My apology to the Editor of the Observer for getting angry about Julie Burchill

This post was written by Reuben on January 15, 2013
Posted Under: Uncategorized

Observer editor John Mulholland has offered a typically self-congratulatory apology over the publication of Burchill’s rant against transsexuals. The piece, he says, and was “an attempt to explore contentious issues”, by a paper that “prides itself on ventilating difficult debates and airing challenging views”. Seen in this way, it was clearly a great act of bravery for a major newspaper to attack Britian’s most marginalised community. With this in mind I would like to offer the following apology to Mr Mulholland and his newspaper:

Dear Mr Mulholland,

I would like to take this opportunity to apologise on behalf of myself, and indeed the left, for our intemperate reaction to the publication of Ms Burchill’s piece on Transexuality. I wish that we shared your liberal sophistication, and your manly emotional detachment. If we did, we would surely have been able to handle such challenging views as “transsexual people wet the bed”.

Equally, I recognise that you, as Editor have a duty to facilitate “difficult debates”, such as  “aren’t trannies shit?”, and “Were they or were they not really mean to my friend?”. It is regrettable that some people’s emotional reactions, their propensity to be ‘hurt’ and offended’,  proved such an obstacle to your important editorial work.

With many apologies for all inconvenience caused,

The Third Estate

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Reader Comments

Quite so. Find it a bit disturbing how people I agree with on many issues don’t seem to get this one.

Written By Sarah AB on January 16th, 2013 @ 7:06 am
Harry S-B

Another outrageous attack on free speech from the self-righteous twitter vigilantes and an egregious decision by the Observer to capitulate to the mob. You’re offended? So what?

Written By Harry S-B on January 16th, 2013 @ 10:47 pm

It’s not an attack on free speech to say that the Burchill piece was horrendous, and should not have been published in the Observer. I am not sure pulling the piece was the right approach, but to decide, on reflection, that the piece was horrifying and should never have been published there is not, I don’t think, the same as censorship. It never occurred to me that pulling an antisemitic letter to the Guardian – something I posted on briefly here

was an attack on free speech, or that those who objected to it just had absurdly thin skins.

Written By Sarah AB on January 17th, 2013 @ 1:56 pm

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