Be­yond satire

The Jewish Chronicle - - Comment&analysis -

At a dif­fer­ent time of year, our read­ers could be for­given for think­ing it was a Purim spiel, al­beit a supremely dis­taste­ful one. David Irv­ing, one of the world’s most out­spo­ken Holo­caust-de­niers, was ap­proached by Chan­nel 4 to ap­pear on the re­al­ity-TV show Celebrity Big Brother. Its pro­duc­ers in­ter­viewed him for some 90 min­utes be­fore de­cid­ing he was not quite suit­able for the show. It re­mains un­clear whether he was too con­tro­ver­sial to ap­pear — or not con­tro­ver­sial enough.What is par­tic­u­larly alarm­ing about this story is not just what it says about the na­ture of the mod­ern “sleb”. On Septem­ber 7, Irv­ing ap­peared on a Ra­dio 4 pro­gramme, The Re­union, which brought to­gether some of those of those in­volved in the pub­li­ca­tion of the hoax Hitler Di­aries in 1983. Irv­ing ap­peared as “a his­to­rian” — a ti­tle un­for­tu­nately not pre­fixed with the rather more apt de­scrip­tion “no­to­ri­ous Holo­caust-de­nier”. Does this in­di­cate a dis­turb­ing level of ig­no­rance in the me­dia about one of the vilest forms of mod­ern an­tisemitism? Or is Irv­ing now a main­stream pub­lic fig­ure, by virtue — not in spite — of his no­to­ri­ety? In a week when we wit­nessed some­thing close to pub­lic hys­te­ria in re­sponse to a puerile prank call made by TV pre­sen­ters Jonathan Ross and Rus­sell Brand to ac­tor An­drew Sachs, per­haps we should be ask­ing some rather more fun­da­men­tal ques­tions about the bound­aries of ac­cept­able dis­course.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.