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"... Russell has only three degrees of separation from Kevin Bacon"
January 17, 2013 9:19 AM   Subscribe

Bertrand Russell in Bollywood: The Old Philosopher’s Improbable Appearance in a Hindi Film, 1967 [SLYT] "The year was 1967. Russell was by then a very frail 95-year-old man. Besides finishing work on his three-volume autobiography, Russell was devoting much of his remaining time to the struggle for peace and nuclear disarmament. To that end, he sometimes made himself available to people he thought could help the cause. (See our March 2012 post, “How Bertrand Russell Turned the Beatles Against the Vietnam War.”) So when he was asked to appear in a movie called Aman, about a young Indian man who has just received his medical degree in London and wants to go to Japan to help victims of the atomic bombings at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Russell said yes." [via: openculture.com]
posted by Fizz (14 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
I need those slippers.
posted by DU at 9:49 AM on January 17, 2013


Seems like we don't see philosophers on TV interview shows or in Movies much anymore. Why not?
posted by notyou at 10:17 AM on January 17, 2013


Seems like we don't see philosophers on TV interview shows or in Movies much anymore. Why not?

Slavoj Zizek.
posted by Fizz at 10:22 AM on January 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


My father chauffeured him around as part of the anti-war Committee of 100. Great man.
posted by alasdair at 10:40 AM on January 17, 2013


I assume you meant to link to the post you are quoting. It also substantiates said Bacon number.
posted by dgaicun at 10:51 AM on January 17, 2013


Thanks for catching that dgaicun, I thought I had. Apologies.
posted by Fizz at 11:18 AM on January 17, 2013


What a wonderful find! It's a pity much of the dialogue is dubbed. I wish there was a list of philosophers cameos in feature films somewhere.
posted by faustdick at 12:57 PM on January 17, 2013


Seems like we don't see philosophers on TV interview shows or in Movies much anymore. Why not?

Cornel West appeared in the Matrix Reloaded.
posted by jonp72 at 12:57 PM on January 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Jaques Barzun (who just died at age 104, holy shit!) would have argued that the reason why we no longer see philosophers in mainstream discourse is because we are living in a demotic age, under the tyranny of the backwards baseball cap.
posted by KokuRyu at 1:30 PM on January 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


So he's probably trivially easy to link to Erdős...I wonder if he's got a Sabbath number too.
posted by Earthtopus at 3:21 PM on January 17, 2013


Jean Baudrillard, by proxy, has a cameo in the first Matrix movie. However, I think philosophy died when the Berlin Wall came down and we reached the end of the story - the sector shrank and philosophers are doing other things now.
posted by KokuRyu at 5:33 PM on January 17, 2013


Amusing that (the Hindi voiceover says) the protagonist met Bertrand Russell to get his "aashirwaad" (blessings), and not for asking his guidance/ help/ views/ etc. I'm sure it's me being a 21st century desi saying this, but if it's only for an aashirwaad, why _meet_ a busy, frail man and use his time to talk about your pet project to help Hiroshima/ Nagasaki victims? Why not get this endorsement in writing? Saves time for everyone, might even open a few doors if you play your cards right.

That is to say, my personal code is that if you're being honoured with someone's time, don't make it all about you, use that time to get the other person's _views_ on things, you know, discuss analytic philosophy, or on his views on society or something. Or, given his reputation as a pacifist (indeed, the voice-over talks about precisely this), they could have easily arranged the dialogue in such a way that the protagonist is fully inspired to go to Hiroshima as a result of meeting him or something. At the very least, get him to autograph your copy of Principia Mathematica. Merely stating your project and asking for aashirwaad seems like a massive self-centered padding of your own personal ego and nothing else.

It is scenes like this that often make me suspect that ye gods of Bollywood (That is, "golden-era" movies, as opposed to Indian New Wave) not only created a make-believe world where anything goes, but tried their best to live in a world where usual social dynamics don't matter.
posted by the cydonian at 7:51 PM on January 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


I've never heard his voice before. Thanks so much for this. IMO most important philosopher of the last century.
posted by professor plum with a rope at 11:55 PM on January 17, 2013


Wait, what? Philosophy is alive and very well indeed.
posted by professor plum with a rope at 11:56 PM on January 17, 2013


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