What a great special issue of the New York Times Magazine today. The centerpiece is an article about global women's rights issues by Nicholas Kristof and and Sheryl WuDunn. I enjoyed this passage:
Bill Gates recalls once being invited to speak in Saudi Arabia and finding himself facing a segregated audience. Four-fifths of the listeners were men, on the left. The remaining one-fifth were women, all covered in black cloaks and veils, on the right. A partition separated the two groups. Toward the end, in the question-and-answer session, a member of the audience noted that Saudi Arabia aimed to be one of the Top 10 countries in the world in technology by 2010 and asked if that was realistic. “Well, if you’re not fully utilizing half the talent in the country,” Gates said, “you’re not going to get too close to the Top 10.” The small group on the right erupted in wild cheering.I love the fact that the women "got it" and cheered.
The article inspires me to want to read a new book by these authors, and also look into the ways to give they suggest. But it also reminds me of a bizarre internet conversation I had a while back. At a certain very popular philosophy blog, Nicholas Kristof had come under attack for being concerned about animal rights (imagine that!). A commenter offered a general assessment of Kristof (and how could I forget this phrase): that he's a man with a "deeply, deeply trivial mind."
Wondering how the commenter could see himself as being in a position to judge this tireless defender of human rights so harshly, I looked him up and discovered ... what, that he is some moral saint, way beyond the likes of Kristof? No, I found out he was the author of a book about philosophy and video games. I'm still shaking my head.
It seems that blogs are full of this kind of thing--bluster and blather. Alright, it's of little importance (compared to the travesties described in the article), but it's been on my mind lately.
The Kristof/WuDunn article is great, and so are the other articles on women's rights in the magazine.