6/6/6 6:6:6

by Eszter Hargittai on June 6, 2006

John has already mentioned that today is special for those who care about that sort of thing. (I’d link to his post if I wasn’t writing this on a somewhat malfunctioning Treo.) I was alerted to the special date by an email from a friend who let me know that he jumped in the shower at 6:06:06am. For those of us who aren’t ready to be doing anything at that hour (including notice the significance of the date and time) and who aren’t too strict about the specifics, another opportunity will arise at 6:06pm. What’s interesting enough for such an occasion? I will be on Broadway in NYC dropping off a friend at his show at 6pm. But so then what?

UPDATE: I’ve fixed the numerous typos in this post now that I have Web access again. I’ve also uploaded what I ended up doing at 6:06pm 6/6/06. In true photogeek fashion, I was just taking a picture.



JR 06.06.06 at 10:12 am

We just had 1:02:03 4/5/06. Maybe you could do today what you did then.


Chris Bertram 06.06.06 at 10:15 am

I remember the day when my primary school teacher told the class that it was 6/6/66 .


Ray 06.06.06 at 10:43 am

Are there no churches to burn in Brooklyn?

Or (if people are going to get all upset by burning churches), there must be some masses going on around that time of the evening – so fake a Rapture for the people coming out.


perianwyr 06.06.06 at 10:43 am

nonsense, that’s just 1800, although 18 IS 6 x 3.

Numerology is slippery fun.


Angie 06.06.06 at 10:50 am

chris — you remember the day I was born then. :) or as my little joke, I am one 6 worst than the beast himself.


aaron 06.06.06 at 11:04 am

hmm. I live in Australia. Believe it not we have a different time zone. We actually get tommorrows paper today- well we’re a day ahead, in time zones any way. If the beast was to come and wreck havoc and show wrath and, whoops I’m not Christian…when would this event happen?, surely the beast wouldn’t be so dis courteous to appear a day early or late for some folks?

Would it happen when it was the 6th in Australia or the USA or is there some special time zone for Inter continental beasts?


The Modesto Kid 06.06.06 at 11:07 am

Happy Birthday, Angie! For me and The Modesto Wife, it is our 13th anniversary. (Oooh, spookie…)


Richard Bellamy 06.06.06 at 11:18 am

How very New Testament of you, Eszter.


Adam Kotsko 06.06.06 at 11:18 am

I feel that the significance of this date has been cheapened by that one horror movie that has been advertising for months that it would come out today.


Jeff Porten 06.06.06 at 11:23 am

GMTA, Eszter: Day of the Beast


rea 06.06.06 at 12:38 pm

Well, but the calendar is plainly inaccurate–Jesus was probably born several years “BC” because the Bible says Herod was alive at the time he was born and Herod died in 4BC. Moreover, in Roman times, March was treated as the first month of the year (hence September, October, November and December)

In other words, today isn’t 6/6/06 at all . . .


Tim 06.06.06 at 1:15 pm

Beyond us, Rea, you foul fiend! Satan captivates souls with just such deception! Beware! Beware!!!!!


y81 06.06.06 at 1:26 pm

I think Glenn Reynolds was on the right track: after dropping your friend off at the theater, go buy Ann Coulter’s new book! It can’t get more Satanic than that.


Hogan 06.06.06 at 2:31 pm

Only a few hours left to observe the National Day of Slayer!


Adam Kotsko 06.06.06 at 2:45 pm

I’d be surprised if the author of Revelation had assumed the following:
1. That the years would eventually be measured with “1” (not zero, for instance) representing Christ’s birth — but that, as rea points out, those setting the dates would be off by a few years.
2. That dates would typically be written with only the last two digits of the year — or rather, that by 2006 the Y2K bug paranoia would have abated as people would realize that no possible confusion could result from continuing to use the two-digit year.
3. That 1006 (or 3006, or 4006) would not be a good year to have the apocalypse come, but 2006 would be.


Henry (not the famous one) 06.06.06 at 5:48 pm

At the risk of repeating myself, everyone should read the first chapter of Confessions of Zeno (or Zeno’s Conscience–take your pick of the available translations) by Italo Svevo, in which he discourses on the attractiveness of dates, all in the context of giving up cigarettes. You’ll thank me.


Stuart 06.06.06 at 7:14 pm

#15 Well quite, and add to that whoever wrote revelations must also have had some good preknowledge of what Pope Gregory XIII would do one and a half millenia later – let alone all the other adjustments to the calendar we use in the intervening 2000 years, which are probably many more than people imagine.


Patrick S. O'Donnell 06.07.06 at 8:51 am

Scholarly consensus would have it that ‘John’ or the author of Revelation was making coded reference (via gematria) to the imperial cult, thereby associating the emperor (Nero) with the beast and the beast with Satan (the first Jewish war with Rome having begun during the reign of Nero). As explained in yesterday’s LA Times:

“It is a great conundrum,” said David M. Scholer, professor of the New Testament at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena and an authority on the Book of Revelation, the last book of the Bible. “Scholars have debated this throughout the history of the church.”

‘The number comes from Revelation 13:18, credited to John:

This calls for wisdom. If anyone has insight, let him calculate the number of the beast, for it is man’s number. His number is 666.

In “The Omen,” the image is literal, a birthmark of three sixes on the boy’s head.

Scholer says the current theory held by most scholars is that 666 is a cryptogram for Nero, the Roman emperor who persecuted Christians with unspeakable cruelty.

Though Revelation is written in Greek, the cryptogram relates to Caesar Nero in Hebrew, pronounced KEser NEron. Hebrew did not have signs for numbers and instead assigned numerical values to letters in the alphabet.

Scholer said that adding up the value of the Hebrew letters in Nero’s name — 100, 60, 200, 50, 200, 6 and 50 — one gets 666.

Revelation — apocalypse in Greek — was probably written between AD 81 and 96, during a time when many believed that Nero might come back to life.

In AD 68, Nero killed himself by slitting his throat. That wound, and the fear of Nero’s return, apparently accounts for Revelation 13:3: One of the heads of the beast seemed to have had a fatal wound, but the fatal wound had been healed. The whole world was astonished and followed the beast.’

A nice introduction is provided by Adela Yarbro Collins: ‘The Book of Revelation,’ in John J. Collins, ed., The Encyclopedia of Apocalypticism, Vol. 1: The Origins of Apocalypticism in Judaism and Christianity (New York: Continuum, 1998), pp. 384-414.

All of this makes for splendid reading in light of the later development of the Holy Roman Empire beginning with Constantine I.

And as an antidote to this nonsense, one might consult alternative calendars (typically lunar): Jewish, Islamic, Buddhist, Chinese….


Emmy 06.08.06 at 12:25 am

Special day for those who care or believe in that sort of thing but not for those who aren’t strict about the specifics.

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