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Whose Satire is it Anyway?


Image Credit: George Blower

Dr David Taylor from the Department of English and Comparative Literary Studies used Warwick Tate Exchange to explore the notions of free speech, satire, justice and truth. Drawing on both modern and historic examples of satire and censorship, he shed light on the relevance of these questions in today’s society.

Democracy needs satire 
Voting slip comment

Visitors were invited to listen to an audio re-enactment of the trial of William Hone, a satirist tried for blasphemous libel after publishing three liturgical parodies that attacked the royal family and the government in 1817. Listeners voted on whether they believed Hone to be guilty or not. Our voters agreed with the court in 1817 which found Hone not guilty - the final verdict was 6 votes for guilty, 31 for not guilty.


Long live free speech

Voting slip comment

Coventry-based EGO Performance Company used Dr Taylor’s research to develop a short performance. Audiences followed the journey of Todd, a college student visiting the Sat-Oracle to learn about satire, who encountered a virtual reality echo chamber, a satirical joke shop and some unexpected protesters.

To finish the week of events, Ella Bucknall, Gholam Khiabany and Martin Rowson took part in a panel discussion chaired by Dr Taylor on the question of ‘Must Satire Offend?’ which debated the purpose, benefits and limits of satire. Press play to listen!

Visit our Podcasts page for more recordings from Warwick Tate Exchange.