Where was my invitation to the free speech circle-jerk?
It’s a hard time to be a plain white man who loves free speech nowadays.
As The Yorker‘s venerable upholder of cynical neo-liberal horseradish Jack Harvey reported, representatives from the University of York’s student papers met up last night for a session of critical thinking and mutual masturbation. Perhaps you heard that spiked magazine recently published their “Free Speech University Rankings”, and that our prestigious University has fallen from a healthy green to an alarming amber.
Now – we can speculate, as some of the panellists did, that spiked is a politically motivated, biased publication that has no grounds to have de-ranked us based on commonplace anti-sexual harassment policies, but who cares? All the upheaval last term with the International Men’s Day controversy and scores of black and trans students drawing attention to harassment by other students (and speakers) is irrelevant to this discussion; this is really about the YUSU press charter and the damaging effect it’s having on the ability of white men (such as myself) to write poor quality imitation Brendan O’Neill articles.
More importantly than all that, there was a free speech circle-jerk with the student papers and I wasn’t even invited!
My friends, imagine – for one moment – that you woke up one day to find a strange lump on your throat (that wasn’t meant to be there). Would you sit back and let it fester? Of course you wouldn’t – no-one would, and that’s the problem.
You see, I love free speech. I have a portrait of Tony Blair on my wall and I kiss it every day, dreaming of words unsaid and deeds sadly uncommitted. The very mention of ‘no-platforming’ makes my skin crawl but I guess that just isn’t good enough these days!
Nowadays every white man capable of accessing the New Statesman is a politician just waiting to jump out of the woodwork, and that just makes it harder for the average mediocre white man such as myself to get invited to self-congratulatory free speech masturbation sessions such as the one held yesterday by the York Student Think Tank.
Harder, too, to get a piece in Vision or Nouse condemning the no-platforming of controversial speakers like Donald Trump or Julie Bindel. “We’ve got sixteen in the pipeline already”, they scream at me, waving a copy of The Independent at me so vigorously it makes me even more desperate for the sweet release that only an unrepresentative panel discussion by a bunch of young, attractive white men could grant me.
NO, NO, NO, NO.
Where was my invitation, you shits!? I did everything right! I’ve said every single line in the book, do I have to get down on my knees and beg, and scream “I hate no-platforming, I hate no-platforming, I hate no-platforming” until the end of time!? I’ll do it, just, please, LET ME COME!
Don’t invite anyone from the other side of the debate though, especially not if they’re a disadvantaged minority, no-one wants to hear anything from them.