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Paul Kirkley: Do 8 out of 10 people prefer a celebrity scandal to the real thing? Plus the wisdom of the nans





The demonstrations outside Jimmy Carr’s show at Cambridge Corn Exchange last month threw up some chewy philosophical questions for the age. Was it a peaceful protest or an angry mob? Is this cancel culture or consequence culture? When does defending freedom of speech tip over into facilitating hate speech? Does anyone have the right not to be offended? Are there any subjects that we shouldn’t make jokes about? And does it make it worse if they aren’t even funny?

The protest outside the Corn Exchange in Cambridge where comedian Jimmy Carr performed. Picture: Keith Heppell
The protest outside the Corn Exchange in Cambridge where comedian Jimmy Carr performed. Picture: Keith Heppell

Personally, I have mixed feelings about all this – unhelpful for a newspaper columnist, I know, but that’s centrist Cambridge for you.

The most important thing to state from the outset is that people have a legitimate right to protest, and good on ’em. What was it Malcolm X said? “A man who stands for nothing will fall for anything.”



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