Friday, October 20, 2006
Scientists have developed a cloaking device that can make objects invisible to radar, though not yet to the eye. The mind races. As Dr Ulf Leonhardt, physicist and probable anagram, says, 'Invisibility is just the tip of the iceberg." Meanwhile, David Cameron is tying himself in knots in an attempt to deal with Labour's risky attempt to outflank him from the right by bringing up the subject of veiled Muslim women. Jack Straw started this by saying he asked fully-veiled women to expose their faces in his constituency surgery. Veiled, they are as invisible as one of Dr Anagram's cloaked objects. Like these objects they remain visible to the naked eye, but invisible to radar - in this case the permanently switched on radar of our cultural, psychological and social associations. All fully veiled women look roughly the same so, in the conversation-free zone of the street, what can be said or thought about them? How, if we knew them, could we greet them? They might be somebody else. And what do their visible eyes see in us? Invisibility, as the wise Dr Ulf says, is just the tip of the iceberg.
Posted by Bryan Appleyard at 4:04 am