Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Culture
  2. TV & Radio
19 November 2018updated 03 Aug 2021 5:58am

Is David Attenborough’s Dynasties team turning penguins into snowflakes?

The once resilient yeomen of the Antarctic are given a “safe space”.

By Anoosh Chakelian

Another week, another victory for the “safe spaces” brigade, as penguins – once the rugged, free-thinking yeomen of Antarctica – were helped out of a fatal gully with their chicks by David Attenborough’s Dynasties documentary makers.

Although it’s far from surprising that the BBC would impose the stifling tools of politically correct liberal orthodoxy on a free-wheeling format once beloved of the English, it begs the question: when did Antarctica, once a hub of stimulation – where innocent animals were encouraged to break consensus and question ideas about their near-certain death in a cruel, corrupted planet – morph into this censorious world spinning to the sinister tune of the progressive creed?

Sign up for The New Statesman’s newsletters Tick the boxes of the newsletters you would like to receive. A weekly newsletter helping you fit together the pieces of the global economic slowdown. Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section and the NS archive, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.

Viewers watched the death of heterodoxy in horror, as the production team of modern day heresy-hunters dug a shallow ramp to help the trapped penguins rescue themselves. Little wonder this generation of endangered species are snowflakes, their minds coddled by such totalitarian displays of compassionate human intervention in the face of the most innocuous “microaggressions”.

The sinister knee-jerk practice of snow-platforming in the face of melting sea ice is now ubiquitous across the Antarctic, where the factory of conformism is in full operation. And the smug witch hunters-in-chief blithely defend their coddling of the penguin mind. “I know it’s natural, but it’s bloody hard to watch,” one whined. “We’ve given it a lot of thought; we’ve decided we’re going to dig a shallow ramp which they will hopefully use.” 2018, ladies and gentlemen.

Content from our partners
“I learn something new on every trip"
How data can help revive our high streets in the age of online shopping
Why digital inclusion is a vital piece of levelling up

All of us who saw our formative years in Antarctica learned to simply fall head-on into slippery ravines, without “trigger warnings” beforehand, and never flinched at “offending” any health-and-safety apparatchiks who tried to dictate how to escape to us. We just got on with it, as independent penguins today must be resilient against the bullies who have co-opted the language of “tolerance” and “respect” as weapons in the relentless war on freedom of squawk.