Monty Python’s face has responded to reports that the community is building a blacklist of unwanted guests. This followed a presentation given earlier this week by art historian and television producer Andrew Graham Dixon. Presiding over the debate, he recited a speech by Adolf Hitler on art, stating that “bad taste and bad manners often go hand in hand”.
Under pressure from fellow students who felt hurt, Cambridge Union President Kerr Bradwell decided to put Graham-Dixon first on a blacklist to be created. The art historian was amazed. Graham Dixon told the BBC he had just attacked Hitler’s racism and anti-Semitism. Former Federation President Andrew Looney called the list “Stalinist”.
Monty Python Drawing
Claes announced via Twitter that he would not visit his alma mater. He wrote: “I was looking forward to speaking with the Cambridge Union students this Friday, but heard that someone had been blacklisted for impersonating Hitler. Sorry to say I did something similar in my Monty Python drawing, so I’m blacklisting myself before anyone else does.”
After Cleese’s intervention, the Cambridge Federation announced that there would be no blacklist after all. Bradwell said freedom of expression is critical. This freedom is increasingly discussed in British universities. Earlier this year, Rowan Atkinson, who, like Cleese, had his first stage experience in Cambridge, compared “cancellation culture” to medieval crowds looking for people to burn.
Recently, the University of Sussex made headlines after the resignation of philosopher and feminist activist Kathleen Stock after she became intimidated by students. Since then, this professor has found a job at the University of Austin, famous for its freedom of speech. The co-founder of this American university is Niall Ferguson, a well-known historian married to Ayaan Hirsi Ali.
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