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Social Networking: AGORA

May bouquet
Wednesday 19th May, clear and fair, warmer weather continues. Deep mist at 6am, clearing to a dimmer version of yesterday's brilliant blue and silver morning.

Dear "friends", it's like this. A long time ago, longer ago than most of you can possibly remember, when I was first introduced to communication via the amazing internet, I noticed something and told my mentor, the Viridian Pope as would be: Bruce, this is a public place. You can tell me the community of digerati trust each other and revere freedom of speech, fine, but one cannot communicate anything one would not write on the back of a postcard, or discuss on an old fashioned telephone like with the operator listening-in. . .

The internet is not a private place, the nature of the beast forbids it. But people who live their lives on Facebook or similar are accepting something else, besides the open line. It's like those rabbits in Watership Down, the ones with the highly developed social lives, who lived in a warren where the local humans mysteriously provided all amenities and delicious treats. . . Tragically, rabbits kept disappearing from this delightful place. Secretly everyone knew what was going on, but it was worth it. Those lovely treats! Facebook addicts are being eaten, and maybe it's the way of the world: we are a food source for the profit machine, whatever we do. But I don't often change my mind* so I'm still a contrarian here, same as I was nearly twenty years ago. (*Know thyself, I've said this in my old fragment of an autobiography on Gwynethann). So this is how it goes. You can "friend" me any time you like, and I'll probably say yes, although most of you I've never met and I never will. You can send me Facebook messages & I'll respond. Occasionally I'll "join" the whatever it is that's suggested. Otherwise, I'm inert.

I keep this occasional diary, which has no affiliations, no advertising, no status as a reviewing blog. I maintain (occasionally) Gwynethann, the site where I post free fiction and non-fiction, and sell books; where anyone can find my email address and "personal details". To me that seems like plenty.

Went to see AGORA last night. Loved it. Cosmology and a Cultural Revolution, seriously well-produced: now that's a rare treat indeed. Rachel Weisz was wonderful, her supporting cast of Roman Citizen good guyes and Rampant Christian bad guys were also great. References to another Cultural Revolution, ie the Spanish Civil War, aka first round of the War Against Fascism, inevitable and to my mind justified. Books get burned, Fascists are going to be referenced. Church as force for moral corruption, likewise. I'm not so sure about the Mingella character, Davus the troubled slave. Lusting after his mistress and then hating her and turning to Christianity because she patted him on the head and snapped at him: that's fine, very 1793, only something failed, his strand was muddled, too minor, possibly it was the acting, or maybe the 12A cert. But how handsomely staged! I loved the sweeps out from that perfectly formed model of 5th C Alexandria to the blue planet hanging in space, and the great starry sky.

I didn't mind at all that Hypatia was discovering elliptical planetary orbits etc, twelve hundred years before Kepler. It was wonderful to watch her, fascinated, concentrated, obsessed. (Yet not too obsessed to stand up, when it came to the point of accepting house arrest, or nobly taking the consequences.). We don't know what she did, we weren't there: and that's part of the point, hence the expression "Dark Ages". Didn't mind that young Orestes (later the nice, troubled Prefect) paraphrases Alfonso of Castile's dry, possibly apocryphal, C13 reaction to the Ptolemaic system in all its weird glory (If God had consulted me, I should have reccomended something a little simpler). I did mind that Hypatia was depicted as the only woman with any clout, the only woman at all indeed, with any speaking part, in 5th Century Alexandria. This does not make sense. Even the Apostle Paul, in first century Judea, was depending on donations from successful businesswomen, all the time he was ranting against uppity females from the pulpit (the shameles hypocrite). Hypatia was a rare person, a genius, I can believe it. But women were there. They were priestesses, they were independently wealthy entrepreneurs, they influential hostesses with salons, they were over-educated daughters. The women are always there, in political and cultural dramas of human history, but sometimes they get remembered and most times they don't & this is not a good time. Ironically, you'd have seen more women with more influence on the action in AGORA if the movie had come out in 1951, with Ava Gardner in the part.

Long post. Too long. I may come back and correct it, later (I did).


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