Pre-emptive PC Censorship in the UK

Nathalie Rothschild has an article in Spiked Online about the new trend of censoring expression that might offend someone, before it has actually done so. Primary is the case of the promotional poster for Fat Christ, Gavin Davis’ comedic play about a financially struggling chubby man who makes a deal with a London art dealer to crucify himself. Officials at Transport for London (TfL) blocked the poster for the play from being displayed in Underground stations for fear that someone might see it and be offended:
“Millions of people travel on the London Underground each day and they have no choice but to view whatever adverts are posted there… We have to take account of every passenger and endeavour not to cause offence in the advertising we display.”

Where does it stop? I find myself again reminded of Connie Willis‘ 1991 short story “Much Ado About [Censored],” (which can be found in 2041 A.D.: Twelve Short Stories, edited by Jane Yolen), wherein a school production of Shakespeare’s Hamlet is reduced to a few lines following removal of all ‘objectionable’ material (such as when the ‘Drapery Defense League’ objects to Polonius being stabbed while hiding behind a curtain).


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