Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Philosophers and pop culture

I'm a big fan of Gilles Deleuze, and for that matter, Michel Foucault. Apparently a lot of other people are too, even some who I wouldn't have guessed at. I find it very interesting, though, that in Europe, it's not just academics who will point at these philosophers and others like them (Derrida, *shudder*), but pop culture icons. Now don't get me wrong, I'm sure that somewhere out there is something very specific to the S&M subculture that's named the Foucault. But that's appropriate to his particular oeuvre, if you know what I mean.

Deleuze has influenced a number of different elements of European culture, including science fiction, which was unfortunately made into a horrible movie. In fairness, I haven't seen the movie, but I have read the book, and I can't even begin to imagine how they could translate the complexities of a (pretentious) Deleuzian approach to schizophrenia and a Teilhardian approach to evolution into a two hour action movie. However, much like an S&M tribute to Foucualt, the meandering overly-pretentious writing by Dantec (even including himself in one of the later scenes), fits the Deleuzian oeuvre.

Sometimes, though, this sort of stuff surprises you. Let's consider another theme of the Deleuzian approach, the Body Without Organs. Like his other stuff, it's heavy, it's pretentious, it's everything this is not. For some reason, a pop band that is more bubble-gum than Britney Spears, Backstreet Boys, or even the Jonas Brothers names itself after a Continental Philosopher. Does anyone else see a problem with this picture?

And why does this only exist in Europe? Why do we not have pop bands or science fiction authors influenced by Deleuze? Or hell, let's even look at some of our American philosophers, William James, John Searle, or even Noam Chomsky. At this point, I would take something based on Borges - at least he's American in the broader sense.

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