Tuesday, June 03, 2008

New comers in the "X and Philosophy" world

Continuum press, an independent academic publisher oriented towards continental and trendy stuff, has sent out a call for papers for "The Wire and Philosophy", which would make them the third publishing house using this line except for the fact that the book will not actually be titled "The Wire and Philosophy". That's just the subject line of their CFP. The real title will be *Down to The Wire: Urban Decay and American Television* and it looks like it will not be following the formula of Bill Irwin's books. Instead, it will be a general academic look at a TV show, like *Cylons in America* by the same editors. I'm reading *Cylons* now and enjoying it quite a bit.

I've heard that Irwin has received proposals to do an actual "The Wire and Philosophy" volume, but turned it down. He has, however, ok'd *Iron Man and Philosophy* and *Final Fantasy and Philosophy*. The latter convinces me that the real factor in deciding whether to do an "X and Philosophy" book is how fan-boyish a following the show has. More to the point, the question is: "Is this show or bit of pop culture liked by people who people who buy a lot of merchandise?" This explains not only the large number of superhero "X and Philosophy" books, but also things like "Harley Davidson and Philosophy". Harley is a marketing franchise. People who buy into it are hooked consumers, the sort who might buy a book simply because it has "Harley" in the title, even if they don't read it.

I'm in a weird place with these books right now. I've written for two of them. I enjoy reading them, and I enjoy writing for them *a lot*. But I don't actually see much value in them. Meanwhile, I now have two (2) ideas for my own "X and Philosophy" books. I would love to do *Britney Spears and Philosophy* if the whole book (not just the cover) would be laid out like a tabloid. "Briney caught in epistemological shocker!" I also think the book should have a lot of feminist philosophy: a Britney book would be a good place for consciousness raising. I also thinks *(Alan Moore's) Swamp Thing and (Environmental) Philosophy* would be fun.

2 comments:

Aaron said...

That's interesting news about the volume on The Wire. Hmmm...tempting but I think I can resist. Still need to start the other thing we're involved in...
But I'm off to a conference on Paraliterary Narratives tomorrow! (That'll be an academic conference on comics. In academic speak.) Its' in Northampton (UK) of all places...home of the wonderful wizard of Northampton. I fear he will not attend.

Is Cylons in America actually good? Like better than that other stuff?

Hope all's well with you guys.

BTW: I think the Britney book is a great idea.

Rob Helpy-Chalk said...

Is Cylons in America actually good? Like better than that other stuff?

I've just started it, but it seems like fun. It definitely suffers from continental-philosophy writing style. The tone of the first couple essays is inflated beyond the importance of the points they make.

It is really about time that people figure out how to have an intelligent conversation about a quality TV show that doesn't slide into pomposity or fanboy gushing.