Exclusive extracts from No Offence – the magazine OUSU doesn’t want you to read
In this magazine, you will find jokes that some have described as in “poor taste”. Why are they in there? Why are they necessary?
Taboos can sometimes refer to genuinely bad behaviour, such as gloating at someone’s death. But having taboos enforce behaviour is irrational: when something is taboo, it is suppressed not by argument and persuasion, but by fear.
The point of free speech is that it allows us to express ideas which are unpopular. All innovation comes from initially unpopular ideas (otherwise it wouldn’t be innovative). A restriction on “poor taste” is still a restriction on ideas. There is no mechanical way to know whether a poor-taste joke contains a valuable idea or not.
Suppression of jokes is part of political correctness. Breaking taboos is a rebellion against this. The impulse that makes us cringe at a joke is the very thing that makes that joke valuable.
In Praise of Prejudice – Graziano Brady
If you consider for a minute a world completely devoid of prejudice, you realise how essential it is to our everyday lives. Imagine your house is being burgled and you run to a friend’s for help. On the way, there is a man in police uniform, but you run straight past him because to operate on the working assumption that he would help you is prejudiced. You do not know that man, and he may be a fake policeman, or going to a fancy dress party; or perhaps he is a policeman but he is corrupt, indifferent, or just a horrible person. Indeed, there are unfortunately many in the world who have learnt to be wary of people in police uniform and would not be able to rely on such help. Despite all that, I’m sure that everyone reading this would use the superficial information of a police uniform and solicit help…
Racism, sexism, Islamophobia, and homophobia take centre stage in discussions of prejudice. You don’t see the news talk about the National Institute for Clinical Excellence’s guideline CG117 published in 2011 which suggest that new entrants into Britain from high prevalence tuberculosis countries (a country with more than 40 cases per 100,000 per year) be automatically offered a Mantoux or interferon-gamma test for tuberculosis – a measure which is both prejudiced, implying an elevated risk of disease on the basis of nationality, and critical to public health. You do, however, hear the news talk about the murder of Stephen Lawrence or Katie Hopkins’ branding of migrants as “cockroaches”. It is this focus on negative prejudice, combined with our human tendency not to consider more than what we see, that has made prejudice the boogeyman of our present human condition.
Rhodesia The End of a Great Country – Anonymous
Colonialism was great. Colonialism was bad. Both are pointless statements. The British Empire at its greatest spanned all the timezones of the world and consisted of ¼ of the Earth’s dry land. Each colony consisted of different peoples, with different resources, and lead by different leaders. Some were run to perfection in Victorian clockwork; whilst others were run – like the charge of the light brigade – into death and despair. In most political discussions about colonialism, the latter is what is highlighted. I would like to highlight a country that was built from nothing, became the most productive in the continent, and then, when the colonialists left, was torn back to the decrepit and poverty stricken land it was before the British…
Rhodesia fell not due to an internal liberation movement fighting for racial equality, but by a communist-fuelled external army fighting to exert a dictatorship and rule over the masses by a small group of vicious terrorists. These terrorists have continued their reign, leading to a mass exodus of educated Zimbabweans and tearing the country limb from limb. Well, done anti-colonialists. You outperformed yourselves.