WTF happened upon a debate on The Daily Politics on BBC 2 yesterday lunchtime. It concerned freedom of speech at universities and the seeming urge of many students’ unions to ban anyone whose opinions they do not agree with. Not protest against. Ban. As in, you can’t come. On came a person called Kaite Welsh to defend this stance, in particular the call for bans on Germaine Greer and Julie Bindel from speaking because they had questioned whether trans women were really women and on Peter Tatchell from speaking because he had called on universities not to ban people from speaking – the so called no platforming policy. Welsh was all for it. It wasn’t censorship, she maintained – indeed, it was an example of freedom of speech because it represented the views of those who were opposed to having people with those views on their campuses. Andrew Neil, a former Rector of St Andrews University, pointed out that the issue was not whether what speakers said was right or wrong – it was whether both sides of the argument should be heard. Welsh was having none of it. It was, she said, saying no to bigotry, no to hatred. At which point, WTF considered putting her foot through the screen and only desisted because she wanted to catch up with the latest episode of Madam Secretary later and didn’t fancy a trip down the shops for a new TV.
You see, Readers, that is the problem with democracy. It isn’t just the ones who shout loudest that have a right to be heard. Or the ones in the majority. Or the ones you agree with. We are currently getting this with Brexit where anything said by the 48% who voted against leaving means that they are not only derided as “Remoaners” and “Traitors” but are not allowed to express any view at all. And the same, it seems, is true of university campuses. Do they support Zionism? Don’t let them speak! Do they question whether a trans woman cannot have the same shared history of women who have ovaries and periods and children? Keep them away! Do they believe that abortion is wrong? Don’t let them have a stall at the Freshers Fair! It isn’t safe! They’re threatening my space! Ban them!
There are so many reasons why this is wrong. What about their rights? Why do your rights trump their rights? Why does your sense of what is right outweigh their right to say what may well be wrong? At what point did students assume the right not just to shout down those we oppose but to vaporise them from the campus altogether? What happens when the tables turn and those people start banning you? What happens when they object to someone’s headscarf or someone’s yarmulke because it makes them feel unsafe? If you are at university, are you really so feeble-minded that you cannot even countenance the existence of an alternative point of view? When did your safe space turn into an exclusion zone?
WTF’s mother was studying at university in Yassi in Romania in 1941. One day, the Iron Guard arrived, rounded up all the Jewish students, including her, threw their books out of the window, declared that they had all failed their exams and expelled the lot. That’s terrible, you cry (at least WTF hopes that you do). Now work out how many steps away there are between that and banning speakers because you don’t like their views. Then come back and talk about a safe space.
We turn to the clothing cobblers of the week by way of light relief, starting with White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer conducting his scandalous press conference yesterday.
It was bad enough that Sean could not tell the difference between a tapp of Trump’s phone by Obama just before the election and a fucking lie. But to do it whilst painted as orange as an orange and in a stained, badly-tied green tie was beyond unacceptable.
This is singer Rita Ora out and about in London, wearing Au Jour le Jour.
Rita is clearly modelling herself on Jon Snow in Games of Thrones. Only North of the Wall, it snows. And his legs were covered.
Next up, we have ubiquitous model Heidi Klum at the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards.
Heidi and Versace are a lethal combination at the best of times, but this was a kiddies’ event and it was therefore inappropriate for Heidi to go flashing her rib-cage (aptly named, given the bondage bodice) and vast expanses of thigh. Poor show. Or as The Donald would say, Sad!
Meet Australian actress and singer Maia Mitchell at the premiere of her new movie Hot Summer Nights, wearing Ports 1961.
This is just ugly. Ugly as in steaming-pile-of-poo-ugly. This appears to be constructed from worn-out chamois leathers discarded by the local carwash, but in fact it costs about $1,000.
Now we have singer Ellie Goulding at the launch of her collaboration with Deichmann shoes. The shoes are fine.
This look is a sort of eclectic fancy dress outfit where you go to a tarts and vicars party dressed as a bit of both. The ruffly sheer thing is pervy Aled Jones and the rest is just pervy.
Here is singer Hatty Keane at the London premiere of The Time of Their Lives, wearing Antonia Nae.
As they almost say in Parliament, the Naes do not have it. WTF is not a fan of the chainmail and is even less a fan of the furry Minge Mask resembling cascading pubes. It’s a Nae from me……
“Star” of Geordie Shore Marnie Simpson, seen wearing something totally revolting by Fashion Nova. Careful now….
This thing costs £18 97 and Marnie has been overcharged. This is what you wear under skiwear and falls into the category of that is not even clothes. There is visible nipple activity and what are those bumps and lumps on her stomach? Has her colon broken loose?
And finally we have Brazilian model and “pet adoption advocate” (whatever that may be) Ana Braga out and about in LA, wearing more pink, Louboutins and not a lot of top. CAREFUL HOW YOU GO WITH THIS ONE!!!!
WTF has seen some pointless garments in her time but this one has sped past pointless and ended up at WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK??? It can best be described as a boob bib with sleeves. Let us hope that Ana was not arrested by the cops and told to put her hands above her head or things could have got even more embarrassing.
This week’s It’s Got To Go was suggested separately by two outraged aficionados, The Justified Sinner and Lady Sumarumi, both of whom were in great indignation at these vile Topshop “Mom” jeans with plastic inset knees.
These jeans are like the masks they wear in movies when scientists come in looking for radioactive matter. They’re ugly. They’re stupid. They are, as Lady Sumarumi sagaciously observed, a pane. They’ve Got To Go.
OK Readers, that’s your lot for this week. As you can see, the justified text has been sorted out so WTF is happy again but not nearly as happy as she gets on reading your comments and your excellent suggestions for It’s Got To Go. Let us meet again next Friday. Be good x
Sweet Cheesus, WTF. We need something to cheer us up. Please!! I’m getting desperate for a reason to smile for more than 5 minutes.
I passionately agree with you! This safe space nonsense makes my blood boil!
I agree almost wholeheartedly with you, the exception being Milo Yiannopoulos. We all should have the right to speak freely, but he garners support from the crazy section, he is destructive and vicious, racist and a bully, the obnoxious bits he has to live with. He caused riots in a college in the US, he causes riots wherever he goes. Should we allow him to speak to already easily swayed youth?
Milo is a hard one. He isn’t actually speaking his mind, he is just trying to be obnoxious!
He may be a difficult equation, but I would ban him without batting an eyelid, because, rather than just being obnoxious, I think he actively tries to provoke without an agenda, but rather just to provoke, just to cause riots. I reserve my safe space to be without him.
I think it is different when someone is just trying to provoke and outrage rather than expressing a reasoned view
When I was a student in the Olden Days, we demonstrated against people with offensive views and argued against them to show up the flaws in their arguments. By banning people, you drive the hate underground, and that is way more dangerous. Students these days are precious little flowers who can’t be allowed to hear anything that doesn’t conform to societal norms, they don’t have the capacity to debate. They’re told what to think, what to read, allowed to take modules repeatedly until they get a good mark, and generally just don’t think for themselves any more.
As for Ellie Goulding – love the shoes. The hair looks awful, considering that she’s on TV advertising some sort of hair dye. But what I don’t understand is this idea that she is a ‘rock star’. She’s as much a rock star as I am a penguin.
I agree with everything you just said.
One of the most shocking things I have heard about current education is that school pupils do not study an entire book. Instead of reading the whole of, say, Hamlet, they are given sections for which they have to answer certain questions. They only study the entire book if they or their parents buy it themselves. How is that teaching them anything?