This hilarious cast of star philosophers will make you laugh while you think as they explore the moral conundrums, ridiculous paradoxes, and wild implications of Saturday Night Live
Comedian-philosophers from Socrates to Sartre have always prodded and provoked us, critiquing our most sacred institutions and urging us to examine ourselves in the process. In Saturday Night Live and Philosophy, a star-studded cast of philosophers takes a close look at the 'deep thoughts' beneath the surface of NBC's award-winning late-night variety show and its hosts' zany antics. In this book, philosophy and comedy join forces, just like the Ambiguously Gay Duo, to explore the meaning of life itself through the riffs and beats of the subversive parody that gives the show its razor-sharp wit and undeniable cultural and political significance. Our guest hosts raise some eyebrows with questions like:
- Is Weekend Update Fake News?
- Does SNL upset dominant paradigms or trap us in political bubbles?
- When it comes to SNL, how can we tell the difference between satire, smart-assery, and seriousness?
- Is the Ladies Man too stupid for moral responsibility?
- What is the benefit of jokes that cause outrage?
- The Church Lady has a bad case of moral superiority. How about you?
- What can Wayne and Garth teach us about living a happy life?
JASON SOUTHWORTH is a philosophy instructor at several colleges and universities. His research focuses on the philosophy of language and applied ethics. He has been a regular contributor to the Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture series.
RUTH TALLMAN teaches philosophy and serves as department chair at Hillsborough Community College in Tampa, FL. She spends her summers as a seminar leader at the Sherwin B. Nuland Summer Institute in Bioethics at Yale University. She works in applied ethics, with a particular focus on biomedical ethics. Lately, her research has centered on ethical issues regarding physician-patient relationships.
To learn more about the Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture series, visit www.andphilosophy.com
Robin Barrett is a Ph.D. candidate at Faulkner University, and an online faculty member with Likewise College. Robin is currently focusing his research on divine revelation as it relates to epistemology for his upcoming dissertation. Other areas of interest are metaethics and philosophy of religion. Robin resides in the Pacific Northwest with his wife and three children, and they are all Superfans of da Seattle Seahawks.
Erich Christiansen is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Georgia. He is writing a dissertation on the ethical and political problems with military drones. His article "Wicked world: the politics of the supernatural in Black Sabbath" was included in Black Sabbath and Philosophy: Mastering Reality. He has covered jazz for A Gathering of the Tribes and jazz and comics for Pulse: Berlin. His poetry has appeared in Bad Newz and Maintenant. Erich's other research interests include Greek diners with extremely limited menus, sibling blues musicians, and "French immigrants" with questionable craniums.
Gerald J. Erion is Professor of Philosophy at Medaille College in Buffalo, New York. His research interests include ethics, philosophy of mind, communication theory, and cities; he also writes on critical thinking and the teaching of philosophy. Buffalo's hottest club is Erion's office. This place has everything: books, stacks of paper, Fisher-Price toys, a Labrador retriever, X Day cards, and temporary tattoos. And if you ask about utilitarianism, you might get to see photographs of Jeremy Bentham's body.
Kimberly S. Engels is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Molloy College. Her research focuses on existentialism as a contemporary living philosophy, applicable to all domains of modern life. She is co-editor of Westworld and Philosophy: If You Go Looking for the Truth, Get the Whole Thing, and has published articles relating existentialism to issues in environmental ethics, medical ethics, and public policy. Though she hates to be a Debbie Downer, she feels obligated to remind the reader that feline AIDS is the # 1 killer of domestic cats.
Jeremy Fried is a Ph.D. candidate in philosophy at the University of Oklahoma and also received his J.D. from UC-Berkeley. His current research focuses on the intersection between aesthetics and legal rights, particularly regarding intellectual property. He also does work in philosophy of sport and philosophy of race. Jeremy's favorite SNL sketch is The Polar Bear Cage and he can objectively claim that his cat Risky Biscuits is the best cat in the whole entire world even if she isn't quite the driver Toonces was.
Erik Garrett is Associate Professor in the Department of Communication and Rhetorical Studies at Duquesne University. He received a dual doctorate in philosophy and communication from Purdue University. His books and monographs include Why Do We Go to The Zoo? Communication, Animals, and the Cultural-historical Experience of Zoos and El barrio de la colina: Dos estudios de fenomenologia urbana. He currently is working on a book about urban phenomenology and communication. He is chair of the Society for Phenomenology and the Human Sciences and the North American Levinas Society. No Really!?! This has been Really with Erik and Kati.
Theodore Gracyk is Professor of Philosophy at Minnesota State University Moorhead and (since 2013) the co-editor of The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism. He is the author of several philosophical books on music, including Rhythm and Noise: An Aesthetics of Rock Music (Duke University Press, 1996); Listening to Popular Music (University of Michigan Press, 2007); On Music (Routledge, 2013); and co-author of Jazz and the Philosophy of Art (Routledge, 2018). He has authored numerous articles on the aesthetics of music and the history of aesthetics. He was co-recipient of the 2002 Woody Guthrie Award (the 2002 IASPM/US Book Award). With Andrew Kania, he co-edited The Routledge Companion to Philosophy and Music (2011).
John Scott Gray is Distinguished Teacher and Professor of Philosophy at Ferris State University in Big Rapids, MI. He earned degrees at Furman University (B.A.), Baylor University (M.A.), and Southern Illinois University, Carbondale (Ph.D.). His research interests focus on areas of applied philosophy, including the Philosophy of Sports, Sex and Love, Bioethics, and numerous publications in the Philosophy of Popular Culture. Dr. Gray co-authored Introduction to Popular Culture: Theories, Applications, and Global Perspectives (2013). He is currently working on his next book, An Atheist's Guide to Sacred Space. His hobbies include playing hockey and collecting vintage sports cards. He and his wife, Jo, and his son, Oscar, live in Canadian Lakes, MI.
Jason Holt is Professor in the School of Kinesiology at Acadia University. His current research areas are aesthetics, philosophy of sport, and philosophy and popular culture. His books include Meanings of Art: Essays in Aesthetics and Blindsight and the Nature of Consciousness, which was shortlisted for the Canadian Philosophical Association Book Prize, and as editor, Leonard Cohen and Philosophy: Various Positions, Philosophy of Sport: Core Readings, and The Daily Show and Philosophy: Moments of Zen in the Art of Fake News. His literary work includes the recent Up Against Beyond: Selected Poems, 1994-2017. He aspires one day to affirm that he's good enough, he's smart enough, and doggone it, people like him.
William Irwin is Hervé A. LeBlanc Distinguished Service Professor and Chair of Philosophy at King's College in Pennsylvania. He is the general editor of the Blackwell and Philosophy Pop Culture Series in addition to being the volume editor for Metallica and Philosophy and Black Sabbath and Philosophy. Irwin's most recent books include God Is a Question, Not an Answer: Finding Common Ground in Our Uncertainty and the novel Little Siddhartha. Bill has always thought that philosophy needs more cowbell.
David Kyle Johnson is Professor of Philosophy at King's College, in Wilkes-Barre. Pennsylvania. His specializations include metaphysics, logic, and philosophy of religion. His recording for "The Great Courses" include Sci-Phi: Science Fiction as Philosophy, The Big Questions of Philosophy, and Exploring Metaphysics. Kyle is the editor-in-chief of The Palgrave Handbook of Popular Culture as Philosophy (forthcoming) and has also edited Black Mirror and Philosophy: Dark Reflections and Inception and Philosophy: Because It's Never Just a Dream. A fan of SNL since his youth, Kyle grew up in an evangelical household and coined the phrase "SNL Hangover." It's the exhaustion and frustration a person feels when they have to get up early go to church after having secretly stayed up to watch SNL the night before.
J.R. Lombardo is a social worker and addictions specialist in private practice in White Plains NY. He teaches classes on various mental health and addictions topics and presents workshops to both helping professionals as well as the general public. He has a particular interest in the correlation between early attachment patterns and addictive behaviors. J.R. is a caring nurturer, a member of several 12-step programs, and a licensed therapist.
Michael McGowan is Professor of Philosophy and Religion at Florida Southwestern State College. He earned graduate degrees from Yale University, University of South Florida, Claremont Graduate University, and Malone University. He is the editor of David Foster Wallace and Religion: Essays on Faith and Fiction (Bloomsbury, 2019) and author of The Bridge: Revelation and its Implications (Pickwick, 2015). He has written for the Journal of Human Rights, Teaching Ethics, Christianity Today, Journal of Religion and Film, Christian Scholar's Review, Theological Book Review, International Journal of Systematic Theology, and the Journal of Religion and Film. Find him online at www.loveofwisdom.org.
Edwardo Pérez spent his formative, middle-school years, staying up late at friends' houses during sleep-overs to watch SNL, feeling like the little brother of Yortuk and Georg Festrunk (absolutely clueless when it came to dating). Inspired by the Blues Brothers (and Tom "Bones" Malone), Edwardo spent many years playing trombone and trumpet in jazz venues across the country before becoming a professor of English, contributing essays to 1984 and Philosophy, Doctor Strange and Philosophy, The Handmaid's Tale and Philosophy, Disney and Philosophy, and Black Mirror and Philosophy. He is currently co-editing Black Panther and Philosophy with Timothy Brown, writing philosophical blogs on andphilosophy.com, and managing the website lightsabertoss.com. Edwardo's wife, whom he lovingly refers to as his "Wild-American Fox," keeps him grounded in reality.
Joshua J. Reynolds is an unaffiliated guy who lives somewhere in the United States. He's got a Ph.D. from Princeton (framed and propping up a stack of articles on the metaphysics of fidget spinning), as well as a B.A. from Arizona State. The...