Hytner hits

The director of the National Theatre, Nicholas Hytner, has a good article in the Sunday Telegraph.

This autumn the NT is putting on a play about St Paul, the inventor of the religion known as Christianity. Unless, says Hytner, the Religious Hatred Bill is passed and someone tries to prosecute: “I’m not prepared to do seven years in jail for it.”

In its present form, this unnecessary law will represent the most serious threat to freedom of speech since the old Lord Chamberlain’s office, when plays were censored or banned because they didn’t fit in with the Lord Chamberlain’s view of what was “decent” or conducive to public morals. But more than that, it will mark an attack on the values of the freedom of thought and religious tolerance that are the heritage of the Enlightenment. All of us who are not religious fanatics want a free and tolerant society. The history of the last 500 years shows that we cannot achieve a free and tolerant society by ceding ground to religious extremists.

12 Responses to “Hytner hits”

  1. Quote of the Day: Give an inch…

    The extremist end of Islam – the fanatics who wanted Salman Rushdie killed, and who, like my hellfire-breathing Christian correspondents want their beliefs to be immune from criticism of any sort – will not be appeased by [the Religious Hatred Bill]. …

  2. Christopher Shell says:

    ‘We cannot attain a free and tolerant society by ceding ground to religious extremists.’
    I agree with every word. And nor can we attain a truthful society by ceding ground either to the politically correct or to ideologues, religious or otherwise.

  3. tom p says:

    What do you mean by politically correct, christopher? It is a horrible term, coined in america by intelligent racists and sexists to complain about them not being able to use offensive language willy nilly. Do you want to call blacks niggers, christopher? Or are you merely getting all Littlejohn and you want to be able to call gays filthy bum bandit scum who should be strung up without people saying that you’re being unnecessarily offensive? It’s almost exclusively used by stupid bigmouthed self-righteous bigots, surely the sort of people you’d never want to be seen to be associated with.

  4. Stuart says:

    Blacks already call each other Nigger and Gay is a word that means Happy, not homosexual – “Gay pride” is therefore an oxymoron.

  5. Monitor says:

    Are you Shell in disguise?

  6. Christopher Shell says:

    What’s wrong with political correctness is that it puts low priority on truth and high priority on ideology.
    What’s right with political correctness? Plenty – but nothing that decent ppl wouldnt do/think anyway.

  7. tom p says:

    you still haven’t said what you really mean by political correctness.
    It simply doesn’t exist in the form that most people who invoke it to rail against think. It seems to be a giant straw man created by the right in order to pass off their bigotry as rebellious daring bravery, standing up for the little guy against the politically correct straw giant.
    There is no such ideology.

  8. Christopher Shell says:

    I hope you’re right. There are, however, a lot of unargued presuppositions in public life whose fans find it hard to counter the counter-arguments when they are put to them. We are asked to assume that all races, both genders etc are equal – even, practically the same – in every, but every way. This is ideology, the enemy of research and of truth. Adherents are confusing two things: (1) whether everyone should be treated with equal dignity, (2) whether all are actually on a level in every way. Of course, nobody really believes (2). But they often act as though they do, with the result that we have to pretend that every race / both genders are equally physically strong on average, have equal average proficiency in all brain tasks, and so on. To which I say (in jest): Get real!

  9. tom p says:

    That’s where the problem lies. People who attack political correctness usually do so from assumptions that there’s a conspiracy to stop people thinking and researching. There isn’t, just a desire (and comensurate laws) to see people treated equally and fairly and not discriminated against on grounds of race or gender, but on an individual basis.

  10. Christopher Shell says:

    If that were so, then fairness and accuracy would both be applauded. Currently we live in a climate where fairness is applauded more often than accuracy. Accuracy is sometimes even frowned upon.

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