13 February 2012

{[(5 - 3) + 6 - 2 = 6 - 1] = 5 - 1 = 4} - 1 = 3 - 1 = 2 books, and one is reviewed here... so 1 book left after this!

8. Quentin Tarantino and Philosophy

This is just one volume in the series Popular Culture and Philosophy, George A. Reisch, series editor. There must be a hundred books in the series by now.

The idea is to apply philosophical questions to popular television series or movie(s). But not always. There are topics like Metallica and Philosophy, Baseball and Philosophy, Harley-Davidson and Philosophy, and even iPod and Philosophy. These alongside Family Guy and Philosophy, The Matrix and Philosophy, House and Philosophy, and [Any Video Game You've Ever Played] and Philosophy.

To enjoy the books, you need some knowledge of philosophy (Western and Eastern), but not a lot. You'll want to be substantially familiar with the subject matter, be it a television series or a trendy diet plan. (Philosophy and the Atkins Diet. I kid you not.) When I started the series, I was worried my philosophy background was too rusty. That's not the problem: It's that I'm only familiar with about a tenth of the pop culture addressed and that knowledge is what you need to get into it.

The Quentin Tarantino volume deals with some of the more obvious philosophical aspects of his movies. The majority of the philosopher-writers take off from competing moral theories and apply them to characters and events in the film. With Tarantino's movies, you could pretty much build an academic career doing only that.

Other subfields investigated are Time and Causality, as in Pulp Fiction, where telling the story out of sequence gives multiple takes on cause and effect; and, the concepts of identity and spirituality, with reference to Jules' epiphany in Pulp Fiction and the Bride's conversion from "natural born killer" (Tarantino's self-tribute?) to "Mommy" in
Kill Bill.

Uma Thurman, as The Bride in Kill Bill
(and now, my desktop image)

John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson as Vincent and Jules in Pulp Fiction
This is a thought-provoking and entertaining book in a very creative series. This is one of my favorite volumes. Of all the volumes I've read, my "#1 favorite" is House and Philosophy. Oh wait, Lost and Philosophy. But then I really enjoyed The Office and Philosophy. You get the idea.


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