Monday, July 19, 2010

Anyone Can Do Philosophy Now: 10 "and Philosophy" titles.

Once upon the time, Monica and I had this game going for the best For Dummies titles - this soon included Idiot's Guide titles. From Pregnancy for Dummies to Idiot's Guide to the Paranormal, we had a blast with those titles. Each time we found one, we'd text or pic messaged the title in order to procure the invisible crown.

While those days are setting, they are not gone. In the wake with the sudden bloom of the pop culture and philosophy books, we decided that the game needed a tune up. Mostly because during our book hunt at Barnes and Nobel, I spied with my little eye one World of Warcraft and Philosophy. I snatched it from the shelf and handed it over to her, saying, "Here, this is for you." Lately, my fellow book hunter has fallen prey to the grasps of the MMORPG world. She jokes by saying, "I'll see you there in two weeks," an inside joke about the time when she joined Second Life and had to endure my nerd jokes only for me to join the ranks two weeks later. 

What started with Seinfeld and Philosophy, for us anyway, has now bloomed into several titles - from Twilight and Philosophy to Alice in Wonderland and Philosophy, hitting everything in between. I suppose it's about time that I share my favorite titles with the world.

  1. Watchmen and Philosophy - Quite frankly, this is the first and only title from the series I've read in full. Mostly because the world of Watchmen is so full of questions that left me pondering after reading the graphic novel and watching the film. If you're wondering - yes, it has a lot do with Dr. Manhattan and Rorschach. 
  2. The Undead and Philosophy - Subtitled Chicken Soup for the Soulless, this book proves that even the brain eating, blood sucking undead have a set of rules they live by. And sometimes they cause us to live by a new set of rules, or return to an older set. This collection of essays on the undead was later republished under the title Zombies, Vampires, and Philosophy in order to cater to the fang bangers (thank you True Blood!) that have multiplied over the last few years. To be brutally honest, only a small portion of essays piqued my interest, the zombie ones. I'm not a fan of vampire thought or the current vampire sensation - thank you Stephanie Meyer, you poor excuse of a writer. 
  3. Bob Dylan and Philosophy - If any musician needs a book dedicated to the philosophy of his words, it's Bob Dylan. Metallica can go fuck themselves, those greedy talentless bastards. While I haven't read the book, I still want it for the sake of owning something else Bob Dylan. I swear, I'm  not obsessed. 
  4. Batman and Philosophy - The Dark Knight indeed has his own philosophy, as does his mythos - damn, Clive Barker was right about that term being thrown around loosely. While we're on the subject of superheroes/supervillains, the collection also has a more general title, Superheroes and Philosophy. However, I prefer the counterpart, Supervillains and Philosophy.
  5. Mr. Monk and Philosophy - Let's sit back on this one for a moment. Why do I want this? The question really should be is how can I live without it? 
  6. House and Philosophy - Another book inspired from a TV show - there will be a couple more shortly - the only reason I want this book is for its subtitle, Everybody Lies. I know it's a poor reason for wanting a book, but this aren't exactly the best books to buy. That won't stop me, though.
  7. Bullshit and Philosophy - I read the essay On Bullshit, which I stupidly bought thinking it might be worth my while (it was, but not worth my money). This book intrigues me because so many essays were sparked from a single essay. The book is much larger than its inspiration. Doesn't make it good, just makes it interesting.
  8. Stephen Colbert and Philosophy - What started as a spin off has now grown into a cultural sensation. The conservative news satire is something of a guilty pleasure - one part Daily Show, two parts a bloated Bill O'Reilly attitude. If any late night fake news show deserves a philosophy book, it would have to be Stephen Colbert. 
  9. Introducing Philosophy Through Pop Culture: From Socrates to South Park, Hume to House - While not exactly an "and Philosophy" title, this yet-to-be-release collection is the embodiment of what the publisher originally set off to do - give an philosophical insight to the masses through familiar territory - their television. 
  10. The Simpsons and Philosophy - If you need this book, then you're not watching the show correctly. However, this book needs to be on your shelf, regardless. While I still haven't gained access to the coveted book, it is one I've wanted for a long time. If the price is right and the gratification is quick.

Now I feel I should mention one more that didn't make the list. Terminator and Philosophy doesn't really grasp my full attention, but does contain a single essay that I would like to own. If I do venture out to buy this one book, it would be solely for that essay, written by Jeff Ewing - the husband of a friend. 

The vampire sensation has birthed yet another collection of philosophical essays - True Blood and Philosophy was found at Barnes today. I don't know how long it's been around, but it does sink its teeth into the gay marriage argument - which I expected it would. 

So there, we go. The series that allows the everyman to read philosophy while avoiding the constant head scratching. My only hope that somewhere down the line the publisher decides to compile a Hellraiser and Philosophy, because if there is one pop culture reference that is chuck full of philosophy, it's the depraved world of Hellraiser.

Now that this is settled, I shall now go off and find myself some amusing titles. If only to protect my imaginary crown. 

Until next time, keep on huntin'.

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