The revelation that a man from Britain's colonial era was a supporter of colonialism has sparked fury from students at Oxford University. "I just can't believe it," said one through his tears. "It's almost as though people from the past didn't have precisely the same values as us."
Now authorities at Oriel College are considering whether or not to accede to demands that their statue of Cecil Rhodes be taken down. The campaign is being led by student activist Ntokozo Qwabe who, in spite of his principles, has valiantly swallowed his pride and accepted a Rhodes scholarship worth many thousands of pounds.
Qwabe also supports a ban on the French tricolour in universities, having expressed anger at the "buffoonery of changing Facebook profile pictures to violent imperial flags" after the Paris attacks. Clearly these people should be ashamed of themselves, what with all their human empathy and everything. According to some sources, Qwabe now hopes to lobby for the removal of the weathervane on the top of Oxford Town Hall, because if you squint your eyes it looks a bit like a swastika.
But why stop at Rhodes? For the sake of consistency, we should now look to other historical figures who might offend our modern enlightened sensibilities. Here are my suggestions:
Name: William Shakespeare
Occupation: Anti-Semitic Grain Hoarder
Charges: Investigated for tax evasion, this so-called "playwright" was prosecuted in 1598 for hoarding grain at a time of food shortages. With astonishing hypocrisy, he went on to smear Jews as avaricious in his play The Merchant of Venice through the anti-Semitic stereotype of Shylock.
Suggested Action: Quoting Shakespeare to be reclassified as a "microaggression". The Globe Theatre to be closed and refurbished as a "safe space" for fragile students to protect them from unnecessary stimulants such as caffeine, loud noises, or books.
Name: Winston Churchill
Occupation: White Supremacist Prime Minister
Charges: A believer in eugenics and degeneration theory, Churchill said of the displacement of North American Indians and Australian aborigines: "I do not admit that a wrong has been done to these people by the fact that a stronger race, a higher-grade race, a more worldly wise race to put it that way, has come in and taken their place". Perversely, this man was voted as the greatest ever Briton in a 2002 BBC poll, which just goes to show that most of the British public are closet fascists.
Suggested Action: All references to "Churchill" to be expunged from history textbooks. Any Churchill-themed television or radio documentaries to be rescheduled with "We Are The World" playing on a loop. Anyone caught acknowledging that he ever existed will face mandatory diversity workshops for a minimum period of six years.
Name: Queen Elizabeth I
Occupation: Murderous Tyrant
Charges: Although not voted into office, this self-styled "monarch" presided over a system that saw criminals not only executed, but brutally disembowelled for public entertainment. She was a known sectarian who particularly liked to kill Catholics. Despite the fact that capital punishment wasn't abolished until centuries after her death, she really should have known better.
Suggested Action: Immediate dissolution of the monarchy. The current queen will renounce the tainted name of "Elizabeth" in favour of "Joan" and will be tied to a post and eaten by her own corgis as atonement for her ancestor's bad behaviour.
Name: The Ancient Greeks
Occupation: Slave-Owning Misogynists
Charges: Ancient Greek civilization is known for its legacy of great art, literature and philosophy, yet the entire society was bolstered by the widespread practice of slavery. Children often became slaves after being kidnapped or sold by parents who were struggling financially. Furthermore, women were accorded few rights and were not permitted to vote. So much for the founders of "democracy".
Suggested Action: The Parthenon to be bulldozed. Trigger warnings to be applied to packets of feta cheese.
Occupation: Omnipotent Deity
Charges: Created an inherently divisive human race and left numerous contradictory holy texts containing various degrees of support for domestic violence, gay bashing and genocide. Left no evidence of His existence but instead instituted multiple faith systems, and promises to burn His creatures in everlasting fire if they pick the wrong one.
Suggested Action: All holy texts to be pulped and used to create a giant papier-mâché statue of Caitlyn Jenner.
Or to be on the safe side, perhaps we should just destroy everything and start again. We can call this Year Zero. Catchy, right?Suggest a correction