Friday, May 28, 2010
Hypatia Is Popping Up All Over
It was terrible, what happened to Hypatia. That's why I didn't mention it! You know I am reluctant to put gloomy and disturbing things on the "blog" because I want you to be happy. But I read about Hypatia the other day in CHRISTIANITY: THE FIRST THREE THOUSAND YEARS by Diarmaid MacCulloch. You know, she was (as MacCulloch puts it) "the Neoplatonist philosopher... so well respected for her learning that she had overcome the normal prejudices of men to win pre-eminence in the Alexandrian schools." Well, I hate to tell you what a bunch of Christians egged on by monks did to her, and so does MacCulloch, calling it "perhaps the most repulsive case" of the mob violence going on at the time. As I say, I wouldn't even mention it, except that today in the New York Times I see that there is a brand new biopic about Hypatia. And that made me start thinking about where else I had seen her name recently. And I recalled (and have confirmed): it was in a "gawker" review of the final episode of LOST, employed in what I assume to be an extremely highbrow variety of sarcasm as a name for the nameless Allison Janney character who briefly appeared on the show (though please let me assure you that the Allison Janney character, who did something truly horrific right before a Wendy's commercial, has nothing to do with the actual Hypatia). So that is a whole lot of Hypatia going on, don't you think? In related news, the raves keep pouring in. Two of them! My friend from Hubcap City writes, "Wow! Keep those posts on [the MacCulloch book] coming... I read Bunuel’s autobiography My Last Sigh and closed the book feeling richly reworded. Yeah, reworded. His appreciation for odd syntax struck me as a metaphor for his visual vocabulary. MacCulloch’s phrase describing the true end of humanity’s endless quest for satisfaction reads like a title for an as yet unmade Bunuel film: The Embarrassing Non Sequitur of Death." My friend will be happy to know that I also heard from our mutual BFF Kelly Hogan, who submits the blurb-worthy praise, "Thanks for reading CHRISTIANITY: THE FIRST THREE THOUSAND YEARS by Diarmaid MacCulloch... so we don't have toooooooOOOOOoooooo!!!" And now let me explain her reference, which is hilarious to me but will be as distant and mysterious to you youngsters out there as Hypatia herself. See, there used to be this commercial where these anthropomorphic "Scrubbing Bubbles" would clean out your bathtub. The leader of the Scrubbing Bubbles had a saying, which was, "We work hard so you don't have toooooooOOOOOoooooo!!!" The manner of his final cry is explained by the fact that he is last seen in the commercial swirling down your bathtub drain, to certain extinction. Hogan has helpfully provided the photo of a man dressed up like a bunch of Scrubbing Bubbles for Halloween (I guess). The plastic hands bother me for some reason. Aren't those plastic hands? Also pictured, Rachel Weisz as Hypatia in the new film AGORA.