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John V. Karavitis
- Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
YES, IT WAS GOOD
A quality entry in Wiley-Blackwell's philosophy and popular culture series, marred by a few blemishes. The essays made me appreciate the "Sons of Anarchy" series, which I have never seen. Coming away from this collection of essays, I also feel as though I know the series as well as anyone who has actually done so.
Five sections, 20 essays total. The writing was conversational and flowed well. The essays cover a wide range of philosophical topics, including two essays on feminism; two on the philosophy of history (finally!); and the philosophy of anarchism was covered, and also referenced, throughout. Freud and Marx made appearances, as well as the usual cast of characters (Socrates, Plato, Aristotle), along with contemporary philosophers. We even get a view of the Homeric ideal of the Iliad and the Odyssey, and how the MC (motorcycle club) extols similar virtues. The creator(s) of this series must have had a classical education, as the themes of Agamemnon's assassination and revenge by his son Oretes, along with Shakespeare's Hamlet, are reflected in the histories and actions of the main characters of Sons of Anarchy. The wide philosophical coverage herein attests not only to the wide popularity of this series, but also to the richness of topics inherent within. That is, the Sons of Anarchy presents many philosophical issues, and has an audience large enough to get enough viewers with a background in philosophy to craft stellar essays. (I can imagine the flood of responses that the call for abstracts must have resulted in.) This collection of essays is a success in large part due to the richness of the material in the series, and its wide popularity. Given enough submitted abstracts, there was no way for this book not to have been stellar.
Editor George Dunn's essay escaped the "curse of the book's editor," yet I felt that, by jumping around from one philosopher to the next early on, and by melding Eastern and Western philosophers, it lacked initial grounding, as though it were trying to find its direction. Jason Eberl, by hewing close to Aristotle and his Nicomachean Ethics, fared much better.
Peter S. Fosl's essay was a bit too casual and tongue in cheek for my taste. That is, there were points when it appeared to be a bit too "cute." Fosl seemed too eager to draw parallels of names in the series to historical events, like in Catholic school where everything in a movie is a "Christ figure." The "rhymes with 'sit'" word appears at the top of p. 195; and I wasn't aware, as Note # 13 would have us believe, that there are hundreds of versions of Christianity. Really? I'd like to see the reference for that factoid.
Alex Leveringhaus' essay tried to apply just war theory to the motorcycle club. It focused on whether the motorcycle club could be said to have the "right authority" to declare war on another motorcycle club. First off, as noted in this essay (p. 101), Clay Morrow, one of the founding members of the Sons of Anarchy, acknowledges that they are American citizens. That pretty much ends the argument right there, and thus no need to dance around the subject until the very end. Second, revealing that the British knock and wait to be admitted before entering a room, as opposed to Germans who "barge right in" (Mr. Leveringhaus is German, so he MUST know!) was a nonsensical example of characteristics that distinguish groups from one another. Third, and I can't believe this happened, as, per Note # 28, both Mssrs. Dunn and Eberl, the book's editors, made "excellent comments on earlier drafts" of this essay, it is stated on p. 97 that "SAMCRO's home state of California, for instance, isn't sovereign, as it's under the authority of the federal government." WRONG. The United States, a federal republic, is the creation of the states, which are themselves sovereign. The sovereign states grant the federal government certain responsibilities and duties, and per the Tenth Amendment to the federal constitution, "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." Shame on you philosophers! Did you get your degrees by sending in cereal box tops to a P.O. Box in Minnesota??? But most of all, fourth, shame on you for not mentioning Hugo Grotius, the 17th-century Dutch philosopher who defined just war theory. (Do the Germans not like the Dutch? I do!)
References to other current popular culture books or movies are uncalled for (pp. 14, 36, and 216). I can understand and accept pointing to Shakespeare's Hamlet, the parallels are beyond obvious, but referring to current pop culture outside of the book's subject matter is a no-no.
Finally, there were just too many instances of missing words, missing punctuation, typos, etc. However, even given all of these blemishes, there is a great coverage of philosophical issues, and Sons of Anarchy has, if nothing else, a ton of issues. The collection is worth five stars (you can tattoo that on your upper arm, or just put it on your patch!). John V. Karavitis