Is Satire Finally Dead? Cambridge Footlights Advertises For ‘Sensitivity Readers’

Back in April, the Free Speech Union put together a spoof April Fools’ Day news article about how the Daily Sceptic was looking to recruit a team of sensitivity readers to, as we put it, help the editorial team create a “safe online space from which those with distasteful views can be excluded”, and be responsible for “developing untapped issues in the field of sensitivity (e.g., ‘Are verbs racist?’, ‘Is proper grammar fascism by other means?’, ‘Do linear narratives perpetuate colonial thought structures?’, etc) and bringing these to the attention of the editors”.

Even at the time, we were getting perilously close to the point at which satire might plausibly cross over into plain reportage. According to Steerpike in the Spectator, however, a particularly earnest group of progressive undergraduates at the University of Cambridge have now contrived to blur that distinction altogether.

This is the news that the legendary Cambridge Footlights, one of Britain’s oldest student comedy troupes, whose alumni include Germaine Greer, Sue Perkins, Stephen Fry, Richard Ayoade, Peter Cook, Dudley Moore, Clive James and David Mitchell, is now recruiting for a new ‘sensitivity reading’ service to ensure “all student comedy” is as “inclusive as possible” and “to check for potential oversights regarding racism, classism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia and ableism, or any other kind of sensitive or upsetting material”.

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