Ban a Book
Political correctness is at its most parodic precisely when it seems beyond
parody. The latest bit of history to support this adage is the Middle East
studies establishment’ s reception of Sherry Jones’s novel The Jewel of
Medina (Jewel), a life of Aisha, the favorite wife of Muhammad. As writes in his review of Jewel for the Winter 2009 issue of the
, Jones set out to “be a bridge-builder” who chose her
historical sources selectively to ensure that her work would present a
flattering picture of her subjects.
Enter Denise Spellberg , who teaches Islamic history at the University of
Texas. She heard of Jewel pre-publication because Jones, in her naiveté,
asked her then-publisher Ballantine, an imprint of , to obtain
an endorsement from Spellberg to splay across the back of the dust jacket.
Spellberg is author of Politics, Gender, and the Islamic Past: The Legacy of
Aisha bint Abi Bakr , which Jones cites as one of her sources. She is, in
addition, a typical practitioner of the blatant bias toward things Muslim
and, more particularly, Arab that has become almost ubiquitous among
practitioners of Middle East studies. Put simply but accurately, this means
that things Arab/Muslim = good; things American/Western=bad….