Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Buffy The Vampire Slayer And Philosophy: Fear And Trembling in Sunnydale

I’ve been slowly moving through a Philosophy and Pop Culture series from Open Court Publishing. The series of books take different pop culture phenomenon and apply philosophical thoughts to it. You can find books on The Simpsons, Harry Potter, Transformers and many more. Some choices, like The Matrix I can understand its philosophical aspects. Others, like iPod, I don’t. Either way, I can definitely see myself reading many more of these books.

I really enjoyed Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Philosophy. I was a pretty big fan of Buffy The Vampire Slayer throughout high school and university. Since I’m also a fan of philosophy, when I saw the two combined, I couldn’t resist. BtVS and Philosophy was an interesting read. The various philosophers applied the philosophical thoughts of Plato, Aristotle and Kant to Buffy and her life. They discussed Morality, Ethics and Religion. Some of it was brilliant, some of it was far-fetched.

One thing that put me off the book a few times was the repetition. Almost all of the authors thought it necessary to discuss season 4 and “The Initiative”. “The Initiative” was a government run elite group of soldiers trained to fight demons. These young men weren’t like Buffy and her mystery solving friends. In contrast, they were the follow orders, shoot first types. I can see why this season would be so appealing to discuss when dealing with issues like Morality and Ethics. After a while though, I had to take a break from the book when I felt like “The Initiative” was all anyone could talk about.

Once I got to the last section of the book, my enjoyment of it returned. The last three essays were fantastic. I couldn’t wait to discover what these authors had to say. The choice of the final essay was interesting. I felt like it was inflammatory to those who read the entire collection of Buffy essays and appreciated them. It ran opposite to what pretty much all of the other authors were saying. It was almost like it was trying to undo everything. I enjoyed that I could hate it. Of the entire collection, I really enjoyed the first few essays and the final few. It was the repetition of the middle that became frustrating. Of course, because this is a collection, you don’t have to read all of them or read them in order. Skip the ones you don’t like and move on the exciting ones.

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