Censored !

A few weeks ago the French public television channel, Arte, wanted to interview me on the show Metropolis for a program on culture in Abu Dhabi and particularly the Louvre satellite to open there. They were, in their own words, “having a hard time finding someone against the project who would accept to discuss it in front of the cameras.”
After exchanging two or three e-mails, the interview was planned for Tuesday 10 March but then was abruptly cancelled and put off to a “later” date without further explanation. As the show’s deadline was dangerously close, this last minute change of mind seemed extremely bizarre.

There is no more need to wonder at the strange turn of events ! An item published on 11 March in the satirical weekly, Le Canard Enchainé, tells us that the Louvre had clearly warned the channel : if I were interviewed, the president of the Louvre, Henri Loyrette, would not in turn grant an interview for the program. Obviously, Arte cannot afford to be on bad terms with the Louvre (they have production agreements together).
So, on 18 April viewers will see a documentary on French television which presents only a consensus, explaining just how fantastic the Louvre-Abou Dhabi is as proven by the fact that it only raises positive reactions and praise !

We would thus like to thank the presidents of the Louvre and Arte both for in fact provoking far much more coverage of the matter than a simple interview in a show broadcast late at night could ever have done. Being censured by a major public television channel can be perceived as more of an honor than a rebuke, especially for a lover of the 19th century : one almost feels transported back to the time of Louis-Philippe or Napoleon III. In any case, one would have to be very naïve indeed to think that the affair would go unnoticed.

Version française

Didier Rykner, dimanche 15 mars 2009

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