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Wednesday 4 December 2019, Rob Lyons

Titania McGrath: satire in the age of social justice

Listen to the debate from the Battle of Ideas Festival 2019.

‘Humour is a weapon of the patriarchy.’ So says Titania McGrath, the Twitter superstar who describes herself as an activist, healer and radical intersectionalist poet. Titania has become famous for her ‘woke’ words of wisdom, such as ‘heterosexuality is a hoax’. Of course, those of us who have been following Titania’s rise to fame will know that she is, in fact, fictional – a satirical character dreamt up by the author and comedian Andrew Doyle. Boasting a Twitter following in the hundreds of thousands, Doyle’s parody of a ‘typical Guardian reader’ has managed to fool some so-called ‘social-justice warriors’ into believing Titania’s cries of oppression, as well as revealing uncomfortable truths about the degraded state of identity politics. But not everyone is a fan of Titania. Doyle has been accused of ‘punching down’ with his satire of contemporary ‘leftie’ politics. Is poking fun at social-justice campaigns merely a right-wing ploy – even though Doyle himself is a self-declared leftie? And what has it been like for Doyle, to be a comic writer in a world that sometimes seems unable to laugh at itself? Now that Titania’s real identity is out, where does she go from here?

ANDREW DOYLE
writer and comedian; author, Titania McGrath’s Woke: A Guide to Social Justice

CHAIR: ELLA WHELAN
co-convenor, Battle of Ideas festival; journalist and frequent commentator on TV and radio; author, What Women Want

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Battle of Ideas Festival 2019

9:30am, Saturday 2 November 2019, Barbican, Silk Street, London

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