Jennifer Michael Hecht is one of my favorite writers, and in her review of Susan Jacoby’s new book on Robert Ingersoll, she leaves me with this haunting thought:
There have been atheists and religious doubters throughout history, but the ones who remain famous after their deaths tend to have been equally famous for something else as well; otherwise, people most notable for their bravery in the face of religious conservatism have to be celebrated by a population equally brave, and that is often too much to ask.
In order to appreciate certain cultural figures, we need to be, to some degree, worthy of them. We have to be, as a people, closer to greatness ourselves in order to recognize it. A very tall order, isn’t it?
Makes you wonder; who else have we missed?