The journalist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown recently wrote that “The BBC [that's the British Broadcasting Corporation. You know, the TV people. It's publicly-funded but supposed to be independent] has a duty to moderate our national conversation”.
Moderate our national conversation...right. So what does that mean, then?
Well, moderate means to monitor what's being said and then to cut out bad language and (as it says in my Collins dictionary) "inappropriate content".
Bad language I get. But what's inappropriate content?
Does it mean they shouldn't be letting any old lunatic go on the TV to have a rant?
And, if so, which of us are the lunatics?
How do you tell?
Who's to say?
No, really, this is important: who's to say?
I suppose the BBC has a duty a) to remain within the law, and b) to refrain from encouraging illegality.
I suppose as well that on the whole the BBC has a duty to avoid being one-sided. Well, mostly.
Look, do you know something? It's all very well for Ms Alibhai-Brown to tell people their duty, but this is difficult. Really difficult.
In fact it's almost enough to make me wish I was a good old immoderate bigot.
Word To Use Today: moderate. This word comes from the Latin moderārī, to restrain.