Thursday, July 29, 2010

Art & Culture: True Blood and Philosophy edited by George A. Dunn and Rebecca Housel

While there is something inherently lame about the and Philosophy series edited by William Irwin, the books in this series are also ultra-compelling. And very little could be more compelling than the latest entry, True Blood and Philosophy (Wiley), paired with the über-catchy subtitle: We Wanna Think Bad Thoughts With You. So there you have a recipe for publishing success: take a vampire or two, stir in a hit television series and then throw in some philosophy and some pop culture -- even measures, please -- and what do you end up with? Well, pure truth if some are to be believed. From the introduction:
As it turns out, philosophy has a lot in common with True Blood. Like the vampires, shape-shifters, and other supernatural beings that pass through Bon Temps, philosophers are often regarded as deviant characters due to their habit of overturning expectations and tempting us to think outside conventional boundaries.
Right. My thoughts exactly. V-a-m-p-i-r-e is just another way to spell philosopher, right?

And then we have the usual series mix of erudite ivory tower-based commentary on the topic at hand. Though the subject and the presentation demand I apply some irony at this point, the writing here is good, the essays well conceived and thoughtfully presented.

At present, the and Philosophy series includes 20 titles that use contemporary pop culture to frame philosophical concepts. An interesting idea well presented. ◊

David Middleton is a graphic designer and photographer and the art and culture editor of January Magazine.

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