Friday, August 28, 2009

Whig Propaganda Coming Soon to a Theater near You

Lionel Spiegel has tipped me off to the coming movie Agora, starring Rachel Weisz. It tells the story of the late antique pagan female philosopher Hypatia, who was murdered by a Christian mob. Judging from the preview, the film seems to hit the basic Whig and feminist talking points. The fourth century is the downfall of civilization with the coming of fanatical misogynistic Christianity, who also burn down the Great Library at Alexandria. Might it be too much to ask that the movie actually give some context to these events and actually deal with some of the complexities of the political situation beyond pagans are good and tolerant and Christians are nasty and intolerant. And they have the nerve to call this a true story.

Hypatia was not a modern scientist nor was she a modern feminist. She was a Platonist philosopher who lived in the period of late antiquity. Of course this would actually require some actual background on philosophy in late antiquity. The moment you treat her as anything besides for this you have are no longer dealing with history but with fiction. Any attempt to consciously pass off such fiction as history is to engage in falsehood.

1 comment:

Lincoln Mullen said...

Thanks for the review. It was interesting to note that the preview had no spoken words. It seems that if you want to craft an emotionally compelling (but false) film, minimizing the dialogue is the way to go.

Of course, I don't know what the film itself is like.