ACS: Ah, high culture

Mar 27, 2019
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I bet $100 that this is the first ACS meeting where a session has featured a slide of Jesus Christ with an erection.

Yes, you guessed it, it is the presidential session celebrating Carl Djerassi: chemist, novelist, and playwright. He was a top chemist for many years, specializing in synthesis of marine natural products, and collecting awards like pogs. Then, late in his career, he turned to literature. Lately, plays have been his thing, and at the end of the laudatory session, there was a reading of selections from his play “Phallacy”. He played the character Prof. Rex Stolzfuss. But it was in a scene where a young art historian chats with a young chemist about the representations of Christ’s genitals in art that the image, an engraving from the 1520s called “Man of Sorrows”, according to the online text of the play, appeared. Alas, no amount of googling can summon up an image, but rest easy, Jesus is clothed…but showing.

I am no theater critic, so I won’t say anything more about the play. I will say, though, as a feminist, it is fun to see the man who first synthesized progesterone—which led to the birth control pill.


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