Saturday, March 05, 2005

Degrees of Separation

Fun quiz time! Who are these guys, and what coincidences link them all together? (PeaceBang already knows, or should.)

(Extra credit for correctly picking out the only Unitarian in the bunch.)


At March 6, 2005 at 3:38:00 PM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The second one looks like Theodore Parker having a bad hair day.

Is that last guy Paul Giamatti?

At March 6, 2005 at 5:24:00 PM EST, Blogger Chalicechick said...

Ezra Stiles, Ezra Stiles Gannet, Kennesaw Landis, Angelo Giametti and Paul Giametti.

I think they were all Yalies, though I don't think that's the chain of coincidence you're looking for.


PS. Ezta Stiles Gannett was the Unitarian.

At March 6, 2005 at 6:11:00 PM EST, Blogger fausto said...

Anonymous is right that the last guy is Paul Giamatti.

CC is right about the identities of Ezra Stiles, Ezra Stiles Gannett, Kenesaw Mountain Landis, and Paul Giamatti, though her spelling is a little off. She's got the last name of the other Giamatti right, but he wasn't generally known as "Angelo".

No, they weren't all Yalies, though some were; but yes, it wasn't their college attendance I was looking for.

So we still need to identify one, and what circumstances link them. Hint: Each is linked to at least one of the others by some coincidence, but each particular coincidence links only two of them.

At March 6, 2005 at 6:31:00 PM EST, Blogger Chalicechick said...

Angelo Bartlett Giametti. Whatevers.

At March 6, 2005 at 7:40:00 PM EST, Blogger fausto said...

Well, okay, but nobody ever called him "Angelo". (Or "Dr.", which he likewise was entitled but declined to be called, but that's a different discussion.) He's "Bart" to his fans; "The Prince of Darkness" to fans of Pete Rose.

And yes, Gannett was the Unitarian.

But how are they all connected?

At March 8, 2005 at 6:32:00 AM EST, Blogger fausto said...

Hmm. No further responses. Okay, here are the answers:

1. Ezra Stiles, Congregational minister, President of Yale, longtime friend of Benjamin Franklin.

2. Ezra Stiles Gannett, Unitarian minister, grandson of Stiles, protege of William Ellery Channing, nemesis of Theodore Parker. (Inherited Stiles's wig as well as his name, but apparently thought it was to be worn on the chin to hide the clerical collar and Geneva tabs.)

3. Kenesaw Mountain Landis, Commissioner of Baseball, banned "Shoeless" Joe Jackson for involvement in gambling.

4. A. Bartlett "Bart" Giamatti, President of Yale, Commissioner of Baseball, banned Pete "Charley Hustle" Rose for involvement in gambling. Lifelong fan of the Boston Red Sox, died without seeing them win the World Series.

5. Paul Giamatti, movie actor, son of Bart.

I could also have added portraits of Channing, Parker and Emerson, but recognizing them would be too easy.

This was fun and silly, but there is nevertheless a deeper point: our Seventh Principle, "the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part". We live our lives at such a fast pace that we are forced to compartmentalize and take things in bits, but in fact there really are threads, sometimes visible, more often imperceptible, linking everything to everything else. Discovering these threads adds richness and meaning to life. When you watch Paul Giamatti on the screen, when you go to a baseball game, you're only a couple of connections away from Theodore Parker or Ben Franklin.

As fellow blogger Will Shetterly says, "It's all one thing". As environmental and political activist Barry Commoner said, "Everything is connected to everything else." As Kingman Brewster, another Yale president, said, it's all wrapped up together in "the great end and real businness of living". As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, we are all "one with the blowing clover and the falling rain". As John Donne said, "Ask not fo whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee." As songwriter Pat Humphries sings:

We are living 'neath the great Big Dipper,
We are washed by the very same rain ,
We are swimming in the stream together,
Some in power and some in pain,
We can worship this ground we walk on,
Cherishing the beings that we live beside,
Loving spirits will live forever:
We're all Swimming to the Other Side.

I am alone and I am searching,
Hungering for answers in my time;
I am balanced at the brink of wisdom,
I'm impatient to receive a sign,
I move forward with my senses open--
Imperfection it be my crime--
In humility I will listen:
We're all Swimming to the Other Side.

On this journey through thoughts and feelings,
Binding intuition my head, my heart,
I am gathering the tools together,
I'm preparing to do my part,
All of those who have come before me
Band together to be my guide,
Loving lessons that I will follow:
We're all Swimming to the Other Side.

When we get there we'll discover
All of the gifts we've been given to share
Have been with us since life's beginning,
And we never noticed they were there;
We can balance at the brink of wisdom,
Never recognizing we've arrived;
Loving spirits will live forever:
We're all Swimming to the Other Side.

At March 8, 2005 at 7:08:00 AM EST, Blogger Chalicechick said...

And ya know what? Paul Giametti was in "My best friend's wedding" with Julia Roberts, who was in "Flatliners" with Kevin Bacon!


At March 8, 2005 at 11:03:00 AM EST, Blogger fausto said...

And Kevin Bacon's father, Edmund Bacon, was the city planner responsible for the revitalization and redevelopment of much of downtown Philadelphia, and a professor of mine in graduate school.

At March 8, 2005 at 12:57:00 PM EST, Blogger Chalicechick said...

Ezra Stiles to Bart Giametti to Paul Giametti to Julia Roberts to Kevin Bacon to Edumund Bacon to Fausto.

OK, that's seven degrees of separation, but it's still pretty cool.


At March 8, 2005 at 3:02:00 PM EST, Blogger fausto said...

You mentioned Kevin Bacon, which requires seven degrees to get back to Stiles. Without Kevin, I actually can make the link to Stiles in only two. But it's the one extra degree beyond Stiles to Ben Franklin that I think is especially cool.


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