portrait in a mahogany chair, a captious caption reads: ‘Could the chair stand in for all those unnamed black people enabling the society that supports his creativity?’

That isn’t the first-time furniture has been accused of racism. In 2020, Cambridge University posted a lecture by Elaine Freedgood, a Professor of English specialising in ‘critical theory, Marxist, postcolonial and queer,’ on ‘Casual racism in Victorian literature.’ She encourages students to, ‘See colonialism and the slave trade in the mahogany furniture in Jane Eyre.’ Claiming her essay aimed ‘To take seriously the casual racism we so commonly encounter in Victorian novels.’ If you admire the work of our classic artists and writers, it’s made clear that you yourself are ‘problematic.’ No wonder Hogarth’s pug the aptly named Trump is sticking his tongue out. ‘Hogarth cancelled,’ as the FT review put it.

We maybe witnessing the death of Britain as a literary, theatrical culture. Reviewing a play in 1956, Kenneth Tynan commented joyously on language: ‘Out on a spree, ribald, dauntless, and spoiling for a fight.’ It’s good that he’s not alive to see the way it’s now shrinking, impoverished, policed and curtailed. In 1642 the Puritans closed all the theatres, worried about ‘frivolous lies and Catholic propaganda.’  They didn’t reopen until 1660 when the frivolous Charles II regained the throne. There followed a golden age of the most capricious, silly and satirical plays ever written. I can only hope that some of my friends and I will be around in eighteen years’ time to see if we, in post-woke recovery can regain the theatre, read novels and visit galleries again.

Subscribe to the quarterly print magazine

Subscribe to the quarterly digital magazine

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

22 Comments on 1642 the Puritans closed all the theatres, 2021 and the left is at it again.

  1. Now, put together these very successful operations against European art, literature, and theatre with the very successful operations against all other European institutions, and against empiricism and logic -indeed, against all of the elements that assisted the rise of the most productive and freedom-providing civilisation to date.

    There are still those with eyes -and the requisite intellectual capabilties- to see where this will go -Finis, Kaput-and who complain about the destruction.

    But where are the kinds of civilians who in past times joined up in times of war, and became effective warriors, and strategists, in armies which defeated our enemies?

    The answer resides in yet another successful campaign by the anti-Westernists, viz:

    They have persuaded us that to fight for our own survival is immoral, within the only correct ethical framework -that of (fake/false/woke) Cosmic Justice.

    Clever folk, these anti-Westernists.

      • Thank you for that reply and also yet another first-rate article. The main thing about porn is that it consists primarily of images designed to produce a physical response. Strictly speaking it is not speech, designed to convey information, ideas or opinions.
        Degeneracy in entertainment is a sign of decadence in society generally, and pornography is a de facto ally of “anti-sexism” in their combined attack on families values.
        Incidentally, was the writer of the play that has caused annoyance (see e.g. John Nathan, “How could the Royal Court not spot this trope?” Jewish Chronicle, 12 November, completely unaware of “Larry Fink: undisputed king of Wall Street” (Jane Lewis, “Money Week”, 23 October 2021)? So many different things to tread on in modern society – toes, eggshells, landmines…

  2. Multicultural societies are low trust societies, and bicker at best but resort to violence at worst.
    The star imposes laws to police this.
    I dislike living in a police state and break the rules when possible.
    I like the example of Natan Sharansky who, when told to walk straight across the bridge in Berlin where he was exchanged, chose to zigzag.

  3. One wonders whether the learned professor has ever read that white, male, middle-class irrelevance ‘The History Man’, in yet another case of history repeating itself as farce.

    • Excellent question, and superb point.

      I suppose it’ll be re-jigged as The Merchant of Mecca, with new nuances-

      -well fresh anti-Europeanist cliches anyway.

    • For possible future Baddiel-style targets, see e.g. Anthony Julius, “Trials of the Diaspora” (2012), plus Robert Wistrich, “Antisemitism embedded in British culture,” Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, June 11, 2008; Marc Cave, “When it comes to the Jews, the UK has always worn two faces,” The Jewish Chronicle, May 28, 2021 & “The Holocaust happened” because Christianity invented “a set of anti-Jewish myths” and “Britain blocked entry to refugee Jews” into Palestine (Jewish News, June 3, 2021) all online.

  4. Once again, Jane Kelly gives us a sharply illustrated picture of the desolation of our once quite good civilisation – a Civ unmatched, now and in history, in the boons and benefits it provided, and provides for the present, to all the parasites, rebels, home-grown insurrectionists, and foreign infiltrators who are destroying it.

    The informal but very effective alliance of anti-Europeanists, proponents of anti-heterosexuality, the anti-family/anti-homemaking feminists and their marxist manipulators, the pro-Big Statists, the money-scooping power-mongers in all walks and stations of life, the rebels and anarchists who just want everything to be different and better -as they imagine it- just in response to their demanding that Mum/Dad make it so, the huge array of naive idealists, the parasites of all stripes.

    This is what Western Civ has produced. Produced because, after 1945, the Ordinary People of most of the West had had enough of fighting and sacrifice, not realising that a Reasonably Good Civ, with freedoms and material abundance, must be fought for, without cease. Fought for by citizens who act on the understanding that they have duties and responsibilities to contribute to the maintenance and protection of the essential ingredients of the Good Enough Civ.

    Lest We Forget?

    We forgot, pronto.

    • @ Percy Grimes
      Not as if we haven’t been warned: Nietzsche, Kipling, William McDougall, Dennis Wheatley’s “Letter to Posterity”….&c &c
      “However you vote, you still get politicians, and whatever the politics they have their donors.” Different analysts converge on this key issue, old (Michels, Belloc) and new (Niall Ferguson, Peter Oborne, Jeremy Paxman, Peter Hitchens &c), but the defeat of money and media will require money and media.
      Meanwhile, sections of the corporate establishment, from banks to pharmacies, fund and celebrate the long-term destruction of national culture; see e.g. the prodigious promotional supplement, “Global Diversity List”, founded by a Stonewall Champion, issued through “The Guardian” (of course) during November 2021.
      Still, no reason to give up or give in:
      “We are not now that strength which in old days
      Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are;
      One equal temper of heroic hearts,
      Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
      To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.”

      • DA, yes.

        But if final defeat is to be avoided, there is urgent need for smart, tough, ruthless flights of chaps to arise, and to strive and not to yield, on the fields of human conflict that are the local branches and the various hierarchies of the (nominal) Conservative Party, and in similar parties across the Anglosphere and in Europe.

        These days, politicians must be supervised daily, at close quarters, by citizens who know what’s what.

        Never been done before, the rescue and re-establishment of the West, by volunteer, steely-eyed citizens offering their lives in the war at branch and higher levels in the (nominal) non-Big Statist political parties.

        But without it, The End will be here quite soon.

        That’s my view.

        (Of course, the collapse of financial, education, and law enforcement institutions and food/energy supply systems will divert the attention of many from what is happening in the entertainment-arts sectors.)

        • Ideas start in the head, but they work in the stomach.
          Lack of food and security cannot be solved by more prolefeed on the telly, let alone by increasing the percentage of black faces in adverts and chat shows, or of homosexuals in story lines and school lessons, or of programmes about White British Male “responsibility” for colonial plunder, chattel slavery, ethnic holocausts and industrial pollution.
          The voluble Left (e.g. George Monbiot) is either in alliance with the Wrong, or still fighting shadows from the past – from an irrelevant Peterloo to an imaginary Cable Street. Time to organise energetic patriots for resistance and recovery – both English and European.
          If young Poles and French can do it, so can ours.

          • Task is to encourage them to self-organise, self-fund, and do it quietly long enough to gain good footholds, and then learn and advance by doing the dirty work required.

      • Professor Story is a global business expert offering advice on how western companies can invest in China and take advantage of its labour facilities, and in return help to strengthen its economy under a national regime which combines a communist experience with a mercantile expansion; see the Gatestone Institute for comments on our western geostrategic and military risks, also the US Holocaust Memorial Museum report issued this month on Beijing’s genocide against Uyghurs.
        Nazi students burning communist books occurred 88 years ago; Maoist students waving communist books started 55 years ago. However, the Woke tyranny which considers itself antifascist is around today, and affecting everything from creche to crematorium.

      • For sure – book burning is a feature of totalitarianism. My difficulty with the Nazi bonfire picture is that it is used along with other Hitler/Nazi references by DEI campaigners to demonise white European males as the source of all evil.