Kate Smurthwaite is a brilliant stand-up comedian and advocate for feminism, secularism and all that is good. I don’t agree with everything she says but I know why she’s saying it. I know where she’s coming from. I know that she has good reasons for saying what she says. Because she explains it in public at every opportunity and rightly so; Kate says things that need saying to people who ought to hear it. She’s clearly worked hard to become something of a go-to atheist on some UK goddy TV shows for which the normal criteria for entry are the mystifying authority of wearing a piece of white cardboard on your shirt or having an impressive beard or a magical hat.
I admire her a lot. Here are a couple of reasons why:
I don’t need to comment on those Internet-winning performances. There she is having fun upsetting people because they can’t defend their horrible views without anger, bluster or manufactured offense.
Kate recently planned a show at Goldsmiths College in London. It was cancelled at the last minute for reasons that aren’t clear but apparently relate in part to the suspicion that there’d be a picket line (what a quaint term, come to think of it) and the university couldn’t allow that on safety grounds.
What the whatnow? When I was a student, protests were practically compulsory. If they’ve somehow become dangerous now, that’s all the more reason to protest. Students should be protesting about the dangers of protests. They should be protesting that protests aren’t dangerous enough. They should be protesting about whatever the fuck they like. Or what they don’t like, it doesn’t matter, the protesting is the important bit. Universities shouldn’t be cancelling gigs because some people might not enjoy them. They should take care about what acts to book in the first place, but they probably shouldn’t cancel acts they’ve booked without a really, really good reason. We don’t need to mollycoddle students; they’re adults.