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John Cleese and Andrew Graham Dixon

(359 Posts)
Ladyleftfieldlover Thu 11-Nov-21 18:58:47

Andrew Graham Dixon got into trouble at Cambridge University for impersonating Hitler during a talk he gave on art etc. The head of the Student Union said he would let other unions know that they shouldn’t let Graham Dixon speak at their unis. Then, John Cleese, who was also due to speak at Cambridge decided to withdraw before they did it for him. He has also impersonated Hitler. Don’t students like confrontation these days? I didn’t think students were delicate flowers who don’t like their equilibrium unsettled.

Dinahmo Sun 19-Jun-22 20:23:42

I have watched the video twice and it seemed to me that AGD was passionate and not trying to be humourous. He is passionate about art and extremely knowledgeable about a number of periods in art and the artists. He has written about and/or made tv series and films on subjects from the Vikings, through the Renaissance to the 20th and 21st centuries such as Picasso and Howard Hodgkin.

During the 19th century and the pre war 20th century the bankers, such as the Rothschilds and the Ephrussi were great collectors art. The Germans took away 19 crates of artworks from the French branch of the Rothschilds. In fact it is considered that they looted 20% of European art. 6,500 art works were recovered from the salt mines by the Allies.

No doubt Hitler would have considered "The Dance" by Matisse to be degenerate. Luckily that painting and several others were commissioned by a Russian who bequeathed them to the Hermitage.

If you are interested you can read about the rise and fall of the Ephrussi family and the losses that they suffered in the book by Edmund de Waal entitled "The Hare with the Amber Eyes"

Smileless2012 Sun 19-Jun-22 21:44:01

Hitler hated the work of Picasso and other work of that genre and I think I'm right in saying that he ordered them to be destroyed.

Herman Goering on the other hand was an avid collector and because of him many of the pieces he kept for himself, unkown to Hitler were saved.

Chewbacca Sun 19-Jun-22 22:04:11

So, to sum it up: AGD went to a university and spoke to some students about the holocaust and, during his talk, he ridiculed hitler. Some of the students were, by their own admission, the worse for drink. His talk was taken completely out of context and a whole different spin was put on it. The head of Students Union, Keir Bradwell, was affronted by their erroneous understanding of the lecture and his knee jerk reaction was to vow not only to bar AGD from speaking at Cambridge university again, but to also inform other universities to do the same. Some people on this thread have had the same knee jerk reaction. Would it be beneficial to the students, and the offended on this thread, to perhaps watch the video again and take great care to listen and understand what is actually being said, rather than being outraged and offended by their own misunderstanding and lack of critical thinking?

I dont think a blacklist actually happened anyway... You're wrong. The No Platforming lobby at universities has targeted several people including Germaine Greer, Jenni Murray, Jordan Peterson, Amber Rudd and several academics who champion women's rights. So how are students going to hear other people's views, opinions and experiences if they either a) don't listen to what is being said or b) stop them saying anything at all?

Callistemon21 Sun 19-Jun-22 22:07:46

Good summing up, Chewbacca

Doodledog Sun 19-Jun-22 22:20:13

or c) jump to conclusions based on a determination to react vociferously to anything that might give them the sort of brownie points they so desperately crave.

VioletSky Sun 19-Jun-22 22:23:27

Some peoples opinions arent worth listening too, can think of approximately 17 much better ways time can be spent just off the top of my head.

One of them is sleep, love sleep

Chewbacca Sun 19-Jun-22 22:24:51

Night night!

Smileless2012 Sun 19-Jun-22 22:56:22

or d) be too drunk to know what exactly was said.

Doodledog Sun 19-Jun-22 22:59:54

or e) decide that some people's opinions aren't worth listening to, but argue against them anyway.

Chewbacca Sun 19-Jun-22 23:01:06

Nailed it! grin

VioletSky Mon 20-Jun-22 07:40:03

Erm, i was talking about thepeople on this "blacklist". I giess i am wrong and it does exist but i can understand why

Geemaine Greer, trans issues
Jenny Murray, trans issues
Amber Rudd, Windrush
Jordan Peterson, off the top of my head, "broken families" hate that term, no family is broken if there is love, gay parents, Me Too movement.

No one has to listen to others opinions.

Especially the ones about ourselves that are wrong

Galaxy Mon 20-Jun-22 07:43:35

grin and who gets to decide which are wrong VS? Who is clever enough moral enough to decide on what constitutes wrong opinions.

Galaxy Mon 20-Jun-22 07:45:37

Cambridge changed their mind on Peterson he spoke there a few months ago, it went well I gather.

Galaxy Mon 20-Jun-22 07:49:17

It happened because some brave faculty members and some brave students campaigned for it to happen. No one has to listen to others opinions (that strategy is working well!) so I assume those students who didnt want to hear it didnt go, always an option. I disagree with Peterson on many things, I can cope with listening to him though and sometimes learn things.

VioletSky Mon 20-Jun-22 07:53:17

Galaxy

grin and who gets to decide which are wrong VS? Who is clever enough moral enough to decide on what constitutes wrong opinions.

If you read back, that is not what i said..

This is why we cant have nice discussions

Smileless2012 Mon 20-Jun-22 08:51:00

We can choose what we want to listen too, but we don't have the right to prevent others from listening to something that we disapprove of, or disagree with. Isn't that what constitutes freedom of speech?

There are broken families even when there is love. Parents separate and divorce and that family unit is broken as a result, but that doesn't mean there is no love. Parents continue to love and be there for their children, even if they no longer love one another.

It's good to see that common sense prevailed and Cambridge rescinded the ban.

Aveline Mon 20-Jun-22 09:38:31

VioletSky who says or should say what is 'wrong'?

timetogo2016 Mon 20-Jun-22 09:49:39

Spot on Doodledog.

eazybee Mon 20-Jun-22 10:28:40

Andrew Graham Dixon was responding to the proposition: 'This house believes there is no such thing as good taste', not giving a lecture or a talk. I am assuming there were other speakers who defended or attacked the proposition, followed by a debate from the floor.
The members of the Cambridge Debating Society undoubtedly have high intellectual ability, therefore would be able to destroy the speaker's performance through their arguments if they found it to be offensive. Surely that is the purpose of debate.

A minor point. What does offend me is the use of words from an historical context, now deemed offensive, but represented by the use of asterisks, as though that somehow makes them acceptable, (and quite confusing, when the correct number of asterisks are not used.) Also used when posters want to swear.

Deedaa Mon 20-Jun-22 10:30:12

I spent four years at art school listening to many lectures on art history and I've watched and enjoyed many of AGD's television programmes. I have no idea what the students were complaining about. He was repeating well known facts, he was portraying Hitler as the frustrated failure of a painter that he was. Have you seen his sad little watercolours? He wasn't telling jokes, this was Hitler's view of the art world.

volver Mon 20-Jun-22 10:52:56

A minor point. What does offend me is the use of words from an historical context, now deemed offensive, but represented by the use of asterisks, as though that somehow makes them acceptable, (and quite confusing, when the correct number of asterisks are not used.) Also used when posters want to swear.

I do that all the time. I know that some swear words etc. offend people, so I use asterisks instead. I consider it polite, others may consider it offensive. Asterisks are one of the symbols GN uses to format text, so sometimes the GN site gets confused and thinks the *s mean bold.

Next time I'll just say f* ?

Doodledog Mon 20-Jun-22 11:24:51

VioletSky

Galaxy

grin and who gets to decide which are wrong VS? Who is clever enough moral enough to decide on what constitutes wrong opinions.

If you read back, that is not what i said..

This is why we cant have nice discussions

You started by saying:
Or maybe they are passionate about a better future where we dont use events or people involved in horrific genocide as a punchline for a joke.

which turned out to be b*****ks, as there was no punchline involving horrific genocide.

Then you moved onto:
No venue, social media platform, or even someones living room owes anyone space to use speech others find offensive.

doubling down to suggest (I think, as the syntax is difficult) that someone deemed offensive should not be given space in the actual or virtual world, including in private houses.

and when you were backtracking about who should make the decisions about who and what is offensive:

. . . it is no ones place to decide what others find offensive and no ones place to decide who venues and platforms host.

I think we can be forgiven for being unsure what you actually said. It seems to me that you saw an opportunity to show how 'tolerant' and 'inclusive' you are, and pounced, but gradually realised that you had misjudged and tried to wriggle. You accused us of thinking things about young people that most of us do not, shifted your position and got passive aggressive, suggesting that we are picking on you, and patronising us saying that it is our fault that 'we can't have nice discussions'.

You got it wrong in the first place, probably as you didn't watch the video or know the full story. It happens - we've all made ourselves look a bit daft online at times. Why not just own it and stop digging?

VioletSky Mon 20-Jun-22 11:37:47

I'll come back if the discussion becomes more reasonable

Doodledog Mon 20-Jun-22 11:40:33

I forgot to mention the flounces :grin:

Aveline Mon 20-Jun-22 11:42:05

VioletSky read the thread over again. Doodledog's post is an excellent summary of this thread and is representative of how we all read it. Somehow you've missed the key points.