Tuesday, September 25, 2007

BBC World Service - Updated

I'm on the BBC World Service at 1 pm Eastern Time talking about regulation of Holocaust Denial in Europe (and its non-regulation in the U.S.).

Update: Well that was a bit of a bust. The BBC technicians couldn't patch in for much of the hour, so I ended up joining only the tail end of the conversation. We didn't get to the question above but instead talked about whether it was appropriate for President Bollinger to introduce President Ahmadinejad by calling attention to his flaws. I said that Bollinger was in a difficult position because:
1) He himself had not extended the invitation and (I'm guessing) probably would not have done so were it just up to him;
2) But he appropriately did not want to interfere with the autonomy of Dean Coatsworth;
3) And given the high profile nature of the event it was inevitably going to be seen as a Columbia event (rather than merely a SIPA event);
4) So he was obligated to say something;
5) But a merely polite "Heeeeeere's Mahmoud" would have not put enough distance between them;
6) And accordingly, he gave a kind of preemptive rebuttal.
I agree with those people (including Ahmadinejad himself!) who said that it's a bit odd, even rude, to invite a speaker and then say what an evil jackass the speaker is by way of introduction, but this account misses the fact that Bollinger did not himself invite the speaker.

--Mike Dorf