I Object: Ian Hislop's Search for Dissent
We live in a golden age of objection. Not since the 1960s has the Western world been so embroiled in street protests – women’s marches, anti-Trump demonstrations and alt-right parades in America, anti-Brexit marches in Britain, and strikes across continental Europe – as in recent years. It is safer than it ever has been before to express unpopular or dangerous views, and social media has made it easier than ever before to spread them. And then we have the objection in the halls of power: many members of the British government are mutinous, and Donald Trump hardly seems to have confidence in his own government. It is therefore a timely moment for the British Museum’s exhibition, ‘I object: Ian Hislop’s Search for Dissent’, which holds a fascinating collection of dissenting objects from across the centuries and the globe. From graffiti on a Babylonian brick to a banknote with hidden rude words, these objects tell a story of dissent, subversion and satire. Together they demonstrate that questioning authority, registering protest and generally objecting are an integral part of what makes us human. In this episode, Ian Hislop introduces us to some of his favourite objects that star in the exhibition, and talks about what objection means to him and to different societies across the ages.