Sunday 4 November 2012

Hitched to their bandwagon

Harry's Place has just cross-posted a fine tribute (originally posted in The Independent) to the late, great Christopher Hitchens - a man so full of contradictions as to make you proud to be a human being. 

It brought back to me, as Sue and myself are feeling nostalgic today, an old comment of mine (now lost) from the October of last year, left on the old Biased BBC blog:  
Radio 4's 'Book of the Week' at the moment is Christopher Hitchens' latest collection of essays, Arguably. There are 108 essays for them to choose from, covering a broad canvas of history, literature, science and politics. They've missed out all his literature pieces and have chosen four political ones instead, plus a meditation on science. 
There are a wide range of political essays in the book. They could have chosen any of his essays on the threat from radical Islam (such as this). They chose not to, nor to pick any of his essays on the Iraq War, which he supported (such as this.) Nor his powerful essay, 'What Happened to the Suicide Bombers of Jerusalem?' They passed over his essays attacking the madness of Hugo Chavez and the Castro Dynasty or his pieces on the slave state of North Korea. 
They will be broadcasting a fine piece on Lebanon, probably for its hopeful ending (which will chime with their enthusiasm for the 'Arab Spring'). It will be interesting to see how they abridge that long piece. Will they cut out much of his savaging of the thuggish/anti-semitic elements in Lebanon? [I'm embarrassed to say I failed to follow that question up at the time - and the answer will have to hang in the air forever as it's no longer available to listen to]. 
The other three articles are just what you would expect the BBC to select:
1. Believe Me - It's Torture. An attack on the U.S. use of waterboarding.  
2. Let Them Eat Pork Rinds. A piece on social class and the flooding of New Orleans, beginning with a strong attack on George W. Bush and his mother.  
3. The Vietnam Syndrome. An attack on America's use of Agent Orange during the Vietnam War.   
108 essays to choose from, and the BBC select the three that seem most to reflect their political prejudices, pieces all from the Left side of Hitchens, none from his Right side.
May the non-existent God bless that many-sided man! And darn the BBC for attempting to shrink him into being merely their sort of human being!

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