Wednesday, March 15, 2017

A Public Intellectual - column

Lawrence Hall

A Public Intellectual

“Life…is paralleled by the unconditional value of each and every person.
It is that which warrants the indelible quality of the dignity of man.”

-Viktor Frankl

Reza Aslan is a public intellectual (public intellectual - how do you score a gig like that?) with a B.A. from Santa Clara University, a master’s in theology from Harvard, a master’s of fine arts from the University of Iowa, and a PhD in sociology from the University of California Santa Barbara.

Last week Reza Aslan packed along his resume’ and his catalogue of university degrees and traveled to India to eat a bite or two of human brain.

Dr. Aslan’s career is one of writing and editing thinky-books about religion, writing, hosting, producing television shows, and receiving vaguely-named awards from vaguely-named organizations.

He is also the host of CNN’s Believer.

He has not yet appeared on a cooking show.

Last week this religious explorer visited some believers in India who occasionally eat other people. Well, hey, we all worship the same god, right? After sharing a meal (no doubt Dr. Aslan will insert a Last Supper / Eucharist metaphor here) with members of something called Aghori, this well-educated man frivolously posted:

“Want to know what a dead guy’s brain tastes like? Charcoal…It was burnt to a crisp! #Believer.” ( and other sources.

Dr. Aslan referred to the Aghori as a Hindu sect. Hindus say not. Loudly.

When Dr. Aslan returned from his devotions, do you suppose his wife Jessica greeted him with a kiss?

He and his wife have three small children. Child protective services might want to look in on them occasionally. But perhaps Dr. Aslan disapproves of eating the brains of family members. Other people’s children, maybe.

So who did he eat? A man? Woman? Child? Was the victim an Aghori? Was the victim okay with all this?

And where is the government of India in this matter?

God gave Reza Aslan life and superior intellect and energy; the U.S.A. gave him sanctuary from the Iranian revolution and then freedom and educational opportunities offered to few; in the end, he responded to those gifts of God and those gifts of freedom by eating the brain of a fellow human being for the entertainment of Americans.


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