Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A champion of human rights reads a book

So I was watching something on Book TV recently,* and interspersed amongst the main talks they have short clips of interviews and running features like "What are you reading this summer?" The politician asked discussed one book he'd just finished, Ayaan Hirsi Ali's Infidel: "The countries she observed in Africa and the Middle East are being held back by the religion of Islam, particularly because of its harsh treatment of women and not allowing fifty percent of the population to reach their full potential..."

Who is this progressive politician so concerned about human, and especially women's, rights and full potential? Roger Wicker. This Roger Wicker. This Roger Wicker. This Roger Wicker. (This Roger Wicker, too, but that's not particularly relevant here.)

*I think it was Michael Willrich talking about his latest, Pox: An American History. I did have an initial reaction of "Oh, great timing," and his presentation of the book seemed a bit strange with regard to what's going on with the antivaccine movement; but of course I don't believe historians should refrain from speaking openly and honestly about the past simply because the current climate offers ways for their work to be misused, nor do I think any claims about complete discontinuities with the past - in any area - are remotely credible. I suppose there has to be a level of care taken not only in the writing of the works themselves but in their public presentation....

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