What follows is not in very good taste.
In Dec 2006 I wrote the following entry:
Some time in the early 1970s Nature magazine published an article about people whose names matched their occupations. There was a famous neurology textbook “Diseases of the Nervous System” written by Lord Brain. There was a published article on birth control written by Maria Concepcion …
A few days ago I dealt by email with a health plan administrator whose surname was Nurse. And, on the front page of today’s New York Times, there’s a article about the promising fact that H.I.V. risk is halved by circumcision. From a few paragraphs down into the article:
‘Circumcision is “not a magic bullet, but a potentially important intervention,” said Dr. Kevin M. De Cock, director of H.I.V./Aids for the World Health Organization.'”
Once bitten but not yet twice shy, your intrepid follower of news about the razor-sharp policy makers on circumcision at WHO has kept a wary eye out for further developments and breaking news.
A few paragraphs into a March 3 New York Times article entitled “New Web Site Seeks to Fight Myths About Circumcision and H.I.V.” the Times reports that “malecircumcision.org… … gathers scientific studies, policy documents and news articles and is meant to help fight popular myths, like the new one that circumcision is 100 percent protective so men can stop using condoms, said Dr. Kim Dickson, a W.H.O. medical officer who oversaw the site’s creation.”
Dr Dickson’s last syllable is vaguely reassuring. But closer inspection of the website reveals many contributions from collaborator Dr Bruce Dick, whose unfortunately adjectival-sounding Christian name, thought it suggests a certain fellowship with the beneficiaries of the website, will not inspire popular confidence.
It;’s beginning to be pretty clear about what it takes to get a cutting-edge job at WHO.