Newstalk’s guests all agree (irony alert) that cancel culture has killed free speech

Review: Andrea Gilligan’s discussion of free speech includes no dissenting voices

Newstalk’s Andrea Gilligan: ‘Her devotion to free speech is to be applauded, though in this instance a wider range of voices wouldn’t hurt.’ Photograph: Newstalk

Newstalk’s Andrea Gilligan: ‘Her devotion to free speech is to be applauded, though in this instance a wider range of voices wouldn’t hurt.’ Photograph: Newstalk

There are many phrases in the contemporary lexicon whose mere utterance induces a sinking feeling: “latest variant”, “fresh wave”, “new normal”, to name but a few. But when it comes to provoking Pavlovian groans of despair, few terms can match “cancel culture”. A divisive concept that reliably provokes spluttering outrage or self-righteous defensiveness (though little in the way of clarity and consideration), for subject-strapped radio hosts it’s the equivalent of “break glass in case of emergency”. 

So it’s hard to muster much enthusiasm when Andrea Gilligan broaches the topic on Tuesday’s Lunchtime Live (Newstalk, weekdays). In the light of Pope Francis’s recent condemnation of cancel culture as “one-track thinking”, the host discusses the matter with psychotherapist Stella O’Malley, who is alarmed that people are “repressing their thinking” for fear of saying the wrong thing. “This idea that we should repress our speech to suit other people is anti-therapeutic,” O’Malley says. 

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