Hey, with all this scholarship about religious history, we've really made great progress in advancing public understanding of the aims and purposes of our endeavors, haven't we?
Nope. Here's the Fox interview with Reza Aslan (@rezaaslan on twitter) that's going viral, about his new book Zealot. Host Lauren Green begins with hostility (paraphrasing slightly here), "you're a Muslim, so why would you write a book about the founder of Christianity?" In the next ten minutes, she repeats the question (over and over), ignores the book's contents, reads from a bunch of dumb Internet rants about the book, and generally plays to the audience in this sector of the media-news-entertainment complex.
Kevin Levin uses the interview to make some interesting parallel points about the public role of Civil War scholarship here.
But wait: the fact that it's gone viral due to people mocking the know-nothing, self-parodying stance of the interviewer means that, maybe, the scholar won this time. Or so I hope. Update: it's getting better. Those on Twitter check the entries at the hashtag #foxnewslitcrit, where the premises of the interviewer are applied elsewhere: "Mr. Shakespeare, you are an Englishman; why are you writing about Italian teenagers?"