6.20.2005

Forget Paris

So Paris Hilton is marrying a guy named Paris.
How many people on this planet can there be named Paris? I realize there are a few more in Europe than Michigan, but come on. And what can the odds be that two of them hook up? They have to be Powerballesque odds, at least.

Ruminating on the fates of two Parises quickly takes my mind, of course, to Greek legend. There's Narcissus, who rebuffed the advances of the Nymph Echo (echo). She, in turn, had Nemesis make him fall in love with his own reflection, staring at himself until he croaked.

Narcissus doesn't quite track for Ms. Hilton's situation, though. She's not in love with her reflection per se, just someone with her name. And her money. And her interesting hair. Perhaps, in her mind, marrying her male doppelganger somehow completes a mystical yin/yang thing.

I'm more drawn to thinking about the name "Paris." It brings to mind Helen of Troy's beau, and all the trouble that Paris got himself and a few-hundred thousand Greeks and Trojans into. That's a name with a bit of history.

So. Paris, France was named after a Greek legend*. Paris Hilton was named after a hotel. Paris Latsis may have been named after the nurse went a little too heavy on his mom's morphine drip. Or his granddad, there are conflicting reports.

Where was I?
The origin of academy, right.
So, before Paris took Helen and the Greeks got all wooden-horse on the Trojans, Helen had been taken by Theseus (apparently, "Helen gets kidnapped" is one of Greek myth's running gags). When Castor (and Pollux, natch) went looking for Helen, a fellow named Academus helped them out. In gratitude, the Spartans named a grove outside Athens after him. Years later, Plato moved in next door to the Grove of Academus and began taking his students there to philosophize in peace, away from the sounds of traffic and cell phones. He eventually passed on, but the Athenians had taken to calling his school the Academia, after the grove. And that's why places of learning are called academies.

A footnote: It was Aristotle who first came up with the idea of an Academy Award, and he nicknamed it after his cousin Oscar. The buzz is that thanks to House of Wax, Paris Hilton has a good shot at one next year.

*There is no evidence of this.

4 comments:

eric j. sherman said...

Big deal, grooves get named after people all the time these days.

Eric "Babe" Morse said...

Like the Emperor's New one?
Grove is in the heart...

LuckySpinster said...

i always learn so much from you.

paris said...

my name is paris. I hung out with a beautiful girl named paris. the inspiration for my name comes from Romeo and Juliet. Do your homework!