Maybe I missed the detailed storyline of the new movie about Hypatia, but...can it be true that "Rachel [Weisz] recently played ancient Egyptian goddess Hypatia in historical epic Agora" [musicrooms.net]? Is this Euhemerism occurring right before our eyes?
Perfecting every character – a girl next door, a fashion plate and a club minx – with a style of her own, Kylie Minogue is back with a bang in a new avatar for her new album
The Australian pop star has transformed herself into the character of the Greek goddess of love, beauty and sexuality, Aphrodite, for the launch of her album of the same name.
The sexy lead single, ‘All the Lovers’, officially released this week, already popular with fans.
Rumour has it that she may even tour Australia to promote the album.
“For me, the most exciting part of this is still performing and the energy from that . . . I really want to do a festival,” the Sydney Morning Herald quoted Minogue as saying.
The star claims her inspiration for one great makeover after another is Madonna.
“Madonna’s the queen of pop, I’m the princess.
“I’m quite happy with that. Her huge influence on the world, in pop and fashion, meant that I wasn’t immune to the trends she created. But in the beginning, she made it difficult for artists like me; she had done everything there was to be done.”
Minogue rocked the stage with her earlier makeovers in ‘Confide in Me’, and ‘I Should Be So Lucky’ and she admits that they came out as an expression of how she felt at the time.
“If I parallel my private life to my career, there’s a reason for all of those changes,” she said.
“I was the girl next door, then I was rebelling, then I was vamping it up. It’s all what I was feeling at the time. I can be a little embarrassed about it but that’s part of growing up in public.”
Minogue describes her new album ‘Aphrodite’ as ‘euphoric pop’.
“It is a very lean album,” she said.
“There is nothing spare, nothing unnecessary and absolutely no fat at all. My favourite song is Aphrodite, the title track. There’s a lyric about me being fierce, which I like.”
Douglas Brinkley interviewed Dylan for the new issue of Rolling Stone, in the course of which the conversation turned to religion, morality, and the musician's early intellectual "influences" (as reported by Douglas LeBlanc of GetReligion.org):
After that evening’s show at the Heineken Music Hall — at around 11:30 p.m. — I interview Dylan again. Because it is Easter weekend, I decide to push him on the importance of Christian Scripture in his life. “Well, sure,” he says, “that and those other first books I read were biblical stuff. Uncle Tom’s Cabin and Ben-Hur. Those were the books that I remembered reading and finding religion in. Later on, I started reading over and over again Plutarch and his Roman Lives. And the writers Cicero, Tacitus and Marcus Aurelius. … I like the morality thing. People talk about it all the time. Some say you can’t legislate morality. Well, maybe not. But morality has gotten kind of a bad rap. In Roman thought, morality is broken down into basically four things. Wisdom, Justice, Moderation and Courage. All of these are the elements that would make up the depth of a person’s morality. And then that would dictate the types of behavior patterns you’d use to respond in any given situation. I don’t look at morality as a religious thing.”
Just saw this at the Ottawa Citizen (canada.com): review of a 2006 book called The 101 Most Influential People Who Never Lived, by Alan Lazar, Dan Karlan, and Jeremy Salter. [And here's the associated website.] Classical antiquity gets: Prometheus, Apollo and Dionysus, Venus and Cupid, Pandora, Helen of Troy, Odysseus, Midas, Pygmalion, Icarus, Hercules; and Oedipus. More detail on one:
No. 46 is Prometheus, whose defiant gift of fire to man challenged the
gods and they amply punished him. He reappeared in the first modern
horror story in Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus, which Mary
Wollstonecraft Shelley penned after a bunch of writers, sitting around
on a rainy Geneva night, decided to invent a new genre of fiction.
Frankenstein's promethean hubris in creating life, and carelessly
tending to it afterwards, still serves as a metaphor for ego-driven,
misguided and unrestrained science -- a charge most recently levelled
Ah--I almost forgot...I had meant to make the return from the break by citing Martin Luther King back at the beginning of the week. Here's some historical review from MLK's last speech, in Memphis:
As you know, if I were
standing at the beginning of time, with the possibility of general and
panoramic view of the whole human history up to now, and the Almighty
said to me, "Martin Luther King, which age would you like to live in?"
- I would take my mental flight by Egypt through, or rather across the
Red Sea, through the wilderness on toward the promised land. And in
spite of its magnificence, I wouldn't stop there. I would move on by
Greece, and take my mind to Mount Olympus. And I would see Plato,
Aristotle, Socrates, Euripides and Aristophanes assembled around the
Parthenon as they discussed the great and eternal issues of reality.
But I wouldn't stop there. I would go on, even to the great heyday
of the Roman Empire. And I would see developments around there, through
various emperors and leaders. But I wouldn't stop there. I would even
come up to the day of the Renaissance, and get a quick picture of all
that the Renaissance did for the cultural and esthetic life of man. But
I wouldn't stop there. I would even go by the way that the man for whom
I'm named had his habitat. And I would watch Martin Luther as he tacked
his ninety-five theses on the door at the church in Wittenberg.
Jonathan David Carson (The American Thinker) complains about how (in his view) there is an established religion in America today: Scientism. The essay cites some ancient sources, notably Lucretius' veneration of Epicurus, and includes the wonderful solecism(/wordplay?) scientismists. And don't think for a minute that Hillary Clinton isn't part of the conspiracy. Here's an excerpt on Hawking:
An unintentionally revealing article in the June 2002 issue of Scientific American, one of the holy books of the established religion of the United States, begins....
[quotation suppressed here]
Hawking, the rest of the article informs us, is not only God, a saint, a writer of epistles, and a Christ-figure with multitudes of apostles, but also “the Delphic oracle” and a “shaman.” He gives authoritative answers to questions of “theology.” He has a “transcendent mind.” He preaches “sermons.” He is the apotheosis of a “modern incarnation.”
Veneration of atheists is not new. Some of the schizoid attitude of scientism, at once materialist and New Age, is captured in a curious incident recounted by Martin Rees in Before the Beginning:
“When Hawking received an honorary degree from Cambridge, the Orator quoted the encomium of Epicurus by Lucretius: ‘The living force of his mind overcame and passed far beyond the flaming ramparts of the universe, traversing in mind and spirit the boundless whole.’”
Who the “Orator” is, Rees does not say, nor why he deserves capitalization, but what we have here is the praise of one atomist (Epicurus) by another (Lucretius) echoed by the praise of one materialist (Hawking) by another (Rees), with atomist and materialist praised with what can only be religious fervor.
This deserves more attention. Debra Hamel posts a snippet from Alan Alda's autobiography:
Bill Christopher, who played Father Mulcahy [on M*A*S*H], was studious, translating
ancient Greek during his breaks. For one scene, he had to spend a long
time at the bottom of a car in which about twelve nurses were piled on
top of him. When he finally crawled out, someone asked him if he was
all right, having spent two hours under all those women. 'Yes, fine,'
he said. 'Fortunately, I had my copy of the Iliad with me.
A wonderful man and a good friend. He's very droll, very funny when you get to know him. An intellectual with an in-depth understanding and appreciation of classical music and literature. He reads Homer in the original Greek and studies languages for fun.
Michael Moriarty, who used to play Ben Stone on Law & Order, has morphed into a decidedly eccentric political figure in Vancouver (5-year old Salon article), and his latest editorial for Enter Stage Right riffs on the Da Vinci Code, the Trojan War, and Red China:
The first Grand Master of the Priory of Sion was Jean de Gisor in
1188 A.D. His successors were mostly French until the undisputed
creative supremacy of the Italian Renaissance replaced French
leadership with artists like Sandro Botticelli and Leonardo Da Vinci.
France regained control of this intellectual supremacy movement, which
then crossed the English Channel and was briefly led by Isaac Newton.
Paris again reclaimed authority under Jean Cocteau's veritable papacy,
which ended with his death in 1963.
Paris. What a name for
a city. Paris was the singular cause for the fall of Troy in ancient
Greece. This son of Priam and Hecuba, King and Queen of Troy, had
slipped into Athens, stolen Helen, wife of Agamemnon, and carried her
back home to Troy. Because of that, the Greeks and the Trojans warred,
battled and slaughtered one another for over 10 years. The Greeks won
eventually. Under the cunning advice of Odysseus, better known under
the Roman name Ulysses, the legendary Trojan Horse was built and
presented as a gift from the Greeks to the Trojans. Inside the horse
were Greek soldiers who, once inside the gates of Troy, erupted from
within the wooden beast and conquered the fabled city.
The future of the human race can almost be charted by names alone. The
poetic underpinning of all communication, no matter what the language,
carries Jungian symbolism that, when examined closely enough,
determines the fate of millions.
The city of Paris was
the birthplace of an anti-Judeo-Christian ideology, but it wasn't until
the advent of Da Vinci that the ultimate Anti-Christ was found. ... ... Beijing said if it detects even the slightest movement within our
atomic missile system, it will rain atomic bombs on us. It won't matter
by 2012. By then, should a Chinese missile even lift one foot out of
its silo, our own missiles will be released and reach our targets
before the Chinese atomic salvo reaches theirs. God willing, SDI will
take out at least a third of their incoming. The world, the entire
human race, of course, will be rooting for us. There'll be no doubt
about that. Why? Because we'll be watching the Red Chinese Trojan Horse
bring all of Europe to its knees.
The journals Foreign Policy and The Prospect have collaborated on a project to name the world's top "public intellectuals." Their list of 100 includes one classicist (ok, classed as a philosopher): Martha Nussbaum. A Kagan is on the list, but it's not Donald. Web-voting for your top 5 choices, with the possibility of adding a write-in candidate to their list, can be done here. Their criteria for "public intellectual":
What is a public intellectual? Someone who has shown distinction in their own field along with the ability to communicate ideas and influence debate outside of it.
Candidates must have been alive, and still active in public life (though many on this list are past their prime). Such criteria ruled out the likes of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and Milton Friedman, who would have been automatic inclusions 20 or so years ago. This list is about public influence, not intrinsic achievement. And that is where things get really tricky. Judging influence is hard enough inside one’s own culture, but when you are peering across cultures and languages, the problem becomes far harder.
Recent resonance of Classical literature: the Italian blog Classico e Moderno, in a post subtitled "Qualis pontifex pereo" (wish I'd thought of that one!), has more reflections on the presence of the Classics for Pope John Paul II--especially the phrase "Non omnis moriar" (Horace, Odes 3.30), allegedly whispered by the pontiff very recently (according to I Miserabili--printing the whole poem with Italian translation), but also in the pope's "Roman Triptych" (2003)--cf. English accounts here and here (scroll down). NN (CeM) also points to a 2003 article in La Reppublica, entitled "Il Papa, Orazio, e la morte," which gives more on JPII's Classical leanings, and mentions his statement on being given honorary citizenship in Rome in 2002 (cf. CWN):
Ma anche di Roma si sente questo papa nato in Polonia, scheggia latina
tra il Baltico protestante e la Russia ortodossa. "Civis romanus sum",
mormorò con soddisfazione, quando il sindaco di Roma gli portò la
pergamena con la cittadinanza dei romani.
As to be expected, this has Biblical resonance too! This might be a good time to try out Ultralingua, which will transform a page with hyperlinks to dictionary entries for you (cf. the RogueClassicist's recommendation--which reminds me: for related tidbits of Classics relating to the pope, see Classical Pope and Classical Pope IIibid.)