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7957New Article from the Libertarian Alliance - Old Holborn: a Juvenal for our times

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  • Dr Sean Gabb
    Sep 8, 2013

      New Article from The Libertarian Alliance
      Date: Sunday 8th September 2013, Immediate Release
      Contact Details: Dr Sean Gabb
      07956 472 199, sean@...


      Old Holborn: a Juvenal for our times
      by John Kersey


      In 2010, he was flavour of the month as the Daily Mail reported the heroic £8,445.15 he raised from nearly a thousand donors worldwide to free Nick Hogan, the pub landlord jailed for refusing to pay a fine imposed for allowing customers to smoke in his pub.

      Today, the same newspaper has run a hatchet job on award-winning libertarian blogger and satirist Old Holborn, unmasking him as Robert Ambridge from Braintree, Essex, and describing him as “one of Britain’s vilest Internet trolls”.

      A broad-minded, indeed traditional conservative view of satire, would be that it is a necessary component within a healthy society; that there is always a need to question assumptions, to subject the powerful to scrutiny through satire as well as earnest discourse, to hold a mirror up to society and show us for what we really are.

      Savage and offensive comment on those in public life has a long and distinguished history. Roman satire divides into two main schools named after their most distinguished exponents: the Horatian and the Juvenalian. Horatian satire is mild and dedicated to the exposure of folly – the style of most of BBC Radio Four’s satirical material. Juvenalian satire attacks what is perceived as evil through savage ridicule, sarcasm, scorn and invective that is less easily perceptible as pure humour. It is this tradition that was maintained by such as Gillray, whose cartoons spared their subjects few blushes. At times, the Juvenalian tradition has been maintained by various underground magazines, and by Private Eye, though today that organ seems less inclined to end up in the courts tussling with the likes of Goldsmith and Maxwell than was once the case. Nowadays, Juvenalian satire and the blogosphere have found themselves natural partners. Continue reading


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