Andrew Doyle, creator of Titania McGrath, discusses satire and hoaxes

This is a very good talk (it’s 25 minutes long), and I highly recommend you listen to it, as it’s a powerful justification for Leftists mocking the excesses of the Left—one of the themes of this site.  Further, it’s an incisive analysis and indictment of “the Woke movement.” Finally, it’s sporadically hilarious.

We all know now that the über-woke Titania McGrath is the creation of British comedian Andrew Doyle, who also used to write for the character of Jonathan Pie. Below he discusses “Satire in the Digital Age” at the National Liberal Club in London (the talk was October 13). As the video’s description notes, “This event was part of the ‘Speaking Truth to Social Justice’ conference organised by Sovereign Nations.” The theme is the value of hoaxes in an age when people regularly comment on social media. Doyle sees them, as he sees Titania, as a way to improve the Left, to “challenge the dominant orthodoxy that generates so much resentment among normal people who are sick of being hectored by paternalistic moralists who claim the power to divine their secret thoughts.”  Doyle himself claims a place on the Left, and I have no reason to doubt him.

After recounting some history of satirical hoaxes, Doyle details the rising censorship and puritanism of the Left.  He mentions the “grievance studies” hoax of Boghossian, Lindsay, and Pluckrose, approving of it (despite strong attacks by Leftist academics on the endeavor) since it “was essentially a satirical project because it sought to expose the fraudulence that still exists within the powerful institution of academia.” As Doyle notes, “If you care about something, you want it improved.”

He then discusses the invention of Titania McGrath (who apparently has a fancy house in Kensington and another in a location I couldn’t make out) and shows some of her tweets.  Doyle adds, “The most vicious remarks you will ever see on social media come from either the racist far right or woke intersectionalist: they are really two heads of the same chimera. . . One of the most tragic things, I think, about the social justice movement is that it is largely well intentioned. . . . It makes sense, then, to think of the social justice movement as a kind of cult.”

He then indicts the British government for its unwarranted authoritarianism, as well as the Wokes for giving unwarranted attention to white supremacists and neo-Nazis by using the term loosely to apply to any of the Wokes’ opponents.

Doyle winds up claiming (as I have) that “a major publication is happy to publish any old nonsense so long as it is sufficiently Woke, the social justice ideology having infected our major media and irreparably degraded its standards.” He gives several examples, one of which I discussed this week. (He won’t admit writing it, but he surely did.) Are you listening, New York Times, New York Magazine, the Independent and The Guardian?

h/t: Greg

20 Comments

  1. Bob Murray
    Posted December 14, 2019 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    “Another one in Val d’Isère”

  2. Posted December 14, 2019 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    What a great talk. I love this guy.

  3. Roger
    Posted December 14, 2019 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    Back during the presidential election when all the insane and utterly ridiculous memes were being shared relentlessly on facebook, I thought they were satire because they were so stupid. Turns out it was a propaganda campaign and people were believing that garbage.

  4. despierta
    Posted December 14, 2019 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    People who make vicious remarks on social media are not largely well-intentioned. Saying stuff like this just lets them off the hook.
    Also, I hate any usage of the word “woke”, even if intended ironically.

    • Posted December 14, 2019 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

      Too bad because I’m going to keep using it. You’ll have to either suck it up or leave.

  5. sted24
    Posted December 14, 2019 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    I learned of Titania Tweets from this site a few days ago. Then spent a happy hour flipping through them. Here are a few of my favourites:

    Misogynists always claim that men are better than women at sports. But if that’s the case, how come cyclist Rachel McKinnon only started winning gold medals *after* she transitioned?

    The fact that obesity-related illnesses are on the rise just shows that the body positivity movement is working.

    I have absolutely no desire to impregnate a male. But if I ever change my mind I won’t allow some “scientist” to tell me that I can’t.

    My friend Melissa was infected with a tapeworm during her gap year in Điện Biên Phủ. As a committed vegan, she has decided to allow it to reside in her intestines until it chooses to leave. She calls it Bernice.

  6. Posted December 14, 2019 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    “sporadically hilarious”.
    Our esteemed host is extremely ironic.

  7. GBJames
    Posted December 14, 2019 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    Sub

  8. rickflick
    Posted December 14, 2019 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    Great talk. The woodwork in that room is unbelievable! The National Liberal Club won the lottery when thy moved into those digs.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted December 14, 2019 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

      The NLC is inside this magnificent faux chateux-looking beauty by Waterhouse and by Archer & Green [a different bit of the building] – a successful mashup of French, Gothic & Italianate & the room is the Gladstone Library, although I think the Gladstone collection was sold off..

      Whitehall_Court_Mars_2014

      That pile of cake is now mostly known known as the Royal Horseguards Hotel although the postman knows it as x Whitehall Court, it’s on the Thames Embankment & the NLC – occupying a very small slice – is possibly the largest sized private members club in Europe. There is another club inside the NLC which is a men-only [women as guests] social club called the Savage Club, which I think is linked somehow to the Freemasons. The club used to have bedrooms & apartments above which was sold to the hotel, but members get discounts should they require a spot to camp in. The first chief of the SIS [or MI6 if one prefers] the one-legged, exaggerator Mansfield Smith-Cumming, or “C” kept an apartment there.

      • Frank Bath
        Posted December 14, 2019 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

        Best seen from the far end of the lake in St James’s Park. You would think you were in Central Asia or somewhere.

      • rickflick
        Posted December 14, 2019 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

        These places like the Savage Club make me think there is a segment of society that just loves their extra special social rank. They probably think they don’t need plumbing. I’d love to be invited as a guest though, so I could refuse.

  9. Posted December 14, 2019 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

    I do have to disagree with his generalization that the Woke as privileged people who insist that they are oppressed. It seems they are mostly both privileged and under-privileged people who advocate for the oppressed and wish to take away power and privilege from the right.

  10. chrism
    Posted December 14, 2019 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

    Hmm. Liam Evans is an anagram of ‘vain males’. Evidently, I’ve been doing far too many cryptic crosswords.

    • JezGrove
      Posted December 16, 2019 at 10:15 am | Permalink

      Well spotted!

  11. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted December 14, 2019 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

    Excellent talk!

    Excellent point about the opinion or letters to the editor. Also about power – advertising, police. Wow – lots to think about here – in between the laughs.

  12. Jon Gallant
    Posted December 14, 2019 at 11:55 pm | Permalink

    Hurrah for Andrew Doyle and for his academic counterparts Sokal, Lindsay, Boghossian, Pluckrose, and the anonymous coder of the Postmodern Generator. I can’t help reminding that much of what we call “woke” was already
    satirized long ago by Monty Python, most decisively in “The Life of Brian”. I guess we don’t need the verb “pre-satirize” because
    that which calls for satire remains so much the same from one generation to the next.

  13. Hunt
    Posted December 15, 2019 at 2:57 am | Permalink

    My theory is that the Woke phenomenon is primarily a youth movement that has origin in, and spread from, academia. It may have come from the various “Studies” departments or other humanities, but the common denominator is it’s a relatively simple world view that young people can master and deploy quickly to gain substantial influence and effect. These youths then transition to the “professional” class, taking what they’ve learned with them. Hence it’s “entryist” by nature.

    Masked by superficial moral high ground, only a few people using it can take over a department with little or no resistance. Wokeness then climbs the corporate ladder, gaining power step by step. At this stage it’s no longer just a youth phenomenon. Everyone, even seasoned professionals, get the message that it is not to be opposed, or else.

    The result is the establishment “status quo” that Doyle describes. Ironically, they’re no longer fighting the status quo. They ARE the status quo, as Doyle says.

    Very infectious and potentially very dangerous.


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