So I was happily listening to a worthy program on Inter on the way through France the day before yesterday and was surprised to hear the following comment:
I wouldn’t throw Anne Frank’s diary in the Seine–it’s illegal to chuck garbage in the river
Now, I personally think that giving racists, bigots, maniacs and idiots the same airtime as left-of-centre moderates is important to guarantee a number of our key freedoms, but this stuck in my throat.
The program was a classic NPR, Radio 4 type human-interest piece about the ‘bouquinistes’–the people who man those quirky little bookstalls along the banks of the Seine. We had just heard the story of a woman who had done this for twenty-odd years, working her way up from a miserable plot right at the end of the ‘quais’ where business was tough, eventually landing herself a prime spot in front of Notre-Dame. It’s a good story: hard work, early mornings trawling the ‘puces’ in search of rare finds to fill her stalls and many tales of the eccentrics that make the work interesting.
And then, in the middle of all this mister let’s - put - the - jews - back - on - the - trains rears his ugly head. I’m shocked that the producer didn’t edit it out. I’m not suggesting auto censure–this really isn’t political correctness–the comment was totally unconnected to both story itself and to any specific context within it. The editor could have cut it the same way he might have cut a poorly recorded passage, if anything it would have improved the program…
So now I’m trawling the franceinter.fr website looking for the duty officer’s email. I just can’t believe–it I mean did they sit down and talk it through? Was it left in for a reason? I want an explanation.