Please be advised that in this entry I’ll mention nudity.
I know that the subject is terribly sensitive, especially to some of the extremely gentile world leaders like the president of Iran.
When the quiet and unassuming leader of one of the world’s most violent nations visited Rome recently, a museum he visited covered statues of nudes lest Mr. President be offended. Mr. President met with the Pope while in Rome; I hope the Holy Father didn’t subject him to a tour of the Sistine Chapel. Lots of nudies up on the ceiling.
Now I suppose it is only polite to show a bit of cultural sensitivity when someone from another culture comes to visit. But covering up great works of art goes beyond my definition of cultural sensitivity. The smarty pants part of my personality would have wanted to march Mr. President past the naked sculptures to see how he handled the shock.
While wondering about that, I wondered how Iranians would adjust to my sensitivities were I to pay a visit to their charming nation. (Just to be clear, Iran isn’t on my short list of vacation paradises.)
If the Iranians want to be culturally sensitive to moi, they would realize that I’m offended by the sight of women covered from head to toe in a black bag, nothing but their suffering eyes for the world to see. If the locals want me to feel at ease, dress the women in real clothes – I’m sure Talbots or J. Crew could come up with some stylish yet modest outfits.
This entire bit of nonsense reminded me of the first time our family went on pilgrimage to Italy. We were walking into the center hall of the museum in Florence. I looked down and my daughter had her hands over her eyes; she had noticed that the famous statue of David doesn’t have a fig leaf.
My wife and I explained that it was art and she could look at it but didn’t have to. She continued to avert her eyes. I’m thinking Mr. President could have done the same thing. But perhaps he isn’t as mature as my daughter was. She was six.