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Pop Goes Philosophy

Tuesday, March 1 2011

Marxism: The Music Theory That Never Goes Out of Style

How fitting that a post-punk band from the late '70s, fascinated by the Marxist metaphysics of modernity, would re-emerge to remind us that nothing new has happened in rock in decades. Of course Thom Yorke might disagree...


Sunday, January 9 2011

Birthered in the U.S.A.

Every time Anderson Cooper cornered Leo Berman on his refusal to accept the abundant evidence about Obama’s Hawaiian birth, Berman changed the subject—right back to his original, hopeless claim.


Tuesday, November 2 2010

Pulp Non-Fiction: Where Tarantino Meets Aristotle

Truth is as strange as fiction. Compare God in America with Angels in America and you can hardly tell the difference -- which is what Pulp Fiction has been saying all along.


Tuesday, September 7 2010

Philosophical Tactics in International Soccer

What exactly are Marx, Hegel, Aristotle and Socrates doing after Confucius blows the ref’s whistle? They’re not just thinking about soccer. They’re playing... sort of.


Tuesday, July 13 2010

Fooled by Skepticism

Skepticism has been fueling pop culture for decades. Just ask John Lennon or Pete Townshend. Lately it’s just been fooling pop culture about science.


Sunday, May 2 2010

The Pope of Satire

Judging from the worried silence that met Stephen Colbert’s satirical comments about the current president, it seems he stepped over the line from his trademark truthiness that entertains to plain-old truth (or perhaps taboo) that his audience did not want to hear. As comedy routines go, this one died fast.


Tuesday, February 23 2010

Übermensch and Übermonk

Adrian Monk is slave to his obsessions, but he’s the master of his self. He's possibly even the master of the future of humanity.


Wednesday, January 20 2010

Pop Culture’s IQ: The Downward Spiral

How can you explain the difference between Julia Child and Rachael Ray without acknowledging the elephant in pop culture's living room? We're getting dumber.


Monday, November 9 2009

Nobel Prizes and Nobel Promises

President Obama probably rattled and hummed in disbelief when he got his Nobel Prize. Ask Bono.


Monday, September 14 2009

Captain Obama and the Final Frontier

Obama's four-year mission: to explore strange new worlds; to seek out new life and new kinds of political confusion; to boldly go where no rational health-care reformer has gone before.


Tuesday, July 21 2009

Hail to the Thief, Again?

Thom Yorke’s thoughts about political power are in good company. Great theorists of power and justice agree: “you do it to yourself”.


Tuesday, May 12 2009

Obama is The Boss

What Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen share is an understanding that real life happens on the ground, regardless of the hot ideological winds blowing through Crawford or Washington D.C. or talk radio.


Monday, March 9 2009

Don’t Touch that Dial

If Congress had its way, Dorothy would have clicked her ruby slippers together and chanted, “There’s no place like home theater. There’s no place like home theater.”


Monday, January 26 2009

Where the Frak is All My Money?

Battlestar Galactica is like Wall Street—it’s hard to tell Cylons from humans, especially when it comes to galaxy-size Ponzi schemes.


Sunday, October 26 2008

Our Zombies, Our Selves

Zombies, politicians, and consumers alike seek immediate gratification. But can they be happy?


Monday, September 8 2008

I’m Not There, and Neither Are You

The Bob Dylan film, I’m Not There, shows that the main puzzle behind pop music’s most enigmatic personality resides right here, within us all.


Tuesday, July 15 2008

George W. and J. Peterman, Philosophically Speaking

It takes guts to look squarely at the paradox of subjectivity, as former White House press secretary Scott McClellan can attest.


Tuesday, May 6 2008

Cultural Meanings in America Make Benefit Glorious Bank Accounts of Creationists

Is Ben Stein taking a page from Michael Moore? No, from Borat is more like it.


Sunday, March 2 2008

Rock Hits Wall

Does a conservative obsession with its past threaten the originality and imagination of today's rock music? Pink Floyd's The Wall casts a long shadow on the genre.


Monday, January 14 2008

Lead Us Not Into Speculation, Nor Excessive Computation

A prominent philosopher argues that you, me, and everyone you know may be an artificial computer-simulation of a person.


Tuesday, November 13 2007

Don’t Keep Your Philosophy Under Your (Mr.) Hat

The point of philosophy going pop is not to exalt the ivory tower and herd people inside; it’s to give philosophers a chance to leave.


Tuesday, September 4 2007

My Philosophy, My Vertigo

Are the workings of the human mind and heart forever beyond the reach of science to understand? Two philosophers find the question - and opposed answers - in Hitchcock’s Vertigo.


Monday, July 9 2007

Freedom’s Just Another Word for Nothing Left to Choose

Stoics say freedom is an illusion. That's why they have no choice but to think deeply about the Grateful Dead.


Monday, May 7 2007

High-Minded Bullshit

Philosophy itself is often regarded as part and parcel with the bullshit of popular culture. But it is philosophers who been trying to determine exactly what bullshit is and how it works its magic.


Sunday, April 8 2007

The Meaning (wink, wink) of Life

Welcome to Pop Goes Philosophy by various authors with Open Court Publishing; where philosophers find deep meaning in the depths, and at least a tiny ray of reflection in the shallows, of all that is pop culture.


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